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The ReSource Project: Background, design, samples, and measurements.

Authors:
  • EmpowerTheUser
  • formerly Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (now freelance)

Abstract and Figures

The ReSource Project is a unique, large-scale study on Eastern and Western methods of mental training. Over a period of eleven months, participants practice a wide range of mental exercises that are designed to enhance attentional control, body- and self-awareness, healthy emotion regulation, self-care, compassion, empathy, and perspective taking. Overall, the aim of the training is to improve mental health and social skills. It may reduce stress, improve mental clarity, increase life satisfaction, and lead to a better understanding of others’ views, values and actions. This book, intended as a supplement to published and upcoming peer-reviewed publications, provides an overview of the theoretical rationale, training practices, study methods and measures, as well as sample demographics at start of study.
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... A possible effective solution could be PST interventions based on the rationale of third-wave cognitive-behavioral therapy by integrating mindfulness and (self-)compassion as core concepts (Gross et al., 2018;Josefsson et al., 2019;Kaufman et al., 2017;. Compassion is defined as sensitivity to others' suffering but not being overwhelmed by it, combined with a deep desire to alleviate that suffering (Gilbert, 2005;Gilbert, 2017;Singer et al., 2016). Sometimes compassion is used interchangeably with empathy (e. g., Batson, 2009). ...
... The loving-kindness meditation (LKM; Trautwein et al., 2020) is a well-studied mental technique to promote compassion outside the sport context. Usually, during an LKM, participants are guided to activate intentions and feelings of connection, warmth, and kindness via the imagination of a loved person (Salzberg, 1997;Singer et al., 2016). These are then directed toward oneself, a close person, a stranger, a problematic person, and finally to all humans. ...
... Further, the results demonstrated no effect on prejudice, aggression, and connectedness. Noticeably, the meta-analyses did not include all results of the ReSource Project (Singer et al., 2016). Several studies based on this project demonstrated that an LKM combined with interactive parts is a viable way to increase compassion (Trautwein et al., 2020), altruistic behavior (Böckler et al., 2018), and connectedness (Kok & Singer, 2017). ...
Article
The present study employed a quasi-experimental design, in which the experimental group ( n = 13) practiced a loving-kindness meditation (LKM) via a single in-person workshop and via an app, whereas the active control group ( n = 20) practiced progressive muscle relaxation (PMR). Both interventions lasted 1 week and were executed in the respective soccer academy. The groups completed a pre- and posttest measuring compassion, fairness, and team cohesion. In contrast to our hypothesis, we did not find an interaction effect. LKM athletes did not demonstrate greater cohesion, fairness, and compassion after the intervention than the PMR athletes. By comparing user engagement and user rating between LKM and PMR, we conclude that LKM is as accepted as PMR by the study cohort. We suggest implementing future LKM interventions with substantial interaction parts and considering specific person-by-context interactions.
... TC3 only trained the Affect module for 13 weeks and the two RCC underwent all testing but no training (for more detailed information, see (42,43)). Figure reproduced and adapted from (8,44). RCC = retest control cohort; TC1-3, training cohorts 1-3. ...
... The two contemplative dyads are partner exercises that were developed for the ReSource training (54). They address different skills such as perspective taking on the self and others (perspective dyad) or gratitude, acceptance of difficult emotions, and empathic listening (affect dyad), but are similar in structure (for details, see also (8)). In each 10-minute dyadic practice, two randomly paired participants share their experiences with alternating roles of speaker and listener, using the app or telephone to connect to their dyad partner. ...
... In each 10-minute dyadic practice, two randomly paired participants share their experiences with alternating roles of speaker and listener, using the app or telephone to connect to their dyad partner. The dyadic format is designed to foster interconnectedness by providing opportunities for self-disclosure and nonjudgmental listening (8,54). ...
