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2021 ◽  
Author(s):  
◽  
Johannes Karl

<p><b>Mindfulness, which was derived from Buddhist philosophy and practice, is often defined as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally“. The practice of secular mindfulness exercises has received substantial interest in psychology over the last decade and mindfulness-based practices are now widely implemented in clinical interventions. Previous research has identified stable individual differences in mindfulness which are present even in non-practitioners. My research builds on this body of work and explores (i) the current state and directions in the literature on trait mindfulness research; (ii) the relationship between trait mindfulness and established individual differences such as personality and reinforcement sensitivity; and (iii) the cross-cultural applicability of current mindfulness measures.</b></p> <p> In the first study in this thesis, I used recent developments in bibliometric analysis to examine the development of the field of trait mindfulness, identifying important research areas in this line of work and patterns of cross-national collaboration. I found 1229 documents in the time span from 2005 to 2021 using a search in the Web of Science. Examining the complete corpus of literature that referenced trait mindfulness, I found that current research approaches focus more on clinically relevant outcomes than on potential predictors of mindfulness, which manifested in substantial clusters of themes around well-being and treatment. I also found substantively more articles published by authors working in Western countries than in the majority world. This indicates that research appears to be biased both towards clinical outcomes of mindfulness and skewed towards Western cultural contexts and concerns.</p> <p>In my next study, I examined the replicability of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) to explore whether the same five major dimensions of mindfulness emerge in a different sample 15 years later. The FFMQ contains five facets: Non-Judging (non-evaluation of thoughts and feelings), Non-Reacting (ability to not act on negative thoughts and emotions), Acting with Awareness (awareness of self in the moment), Describing (labelling and expressing experiences), and Observing (awareness of sensory experiences). Following the overall protocol of the original study and using a range of currently available mindfulness measures, I found that the facets of the FFMQ could largely be retrieved in this conceptual replication. In addition, new measures of “Western” mindfulness were empirically separable from measures based in Buddhist conceptualizations. This supports the use of multi-facetted mindfulness measures to capture self-reported mindfulness.</p> <p> In the second part of my thesis, I focused on potential individual-level predictors of the facets of mindfulness. In Study 3, I joined two previously separated lines of research by jointly examining the relationship between mindfulness, reinforcement sensitivity, and personality. In contrast to previous studies, I found that the facets of mindfulness might be differentially related to supposed biological (reinforcement sensitivity) and cognitive (personality) individual differences while accounting for their overlap. Specifically, Neuroticism, which in past studies was related to Non-Judging and Non-Reacting, was only related to Non-Reacting. In turn, Non-Judging was predicted by behavioral inhibition, but Non-Reacting was not.</p> <p>In Study 4, I moved from cross-sectional analyses to a 4-month longitudinal investigation, using recent advances in modelling to separate within and between-individual relationships. In contrast to the cross-sectional investigation, I found a more complex pattern of relationships, including potential feedback loops between individual differences and mindfulness. Specifically, I found that the expression of supposed biological differences in long-term orientation predicted individuals’ level of awareness, but in turn higher awareness also predicted greater long-term orientation. This provides a tentative mechanistic explanation of the link between Acting with Awareness and health-behaviors identified in previous studies.</p> <p> In the third part of the thesis, I focus on the applicability of mindfulness measures across cultures. As indicated above, mindfulness emerged in Eastern contexts but is currently studied in Western societies. Hence, I test how well the FFMQ as the gold standard of mindfulness trait measures performs across cultures. To provide a toolkit for cross-cultural researchers, I present a synthesis of standards for cross-cultural comparisons and developed a proto-type of an R-package that implements various methodological advances and analytical tools. In the final study, I applied these tools to examine the suitability of the FFMQ for cross-cultural comparisons across 16 countries. Overall, I found that the FFMQ is substantially biased towards higher income and more individualistic contexts and shows substantial variation across cultures. This finding implies that the FFMQ might not be suitable in its current form for cross-cultural comparisons, possible due to cultural differences in the understanding of Acting with Awareness, which in an exploratory study is separated into awareness of mind and body. This indicates that additional research is necessary to ensure the cross-cultural comparability of mindfulness and to advance research.</p> <p> In my general discussion, I explore both methodological and conceptual avenues for future research in trait mindfulness. Returning to questions of individual differences in mindfulness, I highlight how recent advances in network modelling might allow researchers to untangle the differences in between and within-individual relationships observed in this thesis. I present some evidence of the application of network models from research on personality, to highlight the usefulness of this technique for future research on mindfulness. Focusing on cultural differences in structure and functionality, I review various lines of research that indicate that mindfulness-like features may be found in various cultural contexts, but may be differently experienced and expressed, as indicated by my psychometric examination of the FFMQ. I outline how researchers taking a functionalist approach might link current mindfulness approaches with different philosophical and cultural approaches to enrich the nomological network and present initial evidence on these relationships.</p>


