J. David Creswell

J. David Creswell
Carnegie Mellon University | CMU · Department of Psychology

Ph.D.

About

73
Publications
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10,127
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Publications

Publications (73)
Article
Loneliness is a potent psychosocial stressor that predicts poor health and mortality among older adults, possibly in part by accelerating age-related declines in immunocompetence. Mindfulness interventions have shown promise for reducing loneliness and improving markers of physical health. In a sample of lonely older adults, this two-arm parallel t...
Article
Mindfulness meditation training has been shown to be an effective stress reduction strategy, but less is known about its immunoregulatory impact. In a randomized controlled trial of stressed customer service workers, the present study tested whether a 30-day smartphone-based mindfulness meditation training program (compared to a problem-solving con...
Article
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Reactive aggression, a hostile retaliatory response to perceived threat, has been attributed to failures in emotion regulation. Interventions for reactive aggression have largely focused on cognitive control training, which target top-down emotion regulation mechanisms to inhibit aggressive impulses. Recent theory suggests that mindfulness training...
Chapter
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This study analyzes patterns of physical, mental, lifestyle, and personality factors in college students in different periods over the course of a semester and models their relationships with students’ academic performance. The data analyzed was collected through smartphones and Fitbit. The use of machine learning models derived from the gathered d...
Article
The prevalence of mobile phones and wearable devices enables the passive capturing and modeling of human behavior at an unprecedented resolution and scale. Past research has demonstrated the capability of mobile sensing to model aspects of physical health, mental health, education, and work performance, etc. However, most of the algorithms and mode...
Article
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Objective: Mindfulness interventions have been effective for improving a range of health outcomes; however, pathways underlying these effects remain unclear. Inflammatory processes may play a role, possibly through increased resistance of immune cells to the anti-inflammatory effects of glucocorticoids (i.e., glucocorticoid resistance; GCR). Here,...
Preprint
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This study analyzes patterns of physical, mental, lifestyle, and personality factors in college students in different periods over the course of a semester and models their relationships with students' academic performance. The data analyzed was collected through smartphones and Fitbit. The use of machine learning models derived from the gathered d...
Article
We present a machine learning approach that uses data from smartphones and fitness trackers of 138 college students to identify students that experienced depressive symptoms at the end of the semester and students whose depressive symptoms worsened over the semester. Our novel approach is a feature extraction technique that allows us to select mean...
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Mindfulness interventions have been shown to improve several subcomponents of attention; however, the psychological mechanisms driving these improvements are unknown. Mindfulness interventions train individuals to monitor present moment experiences while adopting an attitude of acceptance toward these experiences. We conducted a theoretically drive...
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This paper presents CoRhythMo, the first computational framework for modeling biobehavioral rhythms - the repeating cycles of physiological, psychological, social, and environmental events - from mobile and wearable data streams. The framework incorporates four main components: mobile data processing, rhythm discovery, rhythm modeling, and machine...
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Self-affirmation can buffer stress responses across different contexts, yet the neural mechanisms for these effects are unknown. Self-affirmation has been shown to increase activity in reward-related neural regions, including the ventral striatum and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC). Given that reward-related prefrontal cortical regions such...
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Experiential acceptance—an orientation of receptivity and noninterference with present-moment experiences—is described as central to mindfulness interventions, yet little experimental work has tested acceptance as a mechanism for mindfulness intervention effects. Guided by Monitor and Acceptance Theory (MAT), this review situates acceptance as an e...
Article
The rate of depression in college students is rising, which is known to increase suicide risk, lower academic performance and double the likelihood of dropping out of school. Existing work on finding relationships between passively sensed behavior and depression, as well as detecting depression, mainly derives relevant unimodal features from a sing...
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Mindfulness interventions have garnered significant attention as a complementary health treatment for many physical and psychological conditions. While some research has shown that mindfulness training can decrease psychological and physiological stress responses, it remains unclear whether mindfulness training impacts inflammation-a predictor of p...
