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Empirical Explorations of Mindfulness: Conceptual and Methodological Conundrums

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Abstract

This commentary reflects on the articles in this Special Issue. The appearance of this group of articles underscores the important idea that a major target of mindfulness practice is on emotion. Transformation in trait affect is a key goal of all contemplative traditions. This commentary addresses several key methodological and conceptual issues in the empirical study of mindfulness. The many ways in which the term "mindfulness" is used in the articles in this Special Issue are noted, and they include its reference to states, traits, and independent variables that are manipulated in an experimental context. How the term "mindfulness" is conceptualized and operationalized is crucial, and for progress to be made it is essential that we qualify the use of this term by reference to how it is being operationalized in each context. Other methodological issues are considered, such as the duration of training and how it should be measured, and the nature of control and comparison groups in studies of mindfulness-based interventions. Finally, the commentary ends with a consideration of the targets within emotion processing that are likely to be impacted by mindfulness. This collection of articles underscores the substantial progress that has occurred in the empirical study of mindfulness and it is a harbinger of a very promising future in this area.

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... Yet, it is also conceivable that it is exponential or logarithmic. A logarithmic growth curve would indicate that participants show the largest gains at the beginning of the intervention and HRV remains stable after a specific level is reached, as assumed by Davidson (2010). Alternatively, a certain amount of practice may be required before the intervention has an effect on HRV such that the benefit occurs later in the intervention period. ...
... Several authors supposed that mindfulness practice may have a strong observable effect that leads to a high benefit right after starting to practice, but that this effect does not increase with continuing practice time (Davidson, 2010;Eberth & Sedlmeier, 2012). However, there is no empirical evidence for this assumption. ...
... From the fourth to the last session, the increase is lower, and the curve flattens. The present study advances earlier research in several ways: Our finding confirms the assumption that mindfulness practice has a strong beneficial effect right after starting to practice, but that the benefit is less intense with continuing practice time (Davidson, 2010;Eberth & Sedlmeier, 2012). Nevertheless, the HRV trajectory in our study revealed that participants benefit more in each session. ...
Article
Studies found pre–post effects of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) on heart rate variability (HRV). However, it is unclear how HRV develops from session to session. Individuals may further differ not only randomly but systematically in their HRV trajectories. Drawing upon conservation of resources theory (COR theory), this study (a) investigated the development of HRV during a 6-week MBI using multilevel growth curve analyses (GCA) in N = 140 employees, (b) identified groups of participants with different trajectories of HRV development using latent profile analyses (LPA), and (c) examined differences between these patterns in individual and social determinants. GCA showed an overall positive linear and quadratic relationship between time and HRV. LPA identified three groups of participants with specific trajectories: (a) a moderate, continuous HRV increase, (b) a strong increase during the intervention and a slight decrease in the end, and (c) high starters with a low increase. ANOVAs revealed that participants with more resources (i.e., self-care and social norms) have a stronger development of HRV in the beginning. The findings suggest that HRV continuously increases during MBI. Trajectories of resource development, however, depend on individual and social characteristics. This study provides a more differentiated perspective on the resource gain spiral as suggested by the COR theory. Knowledge about the differential effects of MBIs helps organizations and practitioners to streamline and adapt MBIs to the needs of specific groups and provide specific support. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)
... Mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) are a popular approach to addressing mild to severe emotional stress, depression and anxiety [1]. However, despite the widespread application of mindfulness meditation, numerous methodological limitations preclude definitive claims about clinical effectiveness or mechanism of action [2][3][4]. At present, one of the largest barriers to mindfulness research is the absence of studies that dismantle multidimensional treatment packages into their most basic components and practices [2,4]. ...
... However, despite the widespread application of mindfulness meditation, numerous methodological limitations preclude definitive claims about clinical effectiveness or mechanism of action [2][3][4]. At present, one of the largest barriers to mindfulness research is the absence of studies that dismantle multidimensional treatment packages into their most basic components and practices [2,4]. ...
... Furthermore, while it is assumed that combining FA and OM maximizes clinical benefit compared to either practice by itself [5], this assumption has never been empirically tested. In fact, in both Asian Buddhism and western science, the relative importance of FA and OM for the alleviation of affective disturbance has been debated [4,16]. However, because no previous studies have compared single-ingredient FA and OM training programs in meditation-naïve participants, the contribution of each practice to therapeutic outcomes is unknown. ...
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Objective Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) includes a combination of focused attention (FA) and open monitoring (OM) meditation practices. The aim of this study was to assess both short- and long-term between- and within-group differences in affective disturbance among FA, OM and their combination (MBCT) in the context of a randomized controlled trial. Method One hundred and four participants with mild to severe depression and anxiety were randomized into one of three 8-week interventions: MBCT (n = 32), FA (n = 36) and OM (n = 36). Outcome measures included the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology (IDS), and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS). Mixed effects regression models were used to assess differential treatment effects during treatment, post-treatment (8 weeks) and long-term (20 weeks). The Reliable Change Index (RCI) was used to translate statistical findings into clinically meaningful improvements or deteriorations. Results All treatments demonstrated medium to large improvements ( ds = 0.42–1.65) for almost all outcomes. While all treatments were largely comparable in their effects at post-treatment (week 8), the treatments showed meaningful differences in rapidity of response and pattern of deteriorations. FA showed the fastest rate of improvement and the fewest deteriorations on stress, anxiety and depression during treatment, but a loss of treatment-related gains and lasting deteriorations in depression at week 20. OM showed the slowest rate of improvement and lost treatment-related gains for anxiety, resulting in higher anxiety in OM at week 20 than MBCT ( d = 0.40) and FA ( d = 0.36), though these differences did not reach statistical significance after correcting for multiple comparisons ( p’s = .06). MBCT and OM showed deteriorations in stress, anxiety and depression at multiple timepoints during treatment, with lasting deteriorations in stress and depression. MBCT showed the most favorable pattern for long-term treatment of depression. Conclusions FA, OM and MBCT show different patterns of response for different dimensions of affective disturbance. Trial registration This trial is registered at (v NCT01831362 ); www.clinicaltrials.gov .
... Because the emotional arousal after the consecutive presentation of emotional facial expressions has been documented in the literature (Lang et al., 2005;Tu et al., 2018), we assumed that the emotion was successfully induced in our task, which was orally confirmed by the bereaved participants. Third, the baseline FFMQ assessment before the MBCT course might be with poor precision (Chiesa, 2013;Davidson, 2010), for the possibility that the bereaved participants with high levels of emotional entanglements did not adequately comprehend the mindfulness questionnaire. This concern does not arise with regard to the anxiety levels, and previous studies have reported significant negative correlation between FFMQ and anxiety levels (Chiesa, 2013;Davidson, 2010). ...
... Third, the baseline FFMQ assessment before the MBCT course might be with poor precision (Chiesa, 2013;Davidson, 2010), for the possibility that the bereaved participants with high levels of emotional entanglements did not adequately comprehend the mindfulness questionnaire. This concern does not arise with regard to the anxiety levels, and previous studies have reported significant negative correlation between FFMQ and anxiety levels (Chiesa, 2013;Davidson, 2010). Therefore, we double-checked the consistency between FFMQ scores and the GAD-7 among our datasets, and there was high consistency between the two indices, demonstrating the reliability of the baseline FFMQ scores in the present study. ...
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Bereavement, the experience of losing a loved one, is one of the most catastrophic but inevitable events in life. It causes grief and intense depression‐like sadness. Recent studies have revealed the effectiveness and proficiency of mindfulness‐based cognitive therapy (MBCT) in emotional regulation among bereavement populations. MBCT improves the well‐being of the bereaved by enhancing cognitive performances. Regarding the neural correlates of bereavement grief, previous studies focused on the alleviation of emotion–cognition interferences at specific brain regions. Here, we hypothesized that the bereavement grief fundamentally triggers global alterations in the resting‐state brain networks and part of the internetwork connectivity could be reformed after MBCT intervention. We recruited 19 bereaved individuals who participated the 8‐week MBCT program. We evaluated (a) the large‐scale changes in brain connectivity affected by the MBCT program; as well as (b) the association between connectivity changes and self‐rated questionnaire. First, after MBCT, the bereaved individuals showed the reduction of the internetwork connectivity in the salience, default‐mode and fronto‐parietal networks in the resting state but not under emotional arousal, implying the alleviated attention to spontaneous mind wandering after MBCT. Second, the alterations of functional connectivity between subcortical (e.g., caudate) and cortical networks (e.g., cingulo‐opercular/sensorimotor) were associated with the changes of the mindfulness scale, the anxiety and the emotion regulation ability. In summary, MBCT could enhance spontaneous emotion regulation among the bereaved individuals through the internetwork reorganizations in the resting state.
... Most studies in this review described meditation practices most similar to focused-attention meditation, although many did not use this specific language. Davidson (2010) describes the importance of distinguishing between three different measures of mindfulness: dispositional (or trait) mindfulness, state mindfulness, and the effects of long-term mindfulness practice. Trait mindfulness is typically measured using self-report questionnaires that quantify one's general tendency towards mindfulness. ...
... In the present review, we focused on studies that used self-report or behavioral measures of dispositional (i.e., trait) and state mindfulness. Studying long-term meditation practitioners is challenging because of the inherent unreliability of trying to retrospectively quantify one's lifetime exposure to mindfulness (Davidson, 2010;Davidson & Kaszniak, 2015). Furthermore, content differences across meditation traditions make it difficult to pinpoint whether observed effects are due to a specific type of training or the practice of mindfulness in general. ...
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Mind-wandering—defined as off-task thinking—can be disruptive to daily functioning. Mindfulness is considered a potential method for reducing mind-wandering; however, no study has systematically reviewed findings on this topic. The present systematic review synthesizes current findings from this literature, examining whether results vary as a function of study methodology. Our final sample included n = 15 peer-reviewed studies, with 14 studies describing at least one significant relationship between the two constructs. Study results varied as a function of how constructs were operationalized and type of active control. Mindfulness appears most consistently related to reductions in probe-caught mind-wandering, as well as fewer commission errors and less response time variability on sustained attention tasks. Self-report measures of both constructs were the least consistent in their relation to other measures. Future research should focus on increasing methodological rigor to confirm results and on identifying facets of mindfulness most effective for decreasing mind-wandering.
... In recent years psychoeducational and psychotherapeutic models based on or incorporating mindfulness training have demonstrated efficacy in treating internalizing disorders and enhancing emotional health (Creswell, 2017;Hofmann et al., 2010). Interest in mindfulness trainings is widespread, but little is known about active ingredients of these trainings (Davidson, 2010;Ospina et al., 2007). This topic is important because mindfulness training encompasses a variety of practices, a number of which are commonly included in various mindfulness-based and mindfulness-integrated trainings. ...
