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Baseline and strategic effects behind mindful emotion regulation: behavioral and physiological investigation.

Grecucci A, De Pisapia N, Kusalagnana Thero D, Paladino MP, Venuti P, Job R - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: To address these questions, we tested, in two experiments, the ability of mindfulness meditators to regulate interpersonal emotions (Experiment 1) and interactive behaviors (Experiment 2) as compared to naïve controls.In Experiment 2, one visible effect of the strategy was that meditators outperformed controls in the experiential (mindful detachment) but not in the cognitive (mentalize) strategy, showing stronger modulation of their interactive behavior (less punishments) and providing evidence of a strategic behavioral regulation.Based on these results, we suggest that mindfulness can influence interpersonal emotional reactions through an experiential mechanism, both at a baseline level and a strategic level, thereby altering the subjective and physiological perception of emotions, but also biasing interactive social behavior.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology and Cognitive Sciences, University of Trento, Rovereto, TN, Italy.

ABSTRACT
One of the consequences of extensive mindfulness practice is a reduction of anxiety and depression, but also a capacity to regulate negative emotions. In this study, we explored four key questions concerning mindfulness training: (1) What are the processes by which mindfulness regulates our emotions? (2) Can mindfulness be applied to social emotions? (3) Does mindfulness training affect emotionally driven behavior towards others? (4) Does mindfulness alter physiological reactivity? To address these questions, we tested, in two experiments, the ability of mindfulness meditators to regulate interpersonal emotions (Experiment 1) and interactive behaviors (Experiment 2) as compared to naïve controls. To better understand the mechanisms by which mindfulness regulates emotions, we asked participants to apply two strategies: a cognitive strategy (mentalizing, a form of reappraisal focused on the intentions of others) and an experiential strategy derived from mindfulness principles (mindful detachment). Both groups were able to regulate interpersonal emotions by means of cognitive (mentalizing) and experiential (mindful detachment) strategies. In Experiment 1, a simple effect of meditation, independent from the implementation of the strategies, resulted in reduced emotional and physiological reactivity, as well as in increased pleasantness for meditators when compared to controls, providing evidence of baseline regulation. In Experiment 2, one visible effect of the strategy was that meditators outperformed controls in the experiential (mindful detachment) but not in the cognitive (mentalize) strategy, showing stronger modulation of their interactive behavior (less punishments) and providing evidence of a strategic behavioral regulation. Based on these results, we suggest that mindfulness can influence interpersonal emotional reactions through an experiential mechanism, both at a baseline level and a strategic level, thereby altering the subjective and physiological perception of emotions, but also biasing interactive social behavior.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Results from Experiment 1.Both groups were able to regulate their emotions in terms of arousal (Panel A) and valence (Panel B). Collapsing for offers and strategies, meditators showed a lesser emotional reactivity (lower arousal, Panel C, left) and more pleasant emotions (higher valence, Panel C, right).
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pone.0116541.g002: Results from Experiment 1.Both groups were able to regulate their emotions in terms of arousal (Panel A) and valence (Panel B). Collapsing for offers and strategies, meditators showed a lesser emotional reactivity (lower arousal, Panel C, left) and more pleasant emotions (higher valence, Panel C, right).

Mentions: For the arousal ratings, a significant main effect of strategy (F(2,84) = 27.587, p<0.0001) and offer amount (F(4,168) = 6.541, p<0.0001) were obtained, as well as a significant strategy by group interaction (F(2,84) = 6.428, p<0.005). However, the offer by group interaction and the offer by strategy interaction were not significant (respectively, F(4,168) = 0.208, p = 0.934), F(8,168) = 0.936, p = 0.487) and neither was the triple interaction (F(8,336) = 0.876, p = 0.537). See Fig. 2A and Table 1. To explore the strategy by group interaction, we collapsed the offers and computed post hoc analyses corrected for multiple comparisons. However, statistics failed to reach a significant threshold corrected for multiple comparisons (all p>0.003). To test for the hypothesis that the two groups may have overall differences in experienced emotional strength, independently of the strategy used, we performed an independent t-test with the mean of ratings across all the conditions (offers and strategies) and found that meditators reacted less strongly (a lower arousal) when compared to controls (t(42) = -0.512, p<0.05). See Fig. 2C, left panel.