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Objective: Mindfulness interventions have been shown to reduce stress; however, the mechanisms driving stress resilience effects are not known. Mindfulness interventions aim to teach individuals how to: (a) use attention to monitor present moment experiences; with (b) an attitude of acceptance and equanimity. A randomized controlled dismantling tr...
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Loneliness and social isolation are a growing public health concern, yet there are few evidence-based interventions for mitigating these social risk factors. Accumulating evidence suggests that mindfulness interventions can improve social-relationship processes. However, the active ingredients of mindfulness training underlying these improvements a...
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Objective: There has been substantial research and public interest in mindfulness interventions, biological pathways, and health over the past two decades. This article reviews recent developments in understanding relationships between mindfulness interventions and physical health. Methods: A selective review was conducted with the goal of synth...
Article
Full-text available
Experiential acceptance—an orientation of receptivity and noninterference with present-moment experiences—is described as central to mindfulness interventions, yet little experimental work has tested acceptance as a mechanism for mindfulness intervention effects. Guided by Monitor and Acceptance Theory (MAT), this review situates acceptance as an e...
Article
Full-text available
Mindfulness meditation interventions—which train skills in monitoring present-moment experiences with a lens of acceptance—have shown promise for increasing positive emotions. Using a theory-based approach, we hypothesized that learning acceptance skills in mindfulness interventions helps people notice more positive experiences in daily life, and t...
Preprint
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Mindfulness meditation interventions – which train skills in monitoring present-moment experiences with a lens of acceptance – have shown promise for increasing positive emotions. Using a theory-based approach, we hypothesized that learning acceptance skills in mindfulness interventions helps people notice more positive experiences in daily life, a...
Article
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Organizations are turning towards behavioral interventions with the aim of improving employee well-being and job performance. Mindfulness training has been suggested as one type of intervention that can achieve these goals, but few active treatment randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have been conducted. We conducted a RCT among employees of a midw...
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Objective: Over the last 10 years, there has been a dramatic increase in published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of brief mindfulness training (from single-session inductions to multisession interventions lasting up to 2 weeks), with some preliminary indications that these training programs may improve mental health outcomes, such as negativ...
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Many chronic health concerns (obesity, addiction, stress, chronic pain, and depression) have garnered recent attention for their increasing frequency, intractability, and serious health consequences. Because they are often difficult to treat and there are not always effective pharmacological treatments, many patients are pursuing behavioral interve...
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Objective Mindfulness interventions, which train practitioners to monitor their present-moment experience with a lens of acceptance, are known to buffer stress reactivity. Little is known about the active mechanisms driving these effects. We theorize that acceptance is a critical emotion regulation mechanism underlying mindfulness stress reduction...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objective: Mindfulness interventions, which train practitioners to monitor their present-moment experience with a lens of acceptance, are known to buffer stress reactivity. Little is known about the active mechanisms driving these effects. We theorize that acceptance is a critical emotion regulation mechanism underlying mindfulness stress reduction...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objective: Mindfulness interventions, which train practitioners to monitor their present-moment experience with a lens of acceptance, are known to buffer stress reactivity. Little is known about the active mechanisms driving these effects. We theorize that acceptance is a critical emotion regulation mechanism underlying mindfulness stress reduction...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Mindfulness meditation training has been previously shown to enhance behavioral measures of executive control (e.g. attention, working memory, cognitive control), but the neural mechanisms underlying these improvements are largely unknown. Here, we test whether mindfulness training interventions foster executive control by strengthening...
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Despite evidence linking trait mindfulness and mindfulness training with a broad range of effects, still little is known about its underlying active mechanisms. Mindfulness is commonly defined as (1) the ongoing monitoring of present-moment experience (2) with an orientation of acceptance. Building on conceptual, clinical, and empirical work, we de...
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Mindfulness meditation programs, which train individuals to monitor their present-moment experience in an open or accepting way, have been shown to reduce mind wandering on standardized tasks in several studies. Here we test 2 competing accounts for how mindfulness training reduces mind wandering, evaluating whether the attention-monitoring compone...
