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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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Physiological results.Skin conductance analyses confirmed a baseline difference between meditators and controls in terms of reduced physiological reactivity.
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pone.0116541.g003: Physiological results.Skin conductance analyses confirmed a baseline difference between meditators and controls in terms of reduced physiological reactivity.

Mentions: C) Physiological Results. Two subjects were excluded from the analyses because of technical problems during the recording of the data. To analyze the galvanic response, we selected a time window of interest from 1 to 5 seconds from the onset of the stimulus to be regulated (interpersonal situation). Independent sample t-tests showed that the two groups differed in the looking condition (t(49) = 2.217, p<0.05) and showed a trend during the implementation of the other two strategies (mentalizing, t(40) = 1.983, p = 0.054; mindful detachment t(40) = 1.791 p = 0.081)), see Fig. 3).


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)

Physiological results.Skin conductance analyses confirmed a baseline difference between meditators and controls in terms of reduced physiological reactivity.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone.0116541.g003: Physiological results.Skin conductance analyses confirmed a baseline difference between meditators and controls in terms of reduced physiological reactivity.
Mentions: C) Physiological Results. Two subjects were excluded from the analyses because of technical problems during the recording of the data. To analyze the galvanic response, we selected a time window of interest from 1 to 5 seconds from the onset of the stimulus to be regulated (interpersonal situation). Independent sample t-tests showed that the two groups differed in the looking condition (t(49) = 2.217, p<0.05) and showed a trend during the implementation of the other two strategies (mentalizing, t(40) = 1.983, p = 0.054; mindful detachment t(40) = 1.791 p = 0.081)), see Fig. 3).

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