Baseline and strategic effects behind mindful emotion regulation: behavioral and physiological investigation.

Grecucci A, De Pisapia N, Kusalagnana Thero D, Paladino MP, Venuti P, Job R - PLoS ONE (2015)

Results from Experiment 1.Both groups were able to regulate their emotions in terms of arousal (Panel A) and valence (Panel B). Collapsing for offers and strategies, meditators showed a lesser emotional reactivity (lower arousal, Panel C, left) and more pleasant emotions (higher valence, Panel C, right).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4295876&req=5

pone.0116541.g002: Results from Experiment 1.Both groups were able to regulate their emotions in terms of arousal (Panel A) and valence (Panel B). Collapsing for offers and strategies, meditators showed a lesser emotional reactivity (lower arousal, Panel C, left) and more pleasant emotions (higher valence, Panel C, right).
Mentions: For the arousal ratings, a significant main effect of strategy (F(2,84) = 27.587, p<0.0001) and offer amount (F(4,168) = 6.541, p<0.0001) were obtained, as well as a significant strategy by group interaction (F(2,84) = 6.428, p<0.005). However, the offer by group interaction and the offer by strategy interaction were not significant (respectively, F(4,168) = 0.208, p = 0.934), F(8,168) = 0.936, p = 0.487) and neither was the triple interaction (F(8,336) = 0.876, p = 0.537). See Fig. 2A and Table 1. To explore the strategy by group interaction, we collapsed the offers and computed post hoc analyses corrected for multiple comparisons. However, statistics failed to reach a significant threshold corrected for multiple comparisons (all p>0.003). To test for the hypothesis that the two groups may have overall differences in experienced emotional strength, independently of the strategy used, we performed an independent t-test with the mean of ratings across all the conditions (offers and strategies) and found that meditators reacted less strongly (a lower arousal) when compared to controls (t(42) = -0.512, p<0.05). See Fig. 2C, left panel.

Bottom Line: To address these questions, we tested, in two experiments, the ability of mindfulness meditators to regulate interpersonal emotions (Experiment 1) and interactive behaviors (Experiment 2) as compared to naïve controls.In Experiment 2, one visible effect of the strategy was that meditators outperformed controls in the experiential (mindful detachment) but not in the cognitive (mentalize) strategy, showing stronger modulation of their interactive behavior (less punishments) and providing evidence of a strategic behavioral regulation.Based on these results, we suggest that mindfulness can influence interpersonal emotional reactions through an experiential mechanism, both at a baseline level and a strategic level, thereby altering the subjective and physiological perception of emotions, but also biasing interactive social behavior.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology and Cognitive Sciences, University of Trento, Rovereto, TN, Italy.

ABSTRACT
One of the consequences of extensive mindfulness practice is a reduction of anxiety and depression, but also a capacity to regulate negative emotions. In this study, we explored four key questions concerning mindfulness training: (1) What are the processes by which mindfulness regulates our emotions? (2) Can mindfulness be applied to social emotions? (3) Does mindfulness training affect emotionally driven behavior towards others? (4) Does mindfulness alter physiological reactivity? To address these questions, we tested, in two experiments, the ability of mindfulness meditators to regulate interpersonal emotions (Experiment 1) and interactive behaviors (Experiment 2) as compared to naïve controls. To better understand the mechanisms by which mindfulness regulates emotions, we asked participants to apply two strategies: a cognitive strategy (mentalizing, a form of reappraisal focused on the intentions of others) and an experiential strategy derived from mindfulness principles (mindful detachment). Both groups were able to regulate interpersonal emotions by means of cognitive (mentalizing) and experiential (mindful detachment) strategies. In Experiment 1, a simple effect of meditation, independent from the implementation of the strategies, resulted in reduced emotional and physiological reactivity, as well as in increased pleasantness for meditators when compared to controls, providing evidence of baseline regulation. In Experiment 2, one visible effect of the strategy was that meditators outperformed controls in the experiential (mindful detachment) but not in the cognitive (mentalize) strategy, showing stronger modulation of their interactive behavior (less punishments) and providing evidence of a strategic behavioral regulation. Based on these results, we suggest that mindfulness can influence interpersonal emotional reactions through an experiential mechanism, both at a baseline level and a strategic level, thereby altering the subjective and physiological perception of emotions, but also biasing interactive social behavior.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus