A new study finds that individuals high in trait mindfulness show less neural response to positive feedback than their less mindful peers. The research from the University of Toronto, Scarborough shows that people who are aware of and their own thoughts and emotions are less affected by positive feedback from others, according to the November 1, 2013 news release, "Mindful individuals less