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10-12-2019 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 3/2020

Mindfulness 3/2020

Mindfulness: Attenuating Self-Referential Processing and Strengthening Other-Referential Processing

Tijdschrift:
Mindfulness > Uitgave 3/2020
Auteurs:
Zhan Shi, Liguo He
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s12671-019-01271-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Abstract

Objectives

Scientific interest in mindfulness is growing; yet, the mechanism of the modulation of the self by mindfulness is still unknown. This study aimed to investigate how mindfulness modulates self- and other-referential processing.

Methods

Forty-five mindfulness meditators (MM) and 45 matched controls (MC) completed an incidental task examining self- and other-referential processing of traits and nouns. We assessed the levels of self- and other-referential processing (recognition memory) in MM and MC. In addition, the relationship between the total duration of meditation and the self-other bias in recognition memory (the difference in recognition memory performance between self and other trials) was examined.

Results

Self-referential traits were worse remembered in MM than MC whereas other-referential traits were better remembered in MM than MC. No differences emerged between the levels of self- and other-referential processing for traits in MM. In addition, the self-other bias in recognition memory for traits was negatively correlated with the total duration of meditation. These effects did not occur for nouns in MM.

Conclusions

The results indicate that, relative to MC, self-referential processing is attenuated but other-referential processing is strengthened for traits in MM. Moreover, the longer the duration of meditation, the less the self-other bias. The effects implicate that mindfulness actualizes a balance between self- and other-referential processing. The theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.

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