2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Author(s):  
Derrick D. Brown ◽  
Guido Wijffels ◽  
Ruud G. J. Meulenbroek

The current study highlights individual differences in the joint articulation strategies used by novices practicing a hip-hop dance movement, the wave. Twelve young adults, all naive regarding hip-hop dance performance, practized the wave in 120 trials separated into four blocks with the order of internal or external attentional focus counterbalanced across subjects. Various kinematic analyses were analyzed to capture performance success while exploiting the observed individual differences in order to establish the reliability of the proposed performance indicators. An external focus of attention marginally facilitated the smooth transfer of a wave motion across neighboring limb segments as characterized by a constant propagation speed combined with large wave amplitudes. Systematic correlations between the success indicators were found, exemplifying the various degrees of joint articulation that novices prove capable of during an initial practicing session to try and perform a novel complex motor task.


2021 ◽  
Author(s):  
◽  
Johannes Karl

<p><b>Mindfulness, which was derived from Buddhist philosophy and practice, is often defined as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally“. The practice of secular mindfulness exercises has received substantial interest in psychology over the last decade and mindfulness-based practices are now widely implemented in clinical interventions. Previous research has identified stable individual differences in mindfulness which are present even in non-practitioners. My research builds on this body of work and explores (i) the current state and directions in the literature on trait mindfulness research; (ii) the relationship between trait mindfulness and established individual differences such as personality and reinforcement sensitivity; and (iii) the cross-cultural applicability of current mindfulness measures.</b></p> <p> In the first study in this thesis, I used recent developments in bibliometric analysis to examine the development of the field of trait mindfulness, identifying important research areas in this line of work and patterns of cross-national collaboration. I found 1229 documents in the time span from 2005 to 2021 using a search in the Web of Science. Examining the complete corpus of literature that referenced trait mindfulness, I found that current research approaches focus more on clinically relevant outcomes than on potential predictors of mindfulness, which manifested in substantial clusters of themes around well-being and treatment. I also found substantively more articles published by authors working in Western countries than in the majority world. This indicates that research appears to be biased both towards clinical outcomes of mindfulness and skewed towards Western cultural contexts and concerns.</p> <p>In my next study, I examined the replicability of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) to explore whether the same five major dimensions of mindfulness emerge in a different sample 15 years later. The FFMQ contains five facets: Non-Judging (non-evaluation of thoughts and feelings), Non-Reacting (ability to not act on negative thoughts and emotions), Acting with Awareness (awareness of self in the moment), Describing (labelling and expressing experiences), and Observing (awareness of sensory experiences). Following the overall protocol of the original study and using a range of currently available mindfulness measures, I found that the facets of the FFMQ could largely be retrieved in this conceptual replication. In addition, new measures of “Western” mindfulness were empirically separable from measures based in Buddhist conceptualizations. This supports the use of multi-facetted mindfulness measures to capture self-reported mindfulness.</p> <p> In the second part of my thesis, I focused on potential individual-level predictors of the facets of mindfulness. In Study 3, I joined two previously separated lines of research by jointly examining the relationship between mindfulness, reinforcement sensitivity, and personality. In contrast to previous studies, I found that the facets of mindfulness might be differentially related to supposed biological (reinforcement sensitivity) and cognitive (personality) individual differences while accounting for their overlap. Specifically, Neuroticism, which in past studies was related to Non-Judging and Non-Reacting, was only related to Non-Reacting. In turn, Non-Judging was predicted by behavioral inhibition, but Non-Reacting was not.</p> <p>In Study 4, I moved from cross-sectional analyses to a 4-month longitudinal investigation, using recent advances in modelling to separate within and between-individual relationships. In contrast to the cross-sectional investigation, I found a more complex pattern of relationships, including potential feedback loops between individual differences and mindfulness. Specifically, I found that the expression of supposed biological differences in long-term orientation predicted individuals’ level of awareness, but in turn higher awareness also predicted greater long-term orientation. This provides a tentative mechanistic explanation of the link between Acting with Awareness and health-behaviors identified in previous studies.</p> <p> In the third part of the thesis, I focus on the applicability of mindfulness measures across cultures. As indicated above, mindfulness emerged in Eastern contexts but is currently studied in Western societies. Hence, I test how well the FFMQ as the gold standard of mindfulness trait measures performs across cultures. To provide a toolkit for cross-cultural researchers, I present a synthesis of standards for cross-cultural comparisons and developed a proto-type of an R-package that implements various methodological advances and analytical tools. In the final study, I applied these tools to examine the suitability of the FFMQ for cross-cultural comparisons across 16 countries. Overall, I found that the FFMQ is substantially biased towards higher income and more individualistic contexts and shows substantial variation across cultures. This finding implies that the FFMQ might not be suitable in its current form for cross-cultural comparisons, possible due to cultural differences in the understanding of Acting with Awareness, which in an exploratory study is separated into awareness of mind and body. This indicates that additional research is necessary to ensure the cross-cultural comparability of mindfulness and to advance research.</p> <p> In my general discussion, I explore both methodological and conceptual avenues for future research in trait mindfulness. Returning to questions of individual differences in mindfulness, I highlight how recent advances in network modelling might allow researchers to untangle the differences in between and within-individual relationships observed in this thesis. I present some evidence of the application of network models from research on personality, to highlight the usefulness of this technique for future research on mindfulness. Focusing on cultural differences in structure and functionality, I review various lines of research that indicate that mindfulness-like features may be found in various cultural contexts, but may be differently experienced and expressed, as indicated by my psychometric examination of the FFMQ. I outline how researchers taking a functionalist approach might link current mindfulness approaches with different philosophical and cultural approaches to enrich the nomological network and present initial evidence on these relationships.</p>


