A shift in perspective: ecentering through mindful attention to imagined stressful events

Lebois, L.A.M., Papies, E.K. , Gopinath, K., Cabanban, R., Quigley, K.S., Krishnamurthy, V., Barrett, L.F. and Barsalou, L. (2015) A shift in perspective: ecentering through mindful attention to imagined stressful events. Neuropsychologia, 75, pp. 505-524. (doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.05.030) (PMID:26111487)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.

Abstract

Ruminative thoughts about a stressful event can seem subjectively real, as if the imagined event were happening in the moment. One possibility is that this subjective realism results from simulating the self as engaged in the stressful event (immersion). If so, then the process of decentering—disengaging the self from the event—should reduce the subjective realism associated with immersion, and therefore perceived stressfulness. To assess this account of decentering, we taught non-meditators a strategy for disengaging from imagined events, simply viewing these events as transient mental states (mindful attention). In a subsequent neuroimaging session, participants imagined stressful and non-stressful events, while either immersing themselves or adopting mindful attention. In conjunction analyses, mindful attention down-regulated the processing of stressful events relative to baseline, whereas immersion up-regulated their processing. In direct contrasts between mindful attention and immersion, mindful attention showed greater activity in brain areas associated with perspective shifting and effortful attention, whereas immersion showed greater activity in areas associated with self-processing and visceral states. These results suggest that mindful attention produces decentering by disengaging embodied senses of self from imagined situations so that affect does not develop.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Papies, Dr Esther and Barsalou, Professor Lawrence
Authors: Lebois, L.A.M., Papies, E.K., Gopinath, K., Cabanban, R., Quigley, K.S., Krishnamurthy, V., Barrett, L.F., and Barsalou, L.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:Neuropsychologia
Publisher:Elsevier Ltd.
ISSN:0028-3932
ISSN (Online):1873-3514

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record