Article
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Objective: To investigate the effect of regular contemplative mental training on endocrine and psychological indices of long-term stress. Methods: An open-label efficacy trial that comprised three distinct 3-month modules targeting attention and interoception, socio-affective or socio-cognitive abilities through dyadic exercises and secularised meditation practices was conducted with healthy adults. Participants underwent the training for three months, nine months, or were assigned to a retest control cohort. Chronic stress indices were assayed at four timepoints: pre-training and after three, six and nine months. The main outcome measures were cortisol (HC) and cortisone (HE) concentrations in hair and self-reported long-term stress. Results: Of 362 initially randomized individuals, 30 dropped out before study initiation (N = 332; mean age-40. 7 ± SD = 9.2 years; 197 women). Hair-based glucocorticoid assays were available from n = 227, and questionnaire data from n = 326. Results from three separate training cohorts (TCs) revealed consistent decreases in HC and HE levels over the first three (TC3) to six months (TC1 and TC2) of training, with no further reduction at the final 9-month mark (baseline to end-of-training, HC: TC1, t(355) = 2.59, p = .010; est.:0.35[0.14]; TC2, t(363) = 4.06, p < .001; est.:0.48[0.12]; TC3: t(368) = 3.18, p = .002; est.:0.41[0.13]; HE: TC1, t(435) = 3.23, p = .001; est.:0.45[0.14]; TC2: t(442) = 2.60, p = .010; est.:0.33[0.13]; TC3: t(446) = 4.18, p < .001; est.:0.57[0.14]). Training effects on HC increased with practice frequency, and effects on both HC and HE were independent of training content and unrelated to change in self-reported chronic stress. Self-reported stress, and cortisol to dehydroepiandrosterone ratios as an exploratory endpoint, were also reduced, albeit less consistently. Conclusions: Our results point to the reduction of long-term cortisol exposure as a mechanism through which contemplative mental training may exert positive effects on practitioners' health. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01833104.
... The recruitment and screening procedure for the ReSource project was a multi-step process in order to inform participants in an appropriate manner, screen for eligibility, and ensure motivation for a large-scale, one-year, longitudinal study, including extensive scientific testing (see details on the screening procedure and inclusion/exclusion criteria in Appendix I in the supplement). Demographic details of the sample are listed in Table S1 as well as in Singer et al. (2016) . ...
... Each of the three modules of the ReSource program lasts 3 months, begins with a 3-day intensive retreat, includes 13 weekly group sessions of 2h accompanied by experienced teachers, and about 30 min of daily practice, five times a week. Compliance with daily practice was recorded using online and smartphone-based guided contemplative exercises as well as through the responses to online questions (results not detailed here, see Singer et al., 2016 and. Each module has two core exercises, which participants were asked to practice five times a week. ...
... Each module has two core exercises, which participants were asked to practice five times a week. Fig. 1 a illustrates the content of the three modules (see Singer et al., 2016 for a detailed description of the content of each module). ...
Article
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Meditation-based mental training interventions show physical and mental health benefits. However, it remains unclear how different types of mental practice affect emotion processing at both the neuronal and the behavioural level. In the context of the ReSource project, 332 participants underwent an fMRI scan while performing an emotion anticipation task before and after three 3-month training modules cultivating 1) attention and interoceptive awareness (Presence); 2) socio-affective skills, such as compassion (Affect); 3) socio-cognitive skills, such as theory of mind (Perspective). Only the Affect module led to a significant reduction of experienced negative affect when processing images depicting human suffering. In addition, after the Affect module, participants showed significant increased activation in the right supramarginal gyrus when confronted with negative stimuli. We conclude that socio-affective, but not attention- or meta-cognitive based mental training is specifically effective to improve emotion regulation capabilities when facing adversity.
... Volunteers taking medication influencing the HPA axis were excluded. For detailed information on recruitment and exclusion criteria see Chapter 7 of Singer et al. (2016). The ...
... ReSource participants were assigned to their cohorts matched in demographics and various self-reported traits using bootstrapping without replacement (for matching details see Chapter 7 in Singer et al. (2016)). For the cross-sectional stress testing design, groups were rematched on variables with potential influences on stress reactivity (for details see Supplemental Material). ...