Article
Mindfulness interventions aim to foster greater attention to and awareness of present moment experience. There has been a dramatic increase in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of mindfulness interventions over the past two decades. This article evaluates the growing evidence of mindfulness intervention RCTs by reviewing and discussing: (a) the e...
Article
Full-text available
Self-affirmation (reflecting on important personal values) has been shown to have a range of positive effects; however, the neural basis of self-affirmation is not known. Building on studies showing that thinking about self-preferences activates neural reward pathways, we hypothesized that self-affirmation would activate brain reward circuitry duri...
Article
Background: Mindfulness meditation training interventions have been shown to improve markers of health, but the underlying neurobiological mechanisms are not known. Building on initial cross-sectional research showing that mindfulness meditation may increase default mode network (DMN) resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) with regions impor...
Article
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Prior research has linked mindfulness to improvements in attention, and suggested that the effects of mindfulness are particularly pronounced when individuals are cognitively depleted or stressed. Yet, no studies have tested whether mindfulness improves declarative awareness of unexpected stimuli in goal-directed tasks. Participants (N=794) were ei...
Chapter
Mindfulness is associated with reduced negative affective states, increased positive affective states, and reduced clinical affective symptomatology (e.g., depression, anxiety) in previous studies. This chapter examines an emerging body of fMRI and EEG research exploring how mindfulness alters neurobiological emotion processing systems. We examine...
Article
Health neuroscience is a new field that is at the interface of health psychology and neuroscience. It is concerned with the interplay between the brain and physical health over the life span. A chief goal of health neuroscience is to characterize bidirectional and dynamic brain-behavior and brain-physiology relationships that are determinants, mark...
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Cognitive reappraisal can foster emotion regulation, yet less is known about whether cognitive reappraisal alters neuroendocrine stress reactivity. Some initial evidence suggests that although long-term training in cognitive behavioral therapy techniques (which include reappraisal as a primary training component) can reduce cortisol reactivity to s...
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It has been posited that self-regulation of behaviors, emotions, and temptations may all rely on a common resource. Recent reviews suggest this common resource may include the inferior frontal cortex (IFC). However, to our knowledge no single functional neuroimaging study has tested this hypothesis. We obtained fMRI scans as 25 abstinent treatment-...
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Objective To test whether a brief mindfulness meditation training intervention buffers self-reported psychological and neuroendocrine responses to the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) in young adult volunteers. A second objective evaluates whether pre-existing levels of dispositional mindfulness moderate the effects of brief mindfulness meditation t...
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Reflecting on an important personal value in a self-affirmation activity has been shown to improve psychological functioning in a broad range of studies, but the underlying mechanisms for these self-affirmation effects are unknown. Here we provide an initial test of a novel self-compassion account of self-affirmation in two experimental studies. St...
Article
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Emotion regulation is commonly characterized as involving conscious and intentional attempts to change felt emotions, such as, for example, through reappraisal whereby one intentionally decreases the intensity of one's emotional response to a particular stimulus or situation by reinterpreting it in a less threatening way. However, there is growing...
Article
Objective: The current study tested whether self-affirmation in the context of a threatening health message helps promote a health behavior (fruit and vegetable consumption) over a 3-month period, and whether adding a manipulation to support the translation of intentions into behavior (an implementation intentions induction) enhances the impact of...
Article
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Mindfulness, a psychological process reflecting attention and awareness to what is happening in the present moment, has been associated with increased well-being and decreased depression and anxiety in both healthy and patient populations. However, little research has explored underlying neural pathways. Recent work suggests that mindfulness (and m...
Article
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High levels of acute and chronic stress are known to impair problem-solving and creativity on a broad range of tasks. Despite this evidence, we know little about protective factors for mitigating the deleterious effects of stress on problemsolving. Building on previous research showing that self-affirmation can buffer stress, we tested whether an e...
Data
Remote Associate items used in the present study. (DOCX)
Article
Objective Although previous research provides evidence for the role of rewarding activities in reducing hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis responses to stress, no studies have tested whether rewards can buffer cortisol responses in humans undergoing social stressors.Method This study experimentally investigated whether viewing appetitive rewarding...
