The Effect of Mindfulness on the Use of Situation Selection
Abstract: People choose situations based on emotional potential of those situations, but there is considerable variability in this pattern across people and studies. Mindfulness may be one of the factors explaining this variability, since evidence suggests it may promote people's choice of negative situations. We conducted two studies for which the goal was to assess whether mindfulness impacts th... read moree use of situation selection strategies, both in everyday life and in a laboratory setting. In Study 1, we assessed the relationship between self-reported trait-mindfulness and the use of situation selection in everyday life, as measured on three consecutive days for 140 participants who completed the study online on Turk Prime. In Study 2, we examined the impact of a brief in-lab focused breathing (analogue of mindfulness) induction on people's choice of emotional situations on a subsequent picture task in a sample of 132 Tufts university students and community members. Hypothesis, design, and analysis plan for both studies were preregistered on the Open Science Framework (OSF) platform, where materials and data are also available. Study 1 results revealed that higher trait-mindfulness relates to decreased likelihood of avoiding negative situations and an increased likelihood of approaching positive situations; Study 2 did not find a significant effect of a brief mindfulness induction on situation selection, likely because the manipulation failed to induce mindfulness. Overall, this work is important not only to better understand the processes of mindfulness and situation selection, but also because these two processes are closely linked to our mental and physical well-being.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2018.
Submitted to the Dept. of Psychology.
Advisor: Heather Urry.
Committee: Lisa Shin, Elizabeth Race, and Sarah Hayes-Skelton.
Keyword: Experimental psychology.read less