... This combination may offer the benefits of both forms of meditation outlined above, but also makes it difficult to know whether each is an active contributor to training outcomes. A call for dismantling MT programs into more basic didactic and experiential components has come from a number of researchers over the past 15 years (Davidson, 2010;Davidson & Dahl, 2017;Ospina et al., 2007;Rapgay & Bystrisky, 2009). Several studies have examined the effects of FA and OM separately (Ainsworth et al., 2013;Uusberg et al., 2016), but to date no research to our knowledge has systematically compared them to each other or to standard MT (e.g., MBSR, MBCT) in their effects on emotion outcomes. ...
Article
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Commonly conducted mindfulness-based trainings such as Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) highlight training in two key forms of meditation: focused attention (FA) and open monitoring (OM). Largely unknown is what each of these mindfulness practices contributes to emotional and other important training outcomes. This dismantling trial compared the effects of structurally equivalent trainings in MBCT, FA, and OM on neural and subjective markers of emotional reactivity and regulation among community adults, with the aim to better understand which forms of training represent active ingredients in mindfulness trainings. Participants with varying levels of depressive symptoms were randomized to one of the three trainings. Before and after each 8-week training, N = 89 participants completed a modified version of the Emotional Reactivity and Regulation Task while electroencephalographic (EEG) and self-reported emotional responses to negative, positive, and neutral photographic images were collected. Examination of EEG-based frontal alpha band asymmetry during passive viewing (reactivity) and active regulation phases of the task showed that FA and MBCT trainings produced significant leftward hemispheric shifts in frontal alpha asymmetry, commonly associated with a shift toward approach-based positive affect. Self-reported emotional responses to negative images corroborated these results, suggesting salutary changes in both emotional reactivity and regulation. OM training had limited beneficial effects, restricted to the subjective outcomes. The findings suggest that MBCT may derive its greatest benefit from training in FA rather than OM. Discussion highlights the potential value of FA training for emotional health.
... Mindfulness has been described as a kind of nonreactive, nonjudgmental and present-centered awareness in which each thought, feeling or sensation is acknowledged and accepted as it is [14]. Some theories of mindfulness suggest that it is similar to character advantages in positive psychology, which represents a trait that exists naturally and varies within the population, as well as a state of consciousness that can be development with mindfulness training [15]. As far as we know, no studies have shown that trait mindfulness is related to interpersonal sensitivity, but some studies have shown that mindfulness training can reduce interpersonal sensitivity [16,17]. ...
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Background: College student interpersonal sensitivity has received increased attention in recent years, and trait mindfulness has been found to be a protective factor in interpersonal relationships. However, little is known about the mediating and moderating mechanisms underlying this relation. The aim of this study was to investigate (a) the mediating role of negative emotions in the association between trait mindfulness and interpersonal sensitivity, and (b) the moderating role of the effectiveness/authenticity in the indirect relationship between trait mindfulness and college student interpersonal sensitivity. Methods: This model was examined with 1419 Chinese college students (mean age=18.38 years, SD= 0.86); the participants completed measurements regarding trait mindfulness, negative emotions, the effectiveness/authenticity, and interpersonal sensitivity. Results: The correlation analyses indicated that trait mindfulness was significantly negatively associated with college student interpersonal sensitivity, and the effectiveness/authenticity was significantly negatively associated with college student interpersonal sensitivity. Mediation analyses revealed that negative emotions partially mediated the link between trait mindfulness and interpersonal sensitivity. Moderated mediation further indicated that the relationship between trait mindfulness and negative emotions was more significant for college students with high level of effectiveness/authenticity; the relationship between negative emotions and interpersonal sensitivity was more significant for college students with low level of effectiveness/authenticity. Conclusion: Mindfulness training may help reduce interpersonal sensitivity in college students. When college students have strong effectiveness/authenticity, lower negative emotions may be a protective factor to prevent interpersonal sensitivity.
... It was somewhat surprising that mindfulness had an impact on state anxiety, but it did not predict general psychosomatic functioning in the regression model. The current results imply that mindfulness should be differentiated as a personal trait [52] and as an ability that is acquired as a result of practice [53,54]. The intensity of mindfulness was tested among young people who had not practiced it before. ...
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Social distancing plays a leading role in controlling the spread of coronavirus. However, prolonged lockdown can lead to negative consequences in terms of mental health. The goal of the research is to examine the relationship between anxiety and general psychosomatic functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic; the impact of psychological flexibility and mindfulness is also considered. Variables were measured with self-report questionnaires and symptom checklists. The sample included 170 people (M = 27.79, SD = 8.16). Pearson's correlation, stepwise regression, and path analysis were conducted. The results showed a significant positive relationship between state anxiety and somatic and psychological responses to the pandemic. Path analysis revealed that mindfulness had a direct negative impact on and decreased the level of state anxiety (b = −0.22, p = 0.002), whereas psychological flexibility influenced the variable indirectly (b = 0.23, p = 0.002) by enhancing psychosomatic functioning (b = −0.64, p < 0.001). Psychological flexibility and mindfulness may mediate the development of mental disorders and facilitate achieving overall wellbeing. The study points to the usefulness of mindfulness practice as a form of self-help with anxiety symptoms; this is crucial during the pandemic because contact with clients is restricted.
... They may also prefer a meditative state over a baseline state (as in Colzato et al.'s study [11]) and this too might account for differences between meditative sessions and baseline. To be able to disentangle training effects from self-selection bias, it is therefore necessary to conduct studies that include novice meditators and participants who are not necessarily interested in meditation in order to fully investigate the impact of training on neural and cognitive systems [15]. ...
... Mindfulness is defined as a moment-to-moment non-judgmental awareness of one's present experience (Brown and Ryan, 2003). Mindfulness can be viewed as a naturally occurring mental state (measured as a dispositional trait or a transient mental state) or can be trained through meditation practices (Davidson, 2010). Despite these distinct operationalizations, scholars view the mindfulness state as a unitary construct across these measures (Reb and Atkins, 2015;Good et al., 2016). ...
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We examine whether mindfulness can neutralize the negative impact of COVID-19 stressors on employees’ sleep duration and work engagement. In Study 1, we conducted a field experiment in Wuhan, China during the lockdown between February 20, 2020, and March 2, 2020, in which we induced state mindfulness by randomly assigning participants to either a daily mindfulness practice or a daily mind-wandering practice. Results showed that the sleep duration of participants in the mindfulness condition, compared with the control condition, was less impacted by COVID-19 stressors (i.e., the increase of infections in the community). In Study 2, in a 10-day daily diary study in the United Kingdom between June 8, 2020, and June 19, 2020, we replicate our results from Study 1 using a subjective measure of COVID-19 stressors and a daily measure of state mindfulness. In addition, we find that mindfulness buffers the negative effect of COVID-19 stressors on work engagement mediated by sleep duration. As the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and the number of reported cases continues to rise globally, our findings suggest that mindfulness is an evidence-based practice that can effectively neutralize the negative effect of COVID-19 stressors on sleep and work outcomes. The findings of the present study contribute to the employee stress and well-being literature as well as the emerging organizational research on mindfulness.
... Higher levels of dispositional mindfulness were associated with higher accuracy and perceptual sensitivity following both fear and neutral cues in the mindfulness group while such relationship did not emerge in the lecture group. Although several operational definitions of mindfulness exist in the literature (Davidson 2010), selfregulation of attention is widely considered one of the key components of mindfulness (Bishop et al. 2004). Highly mindful individuals are expected to maintain focus on the present moment experience with minimal distraction and emotional relativity and align attentional resources with current goals. ...
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Objectives Threat-related cues and contexts facilitate perceptual decision-making, yet it is unclear whether this threat-driven tuning of perceptual decision-making is modifiable by top-down attentional control. Since state and dispositional mindfulness are linked to improved attentional control, we examined whether these factors assist the use of prior knowledge to detect threatening stimuli. Methods Participants were randomly assigned to a brief mindfulness-based intervention (N = 32) or a physics lecture audio recording (N = 31) and then asked to perform a task in which they used threatening and neutral cues to discriminate between threatening and neutral faces. Results Results showed that threatening cues led to faster and more sensitive perceptual decision-making, specifically for threatening faces. Furthermore, higher levels of dispositional mindfulness were associated with improved ability to use cues to discriminate between threatening and neutral stimuli in the group that underwent a brief mindfulness induction but not in the control group. Conclusions Our findings highlight how top-down attention-related dispositions and strategies can influence our ability to detect threats in our environment.
... Esta es una intervención de bajo costo en dinero y tiempo en relación con los beneficios que brinda. A través de la práctica de la meditación de la atención plena repetidamente durante las sesiones, los individuos pueden aumentar su propensión a exhibir meta-conciencia, dereificación o aceptación en la vida cotidiana, es decir, como rasgos (Davidson 2010;Davidson and Kaszniak 2015;). Esto es compatible con la idea neurobiológica de la neuroplasticidad. ...
... Mindfulness has been described as a non-reactive, nonjudgmental, and present-centered awareness, in which each thought, feeling, or sensation is acknowledged and accepted as it is (Bishop et al., 2004). Some suggested that mindfulness is similar to character advantages in positive psychology and is often referred to as a trait that exists naturally and varies within the population, or as a state of consciousness that can be developed with mindfulness training (Davidson, 2010). However, mindfulness-based interventions have been effective in producing positive mental health outcomes, such as reducing physiological symptoms related to anxiety, levels of self-perceived stress, alleviating symptom severity of patients with mental illness (Choo et al., 2019), and improving inflammatory biomarker levels in older adults with mild cognitive impairment (Ng et al., 2020). ...
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Sleep quality can affect the physical and mental health, as well as the personal development of college students. Mindfulness practices are known to ameliorate sleep disorder and improve sleep quality. Trait mindfulness, an innate capacity often enhanced by mindfulness training, has been shown to relate to better sleep quality and different aspects of psychological well-being. However, how individual difference factors such as trait mindfulness relate to sleep quality remains largely unclear, which limits the optimization and further application of mindfulness-based intervention schemes targeting the improvement of sleep quality. In this study, we aimed to investigate how negative emotions and neuroticism may influence the relationship between trait mindfulness and sleep quality. A conditional process model was built to examine these relationships in 1,423 Chinese young adults. Specifically, the conditional process model was constructed with trait mindfulness as the independent variable, sleep quality as the dependent variable, negative emotions as the mediating variable, and neuroticism as the moderating variable. Our results showed that negative emotions mediated the link between mindfulness and sleep quality and that neuroticism had a moderating effect on the relationship between mindfulness and sleep quality. Together, these findings suggested a potential mechanism of how trait mindfulness influences sleep quality, provided a therapeutic target for which mindfulness-based interventions may act upon to improve sleep quality, and offered a basis for prediction of different intervention effects among individuals.
... Without solid theoretical frameworks and validated measurement instruments, researchers risk creating "pseudo" mindfulness programs that lack clinical potency, specificity of behavioral effects, and coherence among the components of intervention. Although mindfulness research is still in a relatively early stage, researchers should prioritize specifying active ingredients of mindfulness-based treatment programs and develop objective measures to assess both meditation-induced and trait mindfulness (Davidson, 2010). These combined efforts will improve the quality of MBIs and strengthen empirical evidence of mindfulness research. ...