2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Author(s):  
Irina Trofimova

Attempts to revise the existing classifications of psychiatric disorders (DSM and ICD) continue and highlight a crucial need for the identification of biomarkers underlying symptoms of psychopathology. The present review highlights the benefits of using a Functional Constructivism approach in the analysis of the functionality of the main neurotransmitters. This approach explores the idea that behavior is neither reactive nor pro-active, but constructive and generative, being a transient selection of multiple degrees of freedom in perception and actions. This review briefly describes main consensus points in neuroscience related to the functionality of eight neurochemical ensembles, summarized as a part of the neurochemical model Functional Ensemble of Temperament (FET). None of the FET components is represented by a single neurotransmitter; all neurochemical teams have specific functionality in selection of behavioral degrees of freedom and stages of action construction. The review demonstrates the possibility of unifying taxonomies of temperament and classifications of psychiatric disorders and presenting these taxonomies formally and systematically. The paper also highlights the multi-level nature of regulation of consistent bio-behavioral individual differences, in line with the concepts of diagonal evolution (proposed earlier) and Specialized Extended Phenotype.


2021 ◽  
Author(s):  
Emily Nakkawita ◽  
E. Tory Higgins

Does a focus on gains versus non-losses influence the kinds of activities people are motivated to use when pursuing their goals? This paper proposes that the prevention and promotion systems posited within regulatory focus theory motivate fundamentally different activities in the process of goal pursuit. We present a novel, integrative framework of regulatory focus-specific goal pursuit process activities and provide initial evidence testing this framework. First, across two studies involving activity sorting tasks, we predicted that participants would consistently categorize activities from the proposed framework as reflecting the hypothesized regulatory focus, and in making these categorization decisions, would sort regulatory focus-specific process activities from the proposed framework more quickly than more general goal pursuit process activities. Furthermore, in two follow-up studies probing activity accessibility, we hypothesized that motivationally relevant process activities (i.e., those reflecting individual differences in participants’ own regulatory focus) would be more accessible as measured by output primacy than process activities that were not motivationally relevant. Across these four studies, using both correlational and experimental methods, we found converging evidence in support of these predictions and our proposed framework. We suggest that this framework provides new insight into the motivational antecedents of distinct goal pursuit activities. Furthermore, it may be useful in generating new hypotheses about how best to motivate effective goal pursuit processes.