Article
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Based on its role in social processing and stress, oxytocin has been suggested to mediate stress reduction of socio-affective, compassion-based mental training. We tested this hypothesis in the ReSource Project, a 9-month longitudinal mental training study. Participants practiced three different types of mental training, targeting either attentional abilities (Presence Module), socio-affective or socio-cognitive abilities (Affect and Perspective Modules). We investigated plasma oxytocin levels, and their link to cortisol and subjective reactivity to acute psychosocial stress as a function of previous mental training (n = 313). In a subsample (n = 113), to better understand oxytocin’s involvement in the effects of socio-affective training, we explored oxytocin, cortisol and subjective experiential responses to a single Loving-kindness Meditation (LKM) conducted after three months of Affect training (versus rest without prior training). We found that, independent of mental training, stress triggered acute oxytocin release. Following a single LKM, however, acute oxytocin release was unaffected. Training effects were only found in overall oxytocin release during both, stress and LKM. Compared to no training, 3-month compassion-based Affect training decreased overall oxytocin levels in the context of psychosocial stress, but increased overall oxytocin levels during LKM. Training-induced changes in overall oxytocin were unrelated to cortisol and subjective stress reactivity. Based on Quintana and Guastella's (2020) theory of oxytocin as an allostatic hormone with anticipatory properties, we interpret training-induced changes in overall oxytocin levels as alterations in the anticipated emotional relevance of specific events. After training socio-affective skills for three months, the stressful situation may have lost its emotional saliency, whereas the meditation technique itself gained emotional relevance. We conclude that changes in peripheral oxytocin release do not mediate stress reduction after mental training, and encourage the investigation of an allostatic concept of oxytocin in future research.
... To do justice to this diversity, several attempts were made to classify these practices, and different taxonomies included a diversity of techniques from various backgrounds and contexts (Nash and Newberg, 2013;Schmidt, 2014;Lutz et al., 2015). For instance, Singer et al. (2016) developed a classification of practices based on Buddhist traditions, contemplative sciences, and neuroscientific research. The authors distinguished three broad classes of mental skills: ...
Article
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There is evidence for the positive impact of mindfulness in children. However, little is known about the techniques through which mindfulness practice results in differential outcomes. Therefore, this study intended to systematically review the available evidence about the efficacy of meditation techniques used by mindfulness-based programs on cognitive, socio-emotional, and academic skills of children from 6 to 12 years of age. The review was registered on the PROSPERO database, and the literature search was conducted according to PICO criteria and PRISMA guidelines. The EBSCO databases were searched, and 29 studies were eligible: nine randomized controlled trials and 20 quasi-experimental studies. All the included randomized controlled trials were rated as having a high risk of bias. Overall, the evidence for mindfulness techniques improving cognitive and socio-emotional skills was reasonably strong. Specifically, for cognitive skills, results showed that all the interventions used “body-centered meditations” and “mindful observations.” Regarding socio-emotional skills, although all the studies applied “body-centered meditations” and “mindful observations,” “affect-centered meditations” were also frequent. For academic skills, just one quasi-experimental trial found improvements, thus making it difficult to draw conclusions. Further research is crucial to evaluate the unique effects of different meditation techniques on the cognitive, social-emotional, and academic skills of children. Systematic Review Registration: Identifier: RD42019126767.
... Experiments have shown that practicing other-regarding thought exercises do not only increase prosocial behaviour but can even alter brain structures (Klimecki et al., 2013;Singer et al., 2016). ...
Article
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Pro-environmental behaviour (PEB) is often promoted by reinforcing or highlighting own benefits. However, considering that actors also care about the outcomes for others (i.e. they hold other-regarding preferences), PEB may also be encouraged by addressing these other-regarding preferences. In this paper, we review the results from social science experiments where interventions addressing other-regarding preferences were used to promote PEB. Based on our synthesis, we conclude that addressing other-regarding preferences can be effective in promoting (various types of) PEB in some, but not in all instances. Whether an intervention was effective depended inter alia on the pre-established preferences, cost structures and the perceived cooperation of others. Effective interventions included the provision of information on behavioural consequences, perspective-taking, direct appeals, framing and re-categorization. The interventions worked by activating other-regarding preferences, raising awareness about adverse consequences, evoking empathic concern and expanding the moral circle. We propose to take these findings as an impulse to examine policy instruments and institutions in terms of whether they activate and strengthen other-regarding preferences, thereby enabling collective engagement in PEB.