Article
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Mindfulness training aims to impact emotion regulation. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) symptoms can be successfully addressed through mindfulness-based interventions. This preliminary study is the first to investigate neural mechanisms of symptom improvements in GAD following mindfulness training. Furthermore, we compared brain activation betwe...
Data
Full-text available
Mindfulness training aims to impact emotion regulation. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) symptoms can be successfully addressed through mindfulness-based interventions. This preliminary study is the first to investi-gate neural mechanisms of symptom improvements in GAD following mindfulness training. Furthermore, we compared brain activation betw...
Article
Full-text available
Brief periods of unconscious thought have been shown to improve decision-making compared to making an immediate decision. We reveal a neural mechanism for unconscious thought in decision making using BOLD contrast fMRI. Participants (N=33) encoded information on a set of consumer products (e.g., 48 attributes describing 4 different cars), and we ma...
Article
Lonely older adults have increased expression of pro-inflammatory genes as well as increased risk for morbidity and mortality. Previous behavioral treatments have attempted to reduce loneliness and its concomitant health risks, but have had limited success. The present study tested whether the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) progra...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Individual differences in mindfulness have been associated with numerous self-report indicators of stress, but research has not examined how mindfulness may buffer neuroendocrine and psychological stress responses under controlled laboratory conditions. The present study investigated the role of trait mindfulness in buffering cortisol...
Article
This experiment tested the hypothesis that self-focused attention might increase cortisol release. Social self-preservation theory suggests that social evaluation and associated feelings of shame are associated with cortisol reactivity, whereas one implication of objective self-awareness theory is that self-critical awareness and associated feeling...
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An emerging body of research suggests that mindfulness-based interventions may be beneficial for smoking cessation and the treatment of other addictive disorders. One way that mindfulness may facilitate smoking cessation is through the reduction of craving to smoking cues. The present work considers whether mindful attention can reduce self-reporte...
Article
The beneficial effects of mindful awareness and mindfulness meditation training on physical and psychological health are thought to be mediated in part through changes in underlying brain processes. Functional connectivity MRI (fcMRI) allows identification of functional networks in the brain. It has been used to examine state-dependent activity and...
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To better understand the relationship between mindfulness and depression, we studied normal young adults (n = 27) who completed measures of dispositional mindfulness and depressive symptomatology, which were then correlated with (a) rest: resting neural activity during passive viewing of a fixation cross, relative to a simple goal-directed task (sh...
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Everyday stressors can threaten valued aspects of the self. Self-affirmation theory posits that this threat could be attenuated if individuals affirm alternative self-resources. The present study examined whether self-affirmation would buffer cumulative stress responses to an ongoing academic stressor. Undergraduate participants provided 15-hr urin...
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Behavioral scientists have increasingly included inflammatory biology as mechanisms in their investigation of psychosocial dynamics on the pathobiology of disease. However, a lack of standardization of inclusion and exclusion criteria and assessment of relevant control variables impacts the interpretation of these studies. The present paper reviews...
Article
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Emerging research suggests that rumination increases risk for negative health outcomes. In the first experiment to investigate cortisol responses during angry rumination, participants were provoked and induced to engage in self-focused rumination, provocation-focused rumination, or distraction. Consistent with social threat theory, self-focused rum...
Article
The attentional myopia model of behavioral control [Mann and Ward, 2007] was tested in an experiment investigating the relationship between physiological arousal and aggression. Drawing on previous work linking arousal and narrowed attentional focus, the model predicts that arousal will lead to behavior that is relatively disinhibited in situations...
Article
Unlabelled: Mindfulness meditation training has stress reduction benefits in various patient populations, but its effects on biological markers of HIV-1 progression are unknown. The present study tested the efficacy of an 8-week Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) meditation program compared to a 1-day control seminar on CD4+ T lymphocyte co...
Article
Interest in mindfulness and its enhancement has burgeoned in recent years. In this article, we discuss in detail the nature of mindfulness and its relation to other, established theories of attention and awareness in day-to-day life. We then examine theory and evidence for the role of mindfulness in curtailing negative functioning and enhancing pos...