Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Park, Ernest

Subject Headings

Ego (psychology), Self-control, Mindfulness, Self-regulation, Ego-depletion, Ego-salience, Self-relevant cognition, Meditation, Social threat, Negative feedback, Ego-threat


Convergent findings among several distinct lines of research have revealed that mindfulness, an open and receptive form of present-centered awareness, is positively associated with numerous indices of well-being. Much of this research has focused on dispositional mindfulness, the frequency with which one enters into mindful states over time. However, state mindfulness, the degree to which one is mindful at a specific point in time, has been left relatively unexplored. Current theories suggest that many beneficial effects attributable to mindfulness are due to changes in the way one relates to thoughts about the self. In this study we hypothesized that a heightened mindful state would reduce the salience of self-relevant concepts. Further, we hypothesized that this difference in cognitions would alter how people deal with self-threatening information and lead to advantages in one's ability to exert volitional control over subsequent behaviors. To test these hypotheses, all participants were told that we were measuring their personality traits to make predictions about their "sociability." After completing an initial battery of self-report measures, half of the participants underwent a 15-minute state mindfulness induction, while the other half received instructions to let their mind wander. Immediately afterward, a lexical decision task was administered which was designed to assess the salience of previously rated self-descriptive words. Each participant was then given a report that contained negative feedback about the future of his or her social life. Finally, participants completed a dichotic listening task designed to assess self-regulatory ability and a self-report measure sensitive to state affect. Our analyses indicated that the mindfulness induction significantly reduced the salience of self-relevant cognitions and that the degree of this change significantly predicted improvements in self-control. Additionally, we found evidence that mindful people responded to self-threatening information in a more adap

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Psychology Commons