2021 ◽  
pp. 174569162110007
Author(s):  
Mark A. McDaniel ◽  
Elizabeth J. Marsh ◽  
Reshma Gouravajhala

In this article, we highlight an underappreciated individual difference: structure building. Structure building is integral to many everyday activities and involves creating coherent mental representations of conversations, texts, pictorial stories, and other events. People vary in this ability in a way not generally captured by other better known concepts and individual difference measures. Individuals with lower structure-building ability consistently perform worse on a range of comprehension and learning measures than do individuals with higher structure-building ability, both in the laboratory and in the classroom. Problems include a range of comprehension processes, including encoding factual content, inhibiting irrelevant information, and constructing a cohesive situation model of a text or conversation. Despite these problems, recent research is encouraging in that techniques to improve the learning outcomes for low-ability structure builders have been identified. We argue that the accumulated research warrants the recognition of structure building as an important individual difference in cognitive functioning and that additional theoretical work is needed to understand the underpinnings of structure-building deficits.


2021 ◽  
Vol 10 (21) ◽  
pp. 4912
Author(s):  
Sharell Bas ◽  
Mariëtte Kaandorp ◽  
Zoë P. M. de de Kleijn ◽  
Wendeline J. E. Braaksma ◽  
Anouke W. E. A. Bakx ◽  
...  

Sensory processing sensitivity (SPS) is a personality trait reflecting inter-individual differences in sensitivity to negative and positive environmental information. Being high in SPS is associated with increased stress-related problems if environments are unfavourable but also appears to enhance one’s ability to benefit from health-promoting environments. In understanding SPS, therefore, lies the potential for innovating the ways we use to promote mental health. However, as a young research field, the core characteristics of SPS are yet debated. Qualitative research interviewing highly sensitive adults is important to conduct ecologically valid research connected with the complex realities of people. This study was the first to systematically report the perceptions and experiences of SPS characteristics in adults high in this trait. Semi-structured interviews (n = 26) were analysed thematically and described following consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research. Six themes emerged: (1) emotional responding; (2) relatedness to others; (3) thinking; (4) overstimulation; (5) perceiving details; and (6) global SPS characteristics. With regards to coping with negative consequences of high SPS, the main themes were: (1) reducing sensory input and (2) psychological strategies. We gained fine-grained information on experiences of adults high in SPS and derived new hypotheses regarding the fostering of well-being related to high SPS.


2021 ◽  
Author(s):  
Johannes Alfons Karl ◽  
Ronald Fischer

Objectives We present a bibliometric review of research on trait mindfulness published from 2005 till 2021 to determine the current state of the field and identify research trajectories. Methods A search conducted on Jan 30, 2021 using the search terms “trait mindfulness” OR “dispositional mindfulness” in the Web of Science Core Collection identified 1,229 documents. Results Using keyword-based network analyses, the various clusters suggested two major approaches in the field, one focusing on cognitive attentional processes, and a second approach that encompasses a wider field of well-being and clinical research topics. We also increasing consolidation of research fields over time, with research on wider individual differences such as personality being subsumed into clinically and wellbeing-oriented research topics. More recently, a distinct theme focused on the validity of measurement of mindfulness emerged. In addition to general patterns in the field, we examined the global distribution of trait mindfulness research. Research output was substantially skewed towards North American-based researchers with less international collaborations. Chinese researchers nevertheless also produced research at significant rates. Comparing the difference in research topics between China and the US-based researchers we found substantial differences with US research emphasizing meditation and substance abuse issues, whereas researchers from China focused on methodological questions. Conclusions Overall, our review indicates that research on trait mindfulness might profit from conceptual and cultural realignment, with greater focus on individual differences research in other areas of psychology to complement the strong clinical and cognitive focus we well as also stronger cross-cultural and comparative studies.


Vaccines ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 9 (11) ◽  
pp. 1237
Author(s):  
Borja Paredes ◽  
Miguel Ángel Cárdaba ◽  
Ubaldo Cuesta ◽  
Luz Martinez

Individuals vary in the extent to which they have unfavorable attitudes towards vaccines. The Vaccination Attitudes Examination (VAX) Scale is a recently developed brief 12-item questionnaire created to better understand general vaccination attitudes. The current research aimed at providing a Spanish adaptation of the VAX Scale. After conducting an initial pilot study, Exploratory and Confirmatory Factor Analysis showed that the Spanish version of the scale had good internal consistency and factor structure (Study 1), discriminant validity from other individual differences measures (such as the Beliefs about Medicine Questionnaire and the Medical Mistrust Index) as well as good predictive validity of relevant vaccination-related outcomes (Study 2). In conclusion, in the present research, the Spanish version of the VAX scale proved to have a high internal consistency, showed convergent validity with other conceptually similar constructs, and successfully predicted vaccination intentions and vaccination decisions. Having this scale available in Spanish will allow researchers to analyze vaccination processes and vaccine hesitancy over a great number of people.


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