Article
Theoretical accounts and preliminary evidence suggest that Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) improve cognitive function, but reviews of empirical studies have provided mixed results. To clarify empirical evidence, we conducted a meta-analysis of 25 studies (n = 1439) and examined the effects of MBIs on four cognitive domains: attention, working memory, long-term memory, and executive function. The summary effect sizes indicate that MBIs produce non-significant effects on attention (SMD = 0.07), working memory (SMD = 0.16), and long-term memory (SMD = −0.12), while a small effect was observed for executive function (SMD = 0.29). Given significant heterogeneity across studies, we conducted meta-regression analyses with sample characteristics, age, number of treatment sessions, treatment duration, intervention type, control group type, and study design. We found moderating effects of intervention type on attention and executive function. Although the current study highlights preliminary evidence for improvements in executive function, overall results suggest non-significant findings for attention, working memory, and long-term memory. To draw a firm conclusion, further research is needed to address methodological challenges in meta-analysis and the limitations of existing studies.
... In recent years, mindfulness has attracted more and more attention in psychological research (Davidson, 2010;Brown et al., 2015;Lindsay and Creswell, 2017). Mindfulness can be viewed as both a state and as a special characteristic. ...
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Attention and working memory are important cognitive functions that affect junior school students’ learning ability and academic performance. This study aimed to explore the relationships among trait mindfulness, attention, and working memory and to explore differences in performance between a high trait mindfulness group and a low one in attention and working memory under different stressful situations. In study 1, 216 junior school students completed the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), and their attention and working memory were tested in a non-pressure situation. The results showed that attention had a partial mediating effect between mindfulness and working memory. In study 2, the high trait mindfulness group and the low one were tested for attention and working memory under situations with single and multiple pressures. One notable result was that the attention and working memory performances of the high mindfulness group were all significantly higher than those of the low mindfulness group in every stress situation (no stress, single stress, and multiple stresses). Other important results were that trait mindfulness moderates the relationship between stress and attention and between stress and working memory. These results suggest that trait mindfulness has a protective effect in the process by which various stresses affect attention and working memory. These findings indicate that trait mindfulness is an important psychological quality that affects the attention and working memory of junior school students, and it is also an important psychological resource for effectively coping with the impact of stress on attention and working memory. Therefore, it is possible that improving trait mindfulness may help to improve junior school students’ attention and working memory and enable them to cope better with stress, thereby helping to improve academic performance. This research is of great significance for understanding the association between key psychological qualities and cognitive functions in different stressful situations. These findings also provide insight for future studies in educational psychology.
... Therefore, the results of this study should be validated in a study with a larger and more representative samples size. Second, there is some concern (see for example, Davidson, 2010) on whether the study participants can reliably report on the quality and/or phenomenology of their subjective experiences. ...
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Recently, a three-dimensional construct model for complex experiential Selfhood has been proposed (Fingelkurts, Fingelkurts, & Kallio-Tamminen, 2016b,c). According to this model, three specific subnets (or modules) of the brain self-referential network (SRN) are responsible for the manifestation of three aspects/features of the subjective sense of Selfhood. Follow up multiple studies established a tight relation between alterations in the functional integrity of the triad of SRN modules and related to them three aspects/features of the sense of self; however, the causality of this relation is yet to be shown. In this article we approached the question of causality by exploring functional integrity within the three SRN modules that are thought to underlie the three phenomenal components of Selfhood while these components were manipulated mentally by experienced meditators in a controlled and independent manner. Participants were requested, in a block-randomised manner, to mentally induce states representing either increased (up-regulation) or decreased (down-regulation) sense of (a) witnessing agency (“Self”), or (b) body representational-emotional agency (“Me”), or (c) reflective/narrative agency (“I”), while their brain activity was recorded by an electroencephalogram (EEG). This EEG-data was complemented by first-person phenomenological reports and standardised questionnaires which focused on subjective contents of three aspects of Selfhood. The results of the study strengthen the case for a direct causative relationship between three phenomenological aspects of Selfhood and related to them three modules of the brain SRN. Furthermore, the putative integrative model of the dynamic interrelations among three modules of the SRN has been proposed. https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1bxrJ3lcz3wy3r
... Significant differences were not found among mild, moderate, and severe groups. This result is coherent by definition with mindfulness as a trait, which is considered a dispositional quality that naturally differs among individuals due to genetic heritage, environmental circumstances, and training (Davidson 2010). Previous studies have found similar results; Jedel et al. (2013) did not find differences in dispositional mindfulness among groups of severity of UC patients. ...
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Objectives Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic and idiopathic gastrointestinal pathology whose bi-directional relation with psychological variables (e.g., quality of life, fatigue, and stress) has been studied in depth. Dispositional mindfulness has been related to a better quality of life and health in chronic diseases. The present study aims to examine the potential mediator influence of dispositional mindfulness in the association between disease severity and health-related quality of life, stress, and fatigue in IBD patients.Methods In a cross-sectional study, 152 patients diagnosed with IBD were recruited from the digestive unit of Sagunt Hospital (Spain) where they were receiving treatment. Dispositional mindfulness, fatigue, perceived stress, health-related quality of life, and illness severity were measured. Subsequently, descriptive statistical analyses, Pearson product-moment correlations, multivariate analysis of variance, and mediation analyses were performed.ResultsDispositional mindfulness facets were positively associated with quality of life, lower fatigue, and lower perceived stress levels (except for the observe subscale). Mediation analyses showed that IBD severity (moderate vs. mild patients) indirectly influenced quality of life (ab = −6.16, 95% CI [−13.46, −0.76]), perceived stress (ab = 2.23, 95% CI [0.41, 4.24]), and fatigue (ab = 3.24, 95% CI [0.48, 6.66]) through its effect on the dispositional mindfulness facet “acting with awareness.”Conclusions Dispositional mindful awareness seems to be a protective factor in addition to a promising intervention target in IBD patients, whose severity only influences quality of life, perceived stress, and fatigue through it.
... Mindfulness refers to a non-reactive, non-judgmental, and present-centered awareness that acknowledges and accepts any feeling, thinking, or sensation as it is (Bishop et al., 2004). Theories of mindfulness suggest that it is like a character merit in constructive psychology that stands for a natural trait varying among people and is a state of consciousness that can be developed with mindfulness exercises (Davidson, 2010). Some studies show that mindfulness-based interventions can improve mindfulness, which contributes to reduced interpersonal distress and interpersonal sensitivity symptoms (Du et al., 2016;Qiu et al., 2017;Joss et al., 2020). ...
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Background: Interpersonal sensitivity is a prominent mental health problem facing college students today. Trait mindfulness is a potential positive factor that may influence interpersonal relationships. However, the precise relationship between trait mindfulness and interpersonal sensitivity remains elusive, which limits the optimization and further application of mindfulness-based intervention schemes targeting interpersonal sensitivity. This study aimed to explore (a) whether negative emotions mediate the relationship between trait mindfulness and interpersonal sensitivity and (b) whether the relationship among trait mindfulness, negative emotions, and interpersonal sensitivity is moderated by effectiveness/authenticity. We hypothesize that (a) negative emotions mediate the relationship between trait mindfulness and interpersonal sensitivity, and (b) effectiveness/authenticity moderates the indirect association between trait mindfulness and interpersonal sensitivity through negative emotions. Methods: One thousand four hundred nineteen Chinese college students (1,023 females, 396 males), aged from 17 to 23 (SD = 0.86, mean = 18.38), participated in this study. Their trait mindfulness, negative emotions, the effectiveness/authenticity, and interpersonal sensitivity were measured using well-validated self-report questionnaires. Results: Correlational analyses indicated that both trait mindfulness and effectiveness/authenticity were significantly and negatively associated with interpersonal sensitivity. Mediation analyses uncovered a partial mediating role of negative emotions in the relationship between trait mindfulness and interpersonal sensitivity. Moderated mediation analyses showed that in college students with high effectiveness/authenticity, the relationship between trait mindfulness and negative emotions was stronger, whereas the relationship between negative emotions and interpersonal sensitivity was weaker. Conclusion: Negative emotion is a mediator of the relationship between trait mindfulness and interpersonal sensitivity, which in turn is moderated by effectiveness/authenticity. These findings suggest a potential mechanism through which trait mindfulness influences interpersonal sensitivity. Mindfulness-based interventions have the potential to decrease interpersonal sensitivity and offer a basis for predicting individual differences in response to mindfulness-based interventions among individuals.
... However, finding a matched control group for highly skilled meditators is very difficult. People who accrue tens of thousands of hours of meditation generally have different environmental factors including diet, social interaction, and other psychological factors such as lack of stress than potential non-meditator control participants (Davidson, 2010). Because of these limiting factors, a longitudinal study comparing the electrophysiological and psychological correlates of meditation practices is indispensable if we hope to increase our understanding of both state and trait effects. ...
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Meditation is an umbrella term for a number of mental training practices designed to improve the monitoring and regulation of attention and emotion. Some forms of meditation are now being used for clinical intervention. To accompany the increased clinical interest in meditation, research investigating the neural basis of these practices is needed. A central hypothesis of contemplative neuroscience is that meditative states, which are unique on a phenomenological level, differ on a neurophysiological level. To identify the electrophysiological correlates of meditation practice, the electrical brain activity of highly skilled meditators engaging in one of six meditation styles (shamatha, vipassana, zazen, dzogchen, tonglen, and visualization) was recorded. A mind-wandering task served as a control. Lempel–Ziv complexity showed differences in nonlinear brain dynamics (entropy) during meditation compared with mind wandering, suggesting that meditation, regardless of practice, affects neural complexity. In contrast, there were no differences in power spectra at six different frequency bands, likely due to the fact that participants engaged in different meditation practices. Finally, exploratory analyses suggest neurological differences among meditation practices. These findings highlight the importance of studying the electroencephalography (EEG) correlates of different meditative practices.
... It has been widely suggested that mindfulness could foster more positive interpersonal interactions (e.g., Brown et al., 2007;Davidson, 2010). The present research sought to contribute to this young literature by examining the relation between trait mindfulness and reactions to unfairness, focusing particularly on the relation between trait mindfulness, acceptance of offers and emotional reactions to the fairness of offers in the Ultimatum Game. ...
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Objectives The current study assessed whether trait mindfulness relates to social decision making as increased acceptance rates towards offers in the Ultimatum Game. Mindfulness has been associated to a reduction in emotional reactivity and an increase in emotion regulation once intense emotions do occur. Therefore, we reasoned that trait mindfulness would predict acceptance in the Ultimatum Game, perhaps even in case of unfair offers. Methods In two online studies we assessed whether trait mindfulness positively predicts acceptance of offers in the Ultimatum Game among community samples (study 1 N = 107; study 2 N = 118). In study 2, we also assessed participants’ emotional reactions to offers prior to their decision to accept or reject. Results Whereas study 1 indeed showed a significant positive relation between trait mindfulness and acceptance of offers (OR = 2.01, p = .05), study 2 did not show this relation (OR = .91, p = .81). Also, the results of study 2 showed that trait mindfulness may moderate emotional responses to offers (β = − .06, p = .03). Yet, analyses of the pooled data indicated no relation between trait mindfulness and acceptance of offers (p < .15). Conclusions Our research provides mixed support regarding the association between trait mindfulness and behavioral acceptance of offers in the Ultimatum Game. We discuss the need for more fine-grained examinations of when and why mindfulness should lead to acceptance of unfairness, and if and when mindfulness would lead to wise responding in social exchange situations.