... Achtsamkeitsinterventionen reduzieren Stress (Chiesa & Serretti, 2009) Das Grundlagentraining orientierte sich an validierten Achtsamkeitsprogrammen für den Sportbereich (Gardner & Moore, 2004;Jekauc, Kittler & Schlagheck, 2017;Kaufman et al., 2017). Die Achtsamkeitsübungen in den ersten vier Wochen (Woche 1: Atmung; Woche 2: Body Scan; Woche 3: Gehmeditation; Woche 4: Sinnesmeditation) dienten der Stabilisierung der Aufmerksamkeit für später folgende Fertigkeitstechniken (Berking, 2017;Singer et al., 2016), wie der Imagination (Woche 5; Vealey & Greenleaf, 2001) und Selbstgesprächsregulation (Woche 6; Hatzigeorgiadis, Zourbanos, Mpoumpaki & Theodorakis, 2009) 4 . Die einzelnen Übungen waren audio-geführt und dauerten jeweils zehn Minuten. ...
Article
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Zusammenfassung. Die vorliegende Fallstudie beschreibt detailliert und ganzheitlich das App-basierte mentale Training (MT) der deutschen männlichen U19 Handballnationalmannschaft vor und während der Weltmeisterschaft 2019 in Mazedonien. Die Betreuung folgte einem Blended Learning Ansatz und bestand aus einem dreistündigen psychoedukativen Präsenzworkshop, einer App und einer begleitenden E-Mail-Kampagne. Die Eingangsdiagnostik, das Grundlagen- und Fertigkeitstraining sowie die Krisenintervention fanden über die auf das MT zugeschnittene App statt. Die Fallstudie enthält eine Outcome- und Prozess-Evaluation. Das Team gewann in Mazedonien die Silbermedaille. In anderen Outcome-Variablen zeigten sich keine signifikanten Veränderungen. Die Prozess-Evaluation zeigt, dass die Nutzungszeit mit der App gering war. In der Praxis arbeitende Sportpsychologinnen und Sportpsychologen sollten daher die Nutzung von Apps mit ausreichend persönlichem Kontakt mit Athletinnen und Athleten verbinden, um diese systematisch zu betreuen.
... Experiments have shown that practicing other-regarding thought exercises do not only increase prosocial behaviour but can even alter brain structures (Klimecki et al., 2013;Singer et al., 2016). ...
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Background: impulsive drive for immediate reward (IDIR) and delay aversion are dissociable elements of the preference for immediate over delayed rewards seen in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We hypothesized that IDIR would be associated with dopamine regulating genes and delay aversion would be associated with serotonin-regulating genes. Methods: impulsive drive for immediate reward and delay aversion were measured in 459 male children and adolescents (328 ADHD and 131 unaffected siblings) with a laboratory choice task. The sample was genotyped for the 5HTT (SLC6A4) promoter serotonin-transporter-linked polymorphic region polymorphism and a DAT1 (SLC6A3) 40-base pair variable number tandem repeat located in the 3?-untranslated region of the gene. Results: there was no effect of dopamine transporter (DAT)1 on IDIR. As predicted, serotonin-transporter-linked polymorphic region s-allele carriers were more delay averse. This effect was driven by the s/l genotype in the ADHD group. These results were not altered by taking account of the rs25531 A/G single nucleotide polymorphism and were independent of age, IQ, and oppositional defiant disorder symptoms. Conclusions: the results support the genetic distinctiveness of IDIR and delay aversion in ADHD and implicate serotonin function in delay aversion. Possible explanations of the heterosis effect in the ADHD cases are presented