Mindful attention prevents mindless impulses

Papies, E.K. , Barsalou, L.W. and Custers, R. (2012) Mindful attention prevents mindless impulses. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3(3), pp. 291-299. (doi:10.1177/1948550611419031)

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Abstract

Three studies illustrate that mindful attention prevents impulses toward attractive food. Participants received a brief mindfulness procedure in which they observed their reactions to external stimuli as transient mental events rather than subjectively real experiences. Participants then applied this procedure to viewing pictures of highly attractive and neutral food items. Finally, reactions to food stimuli were assessed with an implicit approach-avoidance task. Across experiments, spontaneous approach reactions elicited by attractive food were fully eliminated in the mindful attention condition compared to the control condition, in which participants viewed the same items without mindful attention. These effects were maintained over a 5-minute distraction period. Our findings suggest that mindful attention to one’s own mental experiences helps to control impulsive responses and thus suggest mindfulness as a potentially powerful method for facilitating self-regulation.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Papies, Dr Esther and Barsalou, Professor Lawrence
Authors: Papies, E.K., Barsalou, L.W., and Custers, R.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:Social Psychological and Personality Science
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN:1948-5506
ISSN (Online):1948-5514

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