... Mindfulness in higher education involves different modalities including research, for example, studying the effectiveness of mindfulness through neuroscience, quantitative and qualitative research methods (Davidson, 2010;Davidson & Kaszniak, 2015), education and training through mindfulness courses (Bush, 2011), explicit incorporation of mindfulness practices, for example, contemplative practices viewed as powerful methods to transform teaching and learning as part of a curricula (Barbezat & Bush, 2014), and preventive intervention or therapy to address mental health issues (Block-Lerner & Cardaciotto, 2016). Roeser (2014) pointed out that the emergence of mindfulness-based interventions in educational settings are on the rise due to increased interest in secular mindfulness. ...
... Understanding anger (iv) Reflection (v) Decision (vi) Relaxation and (vii) Opening the Heart (Leifer, 1999 7. By this self-study-mindfulness-might enhance your brain frontal area aggression and determine the process at an advanced level A consideration of the targets within emotion processing that is likely to be impacted by mindfulness. (Davidson, 2010) Recovery from an emotional challenge and increased tolerance of negative affect are both hallmarks of mental health. Mindfulness training (MT) has been shown to facilitate these outcomes, yet little is known about its mechanisms of action. ...
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Humankind faces many problems like terrorism, crime, the collapse of the family unit,drug abuse, war, theft, etc. I suggest delusional thoughts and decisions, which are declined of intelligence, mainly cause by psychological mind viruses (MV) that impact psychological, physical, and social well-being. Such MV might scan by healthy mind viruses (HMV). The intelligent learning, training (meditation), and decisions might play a significant role in HMV. In addition to the nature and nurture human brain, a another microscopic, unknown matter be there, which I call X-ultra quantum conscious particle genome (X-UQCPG); all these three factors seem to be interdepended. The X-UQCPGmight bond with the X-ultra quantum unique conscious particle (X-UQUCP) that might not impact on nature and nurture . Here, I show the unearthed core of early Buddhistteachings, training (meditation), and decisions inclusive of the 8-fold path may be an efficient methodology for Intelligence evolution. The human intelligence evolution,psychological well-being might represent a theoretical 3D graph[SDKL1] of nature, nurture, X-UQCPG. If life after death occurs, the clinical death of a person's finally evolved level of the key (X-ultra-quantum consciousness particle genome) X- UQCPG (+X- UQCUP) might be the crucial natural transmission. And bond with a matching vacant zygote/early embryo of its X-ultra quantum particles and its new conscious state might depend on the lastly evolve genome of the X-UQCPG. However, there are many more mysterious issues to be solved in future researches, so this might not be a theory of everything on the central theme.
... Understanding anger (iv) Reflection (v) Decision (vi) Relaxation and (vii) Opening the Heart (Leifer, 1999 7. By this self-study-mindfulness-might enhance your brain frontal area aggression and determine the process at an advanced level A consideration of the targets within emotion processing that is likely to be impacted by mindfulness. (Davidson, 2010) Recovery from an emotional challenge and increased tolerance of negative affect are both hallmarks of mental health. Mindfulness training (MT) has been shown to facilitate these outcomes, yet little is known about its mechanisms of action. ...
... Just as we were unable to be rid of physical threat, we were also trying to adapt to the changes in our lives brought by the pandemic. Like positive psychology, mindfulness supports overcoming pain and leading a good life in pursuit of happiness (Davidson, 2010;Seligman, 2002). There are many studies that evidence positive relations between mindfulness and subjective happiness (Coo & Salanova, 2018;Loureiro et al., 2019;Rowland et al., 2020). ...
Article
Cross-sectional findings indicated the relationship between mindfulness, hope, and wellbeing. To address the limitations associated with cross-sectional designs, the present study sought to examine whether hope mediated the longitudinal relationship between mindfulness and subjective happiness during the pandemic. To examine these hypotheses, we used the Subjective Happiness Scale, Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, and Dispositional Hope Scale by conducting two waves of surveys within a three-month interval, with 254 participants from 44 of Turkey's total 81 cities. Results of cross-lagged panel model for a half-longitudinal design indicated mindfulness conferred strengthening for subjective happiness three months later via hope. The current findings highlight the important roles of mindfulness and hope on subjective happiness during the pandemic.
... There are also results from mindfulness studies that show that regular practice is essential for promoting positive emotions, improving concentration and states of physiological relaxation (Davidson et al., 2003). Mindfulness develops and deepens over time, but requires a continuous commitment to its practice (Kabat-Zinn, 2003;Davidson, 2010). ...
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Positive Psychology has turned its attention to the study of emotions in a scientific and rigorous way. Particularly, to how emotions influence people’s health, performance, or their overall life satisfaction. Within this trend, Flow theory has established a theoretical framework that helps to promote the Flow experience. Flow state, or optimal experience, is a mental state of high concentration and enjoyment that, due to its characteristics, has been considered desirable for the development of the performing activity of performing musicians. Musicians are a population prone to health problems, both psychological and physical, owing to different stressors of their training and professional activity. One of the most common problems is Musical Performance Anxiety. In this investigation, an electronic intervention program was carried out for the development of psychological self-regulation skills whose main objective was to trigger the Flow response in performing musicians and the coping mechanism for Musical Performance Anxiety. A quasi-experimental design was used with a control group in which pre- and post-measures of Flow State, Musical Performance Anxiety and, also, Social Skills were taken. Sixty-two performing musicians from different music colleges in Spain participated in the program. Results indicated that the intervention significantly improved Flow State (t = –2.41, p = 0.02, d = 0.36), and Sense of Control (t = –2.48, p = 0.02, d = 0.47), and decreased Music Performance Anxiety (t = 2.64, p = 0.01, d = 0.24), and self-consciousness (t = –3.66, p = 0.00, d = 0.70) of the participants in the EG but not CG. The changes in the EG after the program showed the inverse relationship between Flow and Anxiety. Two important theoretical factors of both variables (especially in situations of performance and public exposure), such as worry and the feeling of lack of control, could be involved. The results are under discussion and future lines of research are proposed.
... Although inconsistent findings are commonly attributed to issues of study design Davidson, 2010), researchers have also acknowledged the importance of individual difference factors, such as trait mindfulness (Carpenter et al., 2019;Laurent et al., 2015). However, the influence of individual differences in motivation and preconceived assumptions of mindfulness meditation have not been evaluated. ...
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Objectives: The objective of the current study was to investigate the effect of a brief mindfulness practice on perceived stress and sustained attention, and to determine whether priming the benefits of mindfulness meditation enhances this effect. Methods: Two hundred and twenty undergraduate students were randomly assigned to a control condition (CC), a meditation condition (MC), or a priming + meditation condition (PMC). Baseline and post-treatment measures included subjective stress ratings on a visual analog scale (VAS) and performance on a Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART), determined by reaction time coefficient of variability (RTCV) and three measures of accuracy: correct responses, errors of commission, and errors of omission. Results: Repeated measures analyses revealed that both the MC and the PMC displayed a decline in perceived stress relative to the CC. Analyses further revelated that the MC and PMC displayed fewer errors of omission relative to the CC. However, only the PMC displayed better performance relative to the CC with respect to total correct response and errors of commission. There were no significant between-group differences for RTCV. Conclusions: These findings are novel and provide a foundation to further investigate the effect of priming on mindfulness engagement and its potential benefits. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s12671-022-01913-8.
... Neurophysiological evidence shows that mindfulness meditation causes structural changes in the brain regions involved in learning and memory processes, emotion regulation, and self-referential processing (Davidson et al., 2003;Hölzel et al., 2011a;Lutz et al., 2014;Davidson and Kaszniak, 2015;Tang et al., 2015). Mindfulness meditation training can be divided into three levels according to the training time (Davidson, 2010;Davidson and Kaszniak, 2015;Sayers et al., 2015;Lei et al., 2016): temporary mindfulness meditation training (3 min to 1 h), short-term mindfulness meditation training (4 days to 4 months), and long-term mindfulness meditation training (over 10 years). Studies have shown that both short-term mindfulness meditation training and long-term meditation training affect emotional processing by increasing individual mindfulness and self-awareness and enhancing individual emotional self-acceptance (Lei et al., 2016). ...
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Mindfulness meditation is a form of self-regulatory training for the mind and the body. The relationship between mindfulness meditation and musical aesthetic emotion processing (MAEP) remains unclear. This study aimed to explore the effect of temporary mindfulness meditation on MAEP while listening to Chinese classical folk instrumental musical works. A 2 [(groups: mindfulness meditation group (MMG); control group (CG)] × 3 (music emotions: calm music, happy music, and sad music) mixed experimental design and a convenience sample of university students were used to verify our hypotheses, which were based on the premise that temporary mindfulness meditation may affect MAEP (MMG vs. CG). Sixty-seven non-musically trained participants (65.7% female, age range: 18-22 years) were randomly assigned to two groups (MMG or CG). Participants in MMG were given a single 10-min recorded mindfulness meditation training before and when listening to music. The instruments for psychological measurement comprised of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). Self-report results showed no significant between-group differences for PANAS and for the scores of four subscales of the FFMQ (p > 0.05 throughout), except for the non-judging of inner experience subscale. Results showed that temporary mindfulness meditation training decreased the negative emotional experiences of happy and sad music and the positive emotional experiences of calm music during recognition and experience and promoted beautiful musical experiences in individuals with no musical training. Maintaining a state of mindfulness while listening to music enhanced body awareness and led to experiencing a faster passage of musical time. In addition, it was found that Chinese classical folk instrumental musical works effectively induced aesthetic emotion and produced multidimensional aesthetic experiences among non-musically trained adults. This study provides new insights into the relationship between mindfulness and music emotion.
... Además, coincide que son estas mujeres las que presentan menos problemas en sintomatología prefrontal en general, y, en concreto, en problemas de control ejecutivo de la conducta; aunque es interesante, dado el objetivo de este estudio, destacar que aunque las relaciones no sean significativas, existe esa misma tendencia en control social y control emocional, es decir, que a mayores niveles de atención plena disposicional las mujeres informan de menores problemas de control social y emocional. Estos resultados sustentan el modelo de regresión diseñado, que evidencia el carácter predictivo y significativo de la variable satisfacción vital en altos niveles de atención plena disposicional de la mujer que vive en entornos rurales, en consonancia con estudios anteriores que comprueban que las personas con altos niveles de atención plena son aquellas capaces de regular su sensación de bienestar en virtud de una elevada conciencia emocional, al tiempo que reparan estados emocionales no placenteros (Davidson, 2010). Se ha constatado que niveles altos de atención plena se asocian a mejor satisfacción vital y, por lo tanto, previsiblemente, a menores problemas psicológicos evidenciando lo demostrado en otros estudios previos (Black et al., 2012;Brown et al., 2011;Calvete et al., 2014;Kong et al., 2015), reforzando la idea de que entre los rasgos de atención plena asociados a la regulación emocional se encuentren no juzgar ni reaccionar ante las experiencias, mediando la regulación emocional entre la atención plena disposicional y la labilidad emocional de las emociones negativas, diferenciándolas de las positivas (Hill y Updegraff, 2012). ...
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Durante los últimos años han aumentado las investigaciones sobre atención plena (mindfulness) tanto como estado o como rasgo disposicional y su relación con diferentes variables relacionadas con la salud y bienestar de la persona. El objetivo de este trabajo fue analizar la relación y el carácter predictivo de la satisfacción vital y sintomatología prefrontal en la atención plena disposicional en la mujer rural. Participaron 239 mujeres de distintas localidades rurales de España de entre 17 y 87 años (M= 56,13; DT= 14,98). Los resultados confirman el carácter predictivo de niveles altos de satisfacción vital y bajos en sintomatología prefrontal y problemas en control ejecutivo respecto a un mayor nivel de atención plena disposicional de las mujeres evaluadas. Tras discutir los hallazgos obtenidos, que derivan consecuencias clínicas y sociosanitarias, proponemos seguir profundizando en esta línea específica de investigación dados los beneficios probados de la atención plena en el bienestar general de la persona, actuando como factor protector de la salud mental, física y emocional.
... Contemporary psychological definitions of mindfulness refer to moment-bymoment awareness of our bodily sensations, thoughts, feelings, and surrounding environment, paired with an attitude of openness, curiosity, and nonjudgment (Kabat-Zinn, 2011). Although a robust body of research (see Brown & Ryan, 2003;Davidson, 2010;Verhaeghen, 2017) has established the benefits of mindfulness for the individual--including improvements in mood, stress, emotional self-regulation, psychological flexibility, and working memory--mindfulness as originally developed within Buddhist traditions was aimed at the cultivation of so-called virtuous mental states, including compassion for others (Condon, 2017). ...
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This study integrates the conceptual and empirical research on mindfulness and intergroup bias to guide a meta-analysis that examines associations between mindfulness and (a) different manifestations of bias, e.g., implicit and explicit attitudes, affect, and behavior, directed towards (b) different bias targets, e.g., outgroup or ingroup (internalized bias), by (c) intergroup orientation, e.g., towards bias or anti-bias. Of 70 independent samples, 42 (178 effect sizes; N = 3,229) were studies of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) and 30 (150 effect sizes; N = 6,002) were correlational studies. Unconditional mixed-effects structural equation models showed a large, negative effect of mindfulness on bias for intervention (d = -0.56, CI 95% [-0.72, -0.40]) and correlational (r = -0.17 [-0.27, -0.03]) studies. Effects were comparable for intergroup bias and internalized bias; the largest effects were for behavioral outcomes. We conclude by identifying gaps in the evidence base and outline an agenda for future research.
... This may be explained, in part, by considerable heterogeneity in study design and samples, as well as methodological difficulties. Indeed, methodological issues arise from a number of issues including the inconsistent and broad meaning applied for the term "mindfulness", and-among others-trait mindfulness, state mindfulness, mindfulness meditation training; the lack of adequate control groups in mindfulness training; and the difficulty in choosing adequate neural targets in analyses (Caspi and Burleson, 2005;Davidson, 2010;Davidson and Kaszniak, 2015). ...
Article
This review synthesizes relations between mindfulness and resting-state fMRI functional connectivity of brain networks. Mindfulness is characterized by present-moment awareness and experiential acceptance, and relies on attention control, self-awareness, and emotion regulation. We integrate studies of functional connectivity and (1) trait mindfulness and (2) mindfulness meditation interventions. Mindfulness is related to functional connectivity in the default mode (DMN), frontoparietal (FPN), and salience (SN) networks. Specifically, mindfulness-mediated functional connectivity changes include (1) increased connectivity between posterior cingulate cortex (DMN) and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (FPN), which may relate to attention control; (2) decreased connectivity between cuneus and SN, which may relate to self-awareness; (3) increased connectivity between rostral anterior cingulate cortex region and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (DMN) and decreased connectivity between rostral anterior cingulate cortex region and amygdala region, both of which may relate to emotion regulation; and lastly, (4) increased connectivity between dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (SN) and anterior insula (SN) which may relate to pain relief. While further study of mindfulness is needed, neural signatures of mindfulness are emerging.
... The positive relationship between mindfulness and reflectiveness was demonstrated with the reduction of nonadaptive forms of thinking (ruminations and worries) (Brown & Ryan, 2003). Mindfulness also positively correlates with emotional and motivational aspects of life, i.e. with adaptive regulation of emotions, the needs of autonomy, competence, psychological wellbeing, empathy, self-compassion, resilience, sexual satisfaction and mental health (Baer et al., 2012;Bloch et al., 2017;Brown & Ryan, 2003;Creswell & Lindsay, 2014;Davidson, 2010;Dekeyser et al., 2008;Keng et al., 2011;Pepping et al., 2018;Rizal et al., 2020). ...
... The term mindfulness can be used to refer to a psychological feature, a practice for improving mindful awareness (e.g., MM), a state of awareness, or a psychological process (Davidson, 2010). A common definition of mindfulness is «paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally» (Kabat-Zinn, 1994, p. 4). ...
Article
Dissociation is an involuntary defensive mechanism to protect oneself by avoiding unbearable internal conflicts or overwhelming emotions. Cultivating mindful awareness could allow the development of voluntary processes that can offer part of the self-protective function of dissociation while favoring internal integration processes. The aim of the present study was to explore the effects of a 7-week Mindfulness Oriented Meditation (MOM) training on healthy individuals’ self-reported dissociative experience, mindfulness skills and interoceptive awareness. After the training, in comparison to a waiting-list control group (N = 102), the MOM group (N = 110) showed reduced dissociative tendencies (p < .05), increased dispositional mindfulness (p < .001) and increased interoceptive awareness (in the aspects of not-worrying, self-regulation and body listening; p < .001). Moreover, correlational evidence showed that the more MOM participants increased in mindfulness skills after the training the more they reported increased interoceptive awareness and decreased dissociative functioning (p < .05). Mindfulness skills also improved with more home meditation practice executed by MOM participants (p < .05). These findings were attributed to a possible role of mindfulness meditation in enabling the development of volitional processes that afford psychological safety and integration, in contrast with the involuntary nature of dissociation.
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Behind the stereotype of a solitary meditator closing his eyes to society, meditation, like any other human activity, always takes place in close interaction with the surrounding culture. Even when seeking to reach a dimension beyond all phenomena, it is clearly situated within the social, cultural, and historical context in which it is practiced. Th ere is oft en a tension between the transcendent aspirations involved in meditative practice and the ways in which it is deeply embedded in custom, tradition, and doctrine. Th is volume studies cases in which the relation between meditative practice and cultural context is particularly complex. Th e aim is to get a more nuanced and realistic view of the tangled interactions between practice and context, and to get closer to an answer-or rather several answers-to the question: What is the relation between meditation and culture? Th e volume gives no single answer. Taken together, however, the many diff erent viewpoints included amount to an argument concerning the complexity of the relation. Transformations of the self One dimension of this complex relation concerns the question of how the changes associated with meditation come about. Meditation is about self-transformation, and the relation between meditative practice and cultural context depends on the nature of the self that meditation aspires to transform. If the self is a social, cultural, and linguistic construction, shaped from external forces, like the Bergsonian moi social but without the connotations to superfi ciality, then meditation is a way of integrating impulses from the outside. If the self is the seat of individual consciousness and agency, derived from within, like the moi profond , then the surrounding culture can still facilitate self-transformation, but mainly by helping the person open up to latent impulses residing within. If the social and individual selves both turn out to be but useful abstractions-dissolving into a number of postmodern selves, or merging into a higher self grounded in a cosmic or divine
Article
There is rapidly growing interest in Western compassion trainings that rely especially on traditional Buddhist practices. This growing body of research distinguishes between two distinct compassion constructs, namely self-compassion versus other-oriented compassion (hereafter, other-compassion). However, the Buddhist traditions from which most studied compassion practices derive emphasize the relevance of compassion for breaking down artificial barriers between self and other. We therefore conducted a comprehensive review of 94 randomized controlled trials on compassion training, examining how the dualistic division of compassion (into self- versus other-compassion) has shaped compassion training research to date. Our review finds patterns both consistent (e.g. a disproportionate focus on the self-oriented benefits of compassion trainings) and inconsistent (e.g. particular pairings of self-other emphasis across training and outcome) with the dualistic division of compassion. Overall, findings reveal the need for more research on social benefits of self- and other-compassion training, as well as less dualistic approaches to compassion.
Chapter
One of the basic truths is probably that we live in a changing world. People change in their behavior and in their experiences. But their social and physical environment is also changing. At the same time, people show changing attitudes and behaviors, which also represent changing social norms and values. Perhaps it is a sign of our times that in all of this there is an increasing emphasis on people’s responsibility for themselves and for their environment. Resilience and mindfulness are important in order to be able to adequately face the many challenges and pitfalls. Resilience and mindfulness represent particular competences of individuals as well as of the groups and organizations in which these individuals live and work. This chapter seeks to present resilience and mindfulness as concepts and assets for work contexts in the changing world in which we live.
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The application of mindfulness in management practice and education has recognized notable growth in recent years. The development of mindfulness has shown positive effects in several domains such as stress management, work engagement, well-being and cognitive flexibility. However, the effect of mindfulness training in the domain of interpersonal relationships is still a rather unexplored area. Furthermore, little evidence has so far explored the domain of relational mindfulness that focuses on the development of awareness of one and other’s condition in a social context. In order to address the lack of evidence, the goal of this thesis is to develop and validate an 8- week mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) named Relational Mindfulness Training (RMT). Research was conducted in the pilot (N = 66) and main study (N = 128) that included students of the University of Economics in Prague. Results showed a significant effect of participation in RMT on mindfulness, self-compassion, authentic leadership, compassion, perceived stress and subjective happiness. Results from the main study further confirmed significant effects of RMT participation on mindfulness, self-compassion and perceived stress in the long run, and indicated that individuals who maintained the individual practice after the end of intervention showed notably better results than individuals who did not. However, the individual practice did not affect the level of compassion. It suggests that an increase of compassion was not affected by an individual practice but by a relational practice of RMT. Two studies described in this thesis are the first ones that validate the effects of a relational-based mindfulness program in management education and the first ones to validate the effects of MBI in the Czech Republic. They also suggest that training in relational mindfulness has a potential to become a beneficial part of management education curriculum as it may help future leaders to handle their challenges in more aware and caring way.
Article
Objective: Dispositional mindfulness is associated with reduced pain in clinical and experimental settings. However, researchers have neglected the type of pain assessment, as dispositional mindfulness may have unique benefits for reduced pain sensitivity when relying on summary pain assessments, in contrast to assessing the pain of each noxious stimulus. Here, we test the association between dispositional mindfulness and pain using both trial-by-trial pain assessments and overall summary ratings after acute pain tasks. Methods: One hundred thirty-one healthy adult volunteers (mean age = 29.09 [8.00] years, 55.7% female) underwent two experimental thermal pain paradigms. We tested whether dispositional mindfulness measured with the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale was related to a) heat-evoked pain sensitivity, as measured by pain threshold, pain tolerance, average pain, trial-by-trial ratings, and heat-evoked skin conductance response, and b) summary judgments of sensory and affective pain assessed using the McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ). Results: Mindful Attention Awareness Scale ratings were associated with decreased pain on the MPQ sensory (B = -0.18, SE = 0.05, 95% confidence interval = -0.29 to -0.07, t = -3.28, p = .001) and affective (B = -0.11, SE = 0.03, 95% confidence interval = -0.18 to -0.05, t = -3.32, p = .001) dimensions but not with experimental thermal pain assessments, including threshold, tolerance, heat-evoked pain, or skin conductance response (p values ≥ .29). Conclusions: In this study, dispositional mindfulness mitigated acute thermal pain only when pain was assessed using the MPQ. These findings may reflect differences in immediate versus retrospective judgments or the type of pain assessed by each measure. Future research should examine regulation processes that may explain these differential analgesic benefits, such as attention, rumination, or reappraisal.
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Objetivo: este estudo de revisão sistemática de literatura buscou analisar as relações entre mindfulness e regulação emocional. Método: foram consultadas diversas bases de dado nacionais e internacionais e selecionou-se para análise 60 artigos publicados no período de 2009 a 2019. Resultados: Em termos conceituais, mindfulness é prevalentemente considerado como um traço, e menos como um estado ou habilidade. Os resultados dos estudos empíricos sugerem que mindfulness mostra-se associado ao uso de estratégias de regulação emocional adaptativas favorecendo o funcionamento psíquico saudável. Apontam-se também os limites e contribuições desta revisão. Conclusão: Há a necessidade de mais estudos que considerem o aspecto processual de mindfulness e que possibilitem capturar avivência subjetiva da prática, tendo em visto a prevalência de estudos quantitativos que fizeram uso de escalas de autorrelato.
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While the modern era has many advantages, it has also caused many mental issues. Surrounded by technology, for example, may cause tension, weariness, and concern. Faced with the epidemic, mental health has become a critical obligation. Daily mindfulness practice may help you overcome mental health issues. Mindfulness practices such as exercises, yoga, and breathing techniques may significantly improve one's mental health. The use of technology by teenagers is increasing. The epidemic is causing young people's mental instability. Trying to learn and adapt to this unexpected shift in lifestyle has severely harmed everyone's mental health. Living during a pandemic has changed lifestyle and healthcare. Mindfulness has shown to be a cure for physical, mental, and emotional tiredness. Given the present situation, research on the mental health of mindfulness practitioners and non-practitioners is critical. Mindfulness practitioners and non-practitioners will be compared in this research to investigate how mindfulness affects mental health. So, correlational research was used. Here, the researcher looks for a connection between two or more variables. Patients' mental health and mindfulness practitioners' mental health are the factors in this study. To investigate how mindfulness practices influenced people's mental health, both practitioners and non-practitioners. A poll link was published on social media. Mindfulness practitioners with two years of experience and a high school certificate received it. Mindfulness practitioners and non-practitioners were equally represented. The link was identified after the computation. A positive association was found, showing that mindfulness practitioners had better mental health than those who do not. Keywords: Mindfulness, mental health, University students, depression, and stress.
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Background: The non-adherence of schizorefrenia is high even though non-adherence causes relaxed and rehospitalization. One of alternative intervention strategies is to use Islamic spiritual mindfulness therapy. Objective: To determine the effect of Islamic spiritual mindfulness intervention on drug adherence in schizophrenia through SI-POS android application. Method: This type of research was quantitative using a quasy-experimental design with a prepost test control group design approach, namely the type of research design by forming two groups, namely the control and intervention groups. Data were measured using the MARS 10 questionnaire, it took six weeks to see drug adherence and the effectiveness of Islamic spiritual mindfulness therapy, a questionnaire to follow up on the ability of spiritual healthy independent target activities. This research has been declared to have passed the ethical health test at RSJ Central Java. Data was analyzed using SPSS 25 programs with Wilcoxon signed rank test or a statistical test difference. The intervention group was given "Islamic Spiritual Mindfulness" to receive treatment.Results: This study showed that mindfulness intervention is very effective in increasing drug adherence and targets for spiritual independence. Islamic spiritual mindfulness patients acknowledge the problem causing their problem. These findings support the use of Islamic Spiritual Mindfulness as an intervention to increase the adherence level of patients treatment with mental and mental health conditions. IT recommended not only drug adherence, that these interventions could be developed through future research and intervention programs.Conclusion: This study concluded that spiritual mindfulness has an effect on drug adherence in schizophrenia patients. Therefore, Islamic spiritual mindfulness therapy is highly recommended for mental nurses. Islamic spiritual mindfulness as a therapy is considered as an intervention for patient mental disorders.
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Achtsamkeit wird mit vielen positiven Effekten für das psychische Wohlbefinden assoziiert, wobei Fähigkeiten wie Emotionsregulation (ER) und soziale Kognition (SC) zu den wichtigsten Mechanismen gehören. In der vorliegenden Doktorarbeit wurde die Beziehung zwischen Achtsamkeit, ER und SC mit verschiedenen methodischen Ansätzen untersucht. In Studie I wurde mithilfe von Literatur und empirischen Modellen die Beziehung zwischen Achtsamkeit und ER ausgearbeitet und verschiedene psychologische und neurokognitive Mechanismen diskutiert. Studie II zielte darauf ab den ER-Mechanismus bei „Trait-Achtsamkeit“ zu entschlüsseln. Hier zeigte sich, dass es sowohl bei Probanden mit einer Borderline-Persönlichkeitsstörung als auch bei gesunden Teilnehmern einen mediierenden Effekt von Selbstmitgefühl gab, der Achtsamkeit mit ER-Merkmalen verband. Studie III untersuchte den Zusammenhang zwischen ER und SC mit Hilfe von Verhaltens- und Neuroimaging-Experimenten, mit Fokus auf dem Konzept der sozialen ER (die Fähigkeit, die Emotionen anderer zu modulieren). Es zeigte sich, dass bei der Regulierung der Emotionen anderer der eigene Stress reduziert wird, wobei wichtige "soziokognitive" Hirnregionen (z.B. Precuneus) an der Vermittlung dieser Effekte beteiligt sind. Studie IV untersuchte im Rahmen einer Neuroimaging-basierten randomisierten Kontrollstudie ER-Mechanismen während einer achtsamkeitsbasierten Intervention (MBI). Die Studie zeigte eine durch die MBI induzierte ER-Verhaltensplastizität im Gehirn, sowohl für die Eigen- als auch für die soziale ER. Ein Effekt im Vergleich zu SC (kognitive und emotionale Empathie) wurde nicht gezeigt. Unter Einbezug aller Ergebnisse wurde ein Modell postuliert, das den Austausch und die Regulierung von Emotionen im Kontext von sozialen Interaktionen integriert. Die Dissertation bietet neue Einblicke in die ER-Mechanismen der Achtsamkeit und beleuchtet die individuellen Determinanten sozialer Prozesse durch das Zusammenbringen von ER und SC.
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Introduction: Interventions based on Yogic Breathing Practices (IB-YBP) have shown promising results for substance use disorders (SUD). Research in this area is methodologically heterogeneous and only a few, but restricted, systematic reviews are available. The current systematic review aims to assess the effectiveness of IB-YBP for SUD. Materials and Methods: PubMed, Cochrane's Library, EBSCO-Medline, and Google Scholar databases were searched for the randomized- (RCTs) and quasi-randomized trials. Research involving participants with SUD, of either gender or any age, assessing the effectiveness of the IB-YBP either as a standalone intervention or as an adjuvant to standard treatment versus standard pharmacological/non-pharmacological treatment or no-intervention control were included. Studies having participants with co-morbid psychiatric illness and interventions not having IB-YBP as the predominant component were excluded. Results: The initial literature search yielded 396 articles and upon screening, only 14 studies were found eligible for this review. Most studies have researched IB-YBP as an adjunct to the standard treatment for SUD. Evidence for the effectiveness of IB-YBP is mostly available for tobacco and opioid use disorders, though only for short-term outcomes; however, literature is scarce for alcohol- and cocaine-use disorders. This review documented the effectiveness of the IB-YBP for substance use-related outcome parameters such as abstinence, quality of life (QoL), mood, craving, and withdrawal symptoms. Conclusion: IB-YBP may be an effective adjuvant to standard treatment for various SUD. However, more research is required to compare its effectiveness with standard treatment, and assessing its long-term efficacy, for it to be strongly recommended as a treatment strategy.
Technical Report
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Achtsamkeit wird in Anlehnung an Jon Kabat-Zinn vielfach so verstanden: Ich lenke meine Aufmerksamkeit auf den gegenwärtigen Moment, ohne zu bewerten. Als aktueller Gesundheitstrend findet diese Form der Stressbewältigung ihren Weg immer öfter auch in betriebliche Gesundheitsprogramme, z. B. mit Trainingsangeboten zu Yoga, Meditation oder Qigong. Der iga.Report 45 zeigt, welche Wirkungen verschiedene Formen von Achtsamkeitstrainings im Arbeitskontext haben können. Doch die Analyse der Wirksamkeit ist komplex: Zum einen existieren verschiedene Definitionen für Konzepte der Achtsamkeit, zum anderen sind in der Literatur viele Outcomes durch überwiegend subjektive Einschätzungen der Teilnehmenden geprägt. Die umfangreiche Literaturrecherche brachte 105 relevante und methodisch hochwertig angelegte Studien hervor, die einer Wirksamkeitsanalyse für 7 Outcome-Kategorien unterzogen wurden (siehe Evidence Gap Map). Die Analyse ergab zum Beispiel, dass nahezu alle Programme eine deutliche Wirksamkeit in Bezug auf Aspekte der psychischen Gesundheit zeigten. Vor allem das Stresserleben wurde durch die Achtsamkeitstrainings stark gesenkt. Mittlere bis starke Wirkungen stellten sich aber auch auf zahlreiche weitere Parameter heraus. Interviews mit Expertinnen und Experten für Achtsamkeit ergänzen die Analyse um Anregungen für die betriebliche Umsetzung.
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Purpose This study aims to examine the relationship between employees’ mindfulness and pro-environmental behaviour, along with the mediating role of self-transcendent values, at the workplace. Design/methodology/approach The study uses online data collected from 381 respondents employed in different industries across India. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to check the construct’s validity and reliability and Pearson correlation was used to examine the relationship between the variables. Moreover, the PROCESS macro of Hayes (2017) was used to examine the mediation. Findings Employees’ mindfulness was found to be positively associated with voluntary pro-environmental behaviour at the workplace, and the mediation analysis specifies that a self-transcendent value partially mediates this relationship. Research limitations/implications This study tested and extends the S-ART model and Schwartz value theory in the context of employees’ pro-environment behaviours at the workplace. Practical implications The results could be encouraging and helpful for top management and organizational change champions in strategizing and effective implementation of mindfulness programmes that would encourage and enhance employees’ voluntary participation in environment-friendly activities at their workplace. Originality/value Despite the decisive role of employees in organisations’ environmental sustainability programmes’ success, the availability of scant literature has led researchers to call for more studies. The present study is timely and could be the first to examine the role of employees’ mindfulness and self-transcendent values in influencing employees’ engagement in environmental-friendly behaviours at the workplace.
Research Proposal
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In the process of raising their children, many parents have come to realize that their children are unusually naughty. More and more parents are seeking help from professional institutions to identify the growth and educational problems caused by developmental differences in young children. The diagnosis of ADHD has a significant upward trend. This paper is a literature review, through the analysis of experimental research reports at home and abroad, aiming at preschool children, put forward several effective strategies to improve attention distraction and hyperactivity in advance: mindfulness, sports intervention practice and painting training. Mindfulness, painting and sports all focus on self-sensory training, aiming at the higher sensory needs (Berro,Tufik,&Andersen,2015) of ADHD children, and dissolve the sense of boredom and the desire for novel things. Training ADHD children's facial features is a way to make every moment of their life interesting and fresh-even ordinary activities can make children feel new and interesting (Zylowska & Siegel.2012).
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Background Mindfulness Based Interventions (MBIs) for weight loss and overeating-related behaviours have recently gained popularity. Previous systematic reviews and meta-analyses included studies of variable quality, which hinders interpretation of results. This meta-analysis examined only randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing the efficacy of MBIs with control groups primarily encouraging either dietary or exercise-based behavioural change in individuals with overweight/obesity and/or binge eating disorder (BED). Methods Using PRISMA guidelines, we systematically reviewed relevant articles in Medline, Psychinfo and EMBASE. Twelve eligible RCTs were identified, with three random-effects meta-analyses conducted on primary outcome measures of body mass (N = 11), mindfulness (N = 7) and BED symptoms (N = 3). Results MBIs were more efficacious than control in increasing mindfulness scores and decreasing BED symptoms from pre-to post-treatment. However, they were no more efficacious than control in reducing body mass which may be attributed to variability in the duration of interventions. Based on intervention duration, exploratory cumulative meta-analyses revealed that while shorter interventions (i.e., 6 weeks) showed greater reductions in body mass compared to longer interventions (i.e., 24 weeks), longer interventions led to greater improvements in mindfulness scores and BED symptoms. Conclusions These results highlight the potential of MBIs to improve obesity-related behaviours compared to lifestyle interventions, but their effects on short-term weight loss remain unclear. Future research with a rigorous methodology should consider long-term follow-ups including body mass and mindfulness-related outcome measures in order to establish the clinical potential of MBIs.
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Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have entered mainstream Western culture in the past four decades. There are now dozens of MBIs with varying degrees of empirical support and a variety of mindfulness-specific psychological mechanisms have been proposed to account for the beneficial effects of MBIs. Although it has long been acknowledged that non-specific or common factors might contribute to MBI efficacy, relatively little empirical work has directly investigated these aspects. In this Perspective, I suggest that situating MBIs within the broader psychotherapy research literature and emphasizing the commonalities of rather than the differences between MBIs and other treatments might help to guide future MBI research. To that end, I summarize the evidence for MBI efficacy and several MBI-specific psychological mechanisms, contextualize MBI findings within the broader psychotherapy literature from a common factors perspective, and propose suggestions for future research based on innovations and challenges occurring within psychotherapy research. A variety of mindfulness-specific psychological mechanisms have been proposed to account for the beneficial effects of mindfulness-based interventions. In this Perspective, Goldberg argues that emphasizing the commonalities rather than differences between mindfulness-based interventions and other treatments might help to guide future research.
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Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is an established program shown to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. MBSR is believed to alter emotional responding by modifying cognitive-affective processes. Given that social anxiety disorder (SAD) is characterized by emotional and attentional biases as well as distorted negative self-beliefs, we examined MBSR-related changes in the brain-behavior indices of emotional reactivity and regulation of negative self-beliefs in patients with SAD. Sixteen patients underwent functional MRI while reacting to negative self-beliefs and while regulating negative emotions using 2 types of attention deployment emotion regulation-breath-focused attention and distraction-focused attention. Post-MBSR, 14 patients completed neuroimaging assessments. Compared with baseline, MBSR completers showed improvement in anxiety and depression symptoms and self-esteem. During the breath-focused attention task (but not the distraction-focused attention task), they also showed (a) decreased negative emotion experience, (b) reduced amygdala activity, and (c) increased activity in brain regions implicated in attentional deployment. MBSR training in patients with SAD may reduce emotional reactivity while enhancing emotion regulation. These changes might facilitate reduction in SAD-related avoidance behaviors, clinical symptoms, and automatic emotional reactivity to negative self-beliefs in adults with SAD.
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Despite encouraging preliminary findings regarding the efficacy of mindfulness and acceptance-based treatments for a range of psychological presentations, we have yet to elucidate mechanisms of action within these treatments. One mechanism through which mindfulness may reduce psychological symptoms and promote functioning is enhancing emotional responding and regulation. In this study, we used multimodal assessment to examine the effects of a brief mindfulness intervention in a laboratory setting on emotional experiences and regulation in response to distressing, positive, and affectively mixed film clips. Although there were no condition (mindfulness vs. control) effects on reports of emotional response or difficulties in regulation after the distressing film clip, participants in the mindfulness condition reported significantly greater positive affect in response to the positive film. Additionally, participants in the mindfulness condition reported more adaptive regulation (approaching significance, medium to large effect size) in response to the affectively mixed clip and significantly less negative affect immediately after this clip, although not after a recovery period. No significant differences emerged between conditions on physiological measures (skin conductance and heart rate) throughout the study.
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Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience that can be regulated by many different cognitive mechanisms. We compared the regulatory qualities of two different meditation practices during noxious thermal stimuli: Focused Attention, directed at a fixation cross away from the stimulation, which could regulate negative affect through a sensory gating mechanism; and Open Monitoring, which could regulate negative affect through a mechanism of nonjudgmental, nonreactive awareness of sensory experience. Here, we report behavioral data from a comparison between novice and long-term meditation practitioners (long-term meditators, LTMs) using these techniques. LTMs, compared to novices, had a significant reduction of self-reported unpleasantness, but not intensity, of painful stimuli while practicing Open Monitoring. No significant effects were found for FA. This finding illuminates the possible regulatory mechanism of meditation-based clinical interventions like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Implications are discussed in the broader context of training-induced changes in trait emotion regulation.
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We investigated the impact of mindfulness training (MT) on working memory capacity (WMC) and affective experience. WMC is used in managing cognitive demands and regulating emotions. Yet, persistent and intensive demands, such as those experienced during high-stress intervals, may deplete WMC and lead to cognitive failures and emotional disturbances. We hypothesized that MT may mitigate these deleterious effects by bolstering WMC. We recruited 2 military cohorts during the high-stress predeployment interval and provided MT to 1 (MT, n = 31) but not the other group (military control group, MC, n = 17). The MT group attended an 8-week MT course and logged the amount of out-of-class time spent practicing formal MT exercises. The operation span task was used to index WMC at 2 testing sessions before and after the MT course. Although WMC remained stable over time in civilians (n = 12), it degraded in the MC group. In the MT group, WMC decreased over time in those with low MT practice time, but increased in those with high practice time. Higher MT practice time also corresponded to lower levels of negative affect and higher levels of positive affect (indexed by the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule). The relationship between practice time and negative, but not positive, affect was mediated by WMC, indicating that MT-related improvements in WMC may support some but not all of MT's salutary effects. Nonetheless, these findings suggest that sufficient MT practice may protect against functional impairments associated with high-stress contexts.
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Zen meditation has been associated with low sensitivity on both the affective and the sensory dimensions of pain. Given reports of gray matter differences in meditators as well as between chronic pain patients and controls, the present study investigated whether differences in brain morphometry are associated with the low pain sensitivity observed in Zen practitioners. Structural MRI scans were performed and the temperature required to produce moderate pain was assessed in 17 meditators and 18 controls. Meditators had significantly lower pain sensitivity than controls. Assessed across all subjects, lower pain sensitivity was associated with thicker cortex in affective, pain-related brain regions including the anterior cingulate cortex, bilateral parahippocampal gyrus and anterior insula. Comparing groups, meditators were found to have thicker cortex in the dorsal anterior cingulate and bilaterally in secondary somatosensory cortex. More years of meditation experience was associated with thicker gray matter in the anterior cingulate, and hours of experience predicted more gray matter bilaterally in the lower leg area of the primary somatosensory cortex as well as the hand area in the right hemisphere. Results generally suggest that pain sensitivity is related to cortical thickness in pain-related brain regions and that the lower sensitivity observed in meditators may be the product of alterations to brain morphometry from long-term practice.
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The authors examined the effects of mindfulness training on 2 aspects of mode of processing in depressed participants: degree of meta-awareness and specificity of memory. Each of these has been suggested as a maladaptive aspect of a mode of processing linked to persistence and recurrence of symptoms. Twenty-seven depressed participants, all of whom had experienced suicidal crises, described warning signs for their last crisis. These descriptions were blind-rated independently for meta-awareness and specificity. Participants were then randomly allocated to receive mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) plus treatment as usual (TAU) or TAU alone, and retested after 3 months. Results showed that, although comparable at baseline, patients randomized to MBCT displayed significant posttreatment differences in meta-awareness and specificity compared with TAU patients. These results suggest that mindfulness training may enable patients to reflect on memories of previous crises in a detailed and decentered way, allowing them to relate to such experiences in a way that is likely to be helpful in preventing future relapses.
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Recovery from emotional challenge and increased tolerance of negative affect are both hallmarks of mental health. Mindfulness training (MT) has been shown to facilitate these outcomes, yet little is known about its mechanisms of action. The present study employed functional MRI (fMRI) to compare neural reactivity to sadness provocation in participants completing 8 weeks of MT and waitlisted controls. Sadness resulted in widespread recruitment of regions associated with self-referential processes along the cortical midline. Despite equivalent self-reported sadness, MT participants demonstrated a distinct neural response, with greater right-lateralized recruitment, including visceral and somatosensory areas associated with body sensation. The greater somatic recruitment observed in the MT group during evoked sadness was associated with decreased depression scores. Restoring balance between affective and sensory neural networks-supporting conceptual and body based representations of emotion-could be one path through which mindfulness reduces vulnerability to dysphoric reactivity.
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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 (shape-matching); and (b) reactivity: neural reactivity during viewing of negative emotional faces, relative to the same shape-matching task. Dispositional mindfulness was negatively correlated with resting activity in self-referential processing areas, whereas depressive symptomatology was positively correlated with resting activity in similar areas. In addition, dispositional mindfulness was negatively correlated with resting activity in the amygdala, bilaterally, whereas depressive symptomatology was positively correlated with activity in the right amygdala. Similarly, when viewing emotional faces, amygdala reactivity was positively correlated with depressive symptomatology and negatively correlated with dispositional mindfulness, an effect that was largely attributable to differences in resting activity. These findings indicate that mindfulness is associated with intrinsic neural activity and that changes in resting amygdala activity could be a potential mechanism by which mindfulness-based depression treatments elicit therapeutic improvement.
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Although mind wandering occupies a large proportion of our waking life, its neural basis and relation to ongoing behavior remain controversial. We report an fMRI study that used experience sampling to provide an online measure of mind wandering during a concurrent task. Analyses focused on the interval of time immediately preceding experience sampling probes demonstrate activation of default network regions during mind wandering, a finding consistent with theoretical accounts of default network functions. Activation in medial prefrontal default network regions was observed both in association with subjective self-reports of mind wandering and an independent behavioral measure (performance errors on the concurrent task). In addition to default network activation, mind wandering was associated with executive network recruitment, a finding predicted by behavioral theories of off-task thought and its relation to executive resources. Finally, neural recruitment in both default and executive network regions was strongest when subjects were unaware of their own mind wandering, suggesting that mind wandering is most pronounced when it lacks meta-awareness. The observed parallel recruitment of executive and default network regions--two brain systems that so far have been assumed to work in opposition--suggests that mind wandering may evoke a unique mental state that may allow otherwise opposing networks to work in cooperation. The ability of this study to reveal a number of crucial aspects of the neural recruitment associated with mind wandering underscores the value of combining subjective self-reports with online measures of brain function for advancing our understanding of the neurophenomenology of subjective experience.
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Every day, individuals make dozens of choices between an alternative with higher overall value and a more tempting but ultimately inferior option. Optimal decision-making requires self-control. We propose two hypotheses about the neurobiology of self-control: (i) Goal-directed decisions have their basis in a common value signal encoded in ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), and (ii) exercising self-control involves the modulation of this value signal by dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to monitor brain activity while dieters engaged in real decisions about food consumption. Activity in vmPFC was correlated with goal values regardless of the amount of self-control. It incorporated both taste and health in self-controllers but only taste in non-self-controllers. Activity in DLPFC increased when subjects exercised self-control and correlated with activity in vmPFC.
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Placebo treatments in psychotherapy cannot adequately control for all common factors, which thereby attenuates their effects vis-a-vis active treatments. In this study, the authors used meta-analytic procedures to test one possible factor contributing to the attenuation of effects: structural inequalities between placebo and active treatments. Structural aspects of the placebo included number and duration of sessions, training of therapist, format of therapy, and restriction of topics. Results indicate that comparisons between active treatments and structurally inequivalent placebos produced larger effects than comparisons between active treatments and structurally equivalent placebos: moreover, the latter comparison produced negligible effects, indicating that active treatments were not demonstrably superior to well-designed placebos.
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The capacity to control emotion is important for human adaptation. Questions about the neural bases of emotion regulation have recently taken on new importance, as functional imaging studies in humans have permitted direct investigation of control strategies that draw upon higher cognitive processes difficult to study in nonhumans. Such studies have examined (1) controlling attention to, and (2) cognitively changing the meaning of, emotionally evocative stimuli. These two forms of emotion regulation depend upon interactions between prefrontal and cingulate control systems and cortical and subcortical emotion-generative systems. Taken together, the results suggest a functional architecture for the cognitive control of emotion that dovetails with findings from other human and nonhuman research on emotion.
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Among younger adults, the ability to willfully regulate negative affect, enabling effective responses to stressful experiences, engages regions of prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the amygdala. Because regions of PFC and the amygdala are known to influence the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, here we test whether PFC and amygdala responses during emotion regulation predict the diurnal pattern of salivary cortisol secretion. We also test whether PFC and amygdala regions are engaged during emotion regulation in older (62- to 64-year-old) rather than younger individuals. We measured brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging as participants regulated (increased or decreased) their affective responses or attended to negative picture stimuli. We also collected saliva samples for 1 week at home for cortisol assay. Consistent with previous work in younger samples, increasing negative affect resulted in ventral lateral, dorsolateral, and dorsomedial regions of PFC and amygdala activation. In contrast to previous work, decreasing negative affect did not produce the predicted robust pattern of higher PFC and lower amygdala activation. Individuals demonstrating the predicted effect (decrease < attend in the amygdala), however, exhibited higher signal in ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) for the same contrast. Furthermore, participants displaying higher VMPFC and lower amygdala signal when decreasing compared with the attention control condition evidenced steeper, more normative declines in cortisol over the course of the day. Individual differences yielded the predicted link between brain function while reducing negative affect in the laboratory and diurnal regulation of endocrine activity in the home environment.
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This article reviews the hypothesis that mind wandering can be integrated into executive models of attention. Evidence suggests that mind wandering shares many similarities with traditional notions of executive control. When mind wandering occurs, the executive components of attention appear to shift away from the primary task, leading to failures in task performance and superficial representations of the external environment. One challenge for incorporating mind wandering into standard executive models is that it often occurs in the absence of explicit intention--a hallmark of controlled processing. However, mind wandering, like other goal-related processes, can be engaged without explicit awareness; thus, mind wandering can be seen as a goal-driven process, albeit one that is not directed toward the primary task.
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Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) proposes a systematic program for reduction of suffering associated with a wide range of medical conditions. Studies suggest improvements in general aspects of well-being, including quality of life (QoL), coping and positive affect, as well as decreased anxiety and depression. A quasi-experimental study examined effects of an 8-week MBSR intervention among 58 female patients with fibromyalgia (mean, 52 +/- 8 years) who underwent MBSR or an active social support procedure. Participants were assigned to groups by date of entry, and 6 subjects dropped out during the study. Self-report measures were validated German inventories and included the following scales: visual analog pain, pain perception, coping with pain, a symptom checklist and QoL. Pre- and postintervention measurements were made. Additionally, a 3-year follow-up was carried out on a subgroup of 26 participants. Pre- to postintervention analyses indicated MBSR to provide significantly greater benefits than the control intervention on most dimensions, including visual analog pain, QoL subscales, coping with pain, anxiety, depression and somatic complaints (Cohen d effect size, 0.40-1.10). Three-year follow-up analyses of MBSR participants indicated sustained benefits for these same measures (effect size, 0.50-0.65). Based upon a quasi-randomized trial and long-term observational follow-up, results indicate mindfulness intervention to be of potential long-term benefit for female fibromyalgia patients.
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Converging evidence from neuroscience suggests that our attention to the outside world waxes and wanes over time. We examined whether these periods of "mind wandering" are associated with reduced cortical analysis of the external environment. Participants performed a sustained attention to response task in which they responded to frequent "nontargets" (digits 0-9) and withheld responses for infrequent "targets" (the letter X). Mind wandering was defined both behaviorally, indicated by a failure to withhold a response to a target, and subjectively, via self-report at a thought probe. The P300 event-related potential component for nontargets was reduced prior to both the behavioral and subjective reports of mind wandering, relative to periods of being "on-task." Regression analysis of P300 amplitude revealed significant common variance between behavioral and subjective markers of mind wandering, suggesting that both markers reflect a common underlying mental state. Finally, control analysis revealed that the effect of mind wandering on the P300 could not be ascribed to changes in motor activity nor was it associated with general arousal. Our data suggest that when trying to engage attention in a sustained manner, the mind will naturally ebb and flow in the depth of cognitive analysis it applies to events in the external environment.
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The overall goal of this chapter is to explore the initial findings of neuroscientific research on meditation; in doing so, the chapter also suggests potential avenues of further inquiry. It has three sections that, although integral to the chapter as a whole, may also be read independently. The first sec-tion, "Defining Meditation," notes the need for a more precise understanding of med-itation as a scientific explanandum. Argu-ing for the importance of distinguishing the particularities of various traditions, the sec-tion presents the theory of meditation from the paradigmatic perspective of Buddhism, and it discusses the difficulties encountered when working with such theories. The sec-tion includes an overview of three prac-tices that have been the subject of research, and it ends with a strategy for developing a questionnaire to define more precisely a practice under examination. The second sec-tion, "The Intersection of Neuroscience and Meditation," explores some scientific moti-vations for the neuroscientific examination of meditation in terms of its potential impact on the brain and body of long-term prac-titioners. After an overview of the mecha-nisms of mind-body interaction, this section addresses the use of first-person expertise, especially in relation to the potential for research on the neural counterpart of sub-jective experience. In general terms, the sec-tion thus points to the possible contributions of research on meditation to the neuro-science of consciousness. The final section, "Neuroelectric and Neuroimaging Correla-tes of Meditation," reviews the most relevant neuroelectric and neuroimaging findings of research conducted to date, including some preliminary correlates of the previously dis-cussed Buddhist practices.
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Mindfulness is an attribute of consciousness long believed to promote well-being. This research provides a theoretical and empirical examination of the role of mindfulness in psychological well-being. The development and psychometric properties of the dispositional Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) are described. Correlational, quasi-experimental, and laboratory studies then show that the MAAS measures a unique quality of consciousness that is related to a variety of well-being constructs, that differentiates mindfulness practitioners from others, and that is associated with enhanced self-awareness. An experience-sampling study shows that both dispositional and state mindfulness predict self-regulated behavior and positive emotional states. Finally, a clinical intervention study with cancer patients demonstrates that increases in mindfulness over time relate to declines in mood disturbance and stress.
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Recent theoretical accounts of emotion regulation assign an important role in this process to the prefrontal cortex, yet there is little relevant data available to support this hypothesis. The current study assessed the relation between individual differences in asymmetric prefrontal activation and an objective measure of uninstructed emotion regulation. Forty-seven participants 57 to 60 years old viewed emotionally arousing and neutral visual stimuli while eyeblink startle data were collected. Startle probes were also presented after picture presentation to capture the persistence or attenuation of affect following the offset of an emotional stimulus. Subjects with greater relative left-sided anterior activation in scalp-recorded brain electrical signals displayed attenuated startle magnitude after the offset of negative stimuli. This relation between resting frontal activation and recovery following an aversive event supports the idea of a frontally mediated mechanism involved in one form of automatic emotion regulation.
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Meditation refers to a family of mental training practices that are designed to familiarize the practitioner with specific types of mental processes. One of the most basic forms of meditation is concentration meditation, in which sustained attention is focused on an object such as a small visual stimulus or the breath. In age-matched participants, using functional MRI, we found that activation in a network of brain regions typically involved in sustained attention showed an inverted u-shaped curve in which expert meditators (EMs) with an average of 19,000 h of practice had more activation than novices, but EMs with an average of 44,000 h had less activation. In response to distracter sounds used to probe the meditation, EMs vs. novices had less brain activation in regions related to discursive thoughts and emotions and more activation in regions related to response inhibition and attention. Correlation with hours of practice suggests possible plasticity in these mechanisms. • attention • frontal • parietal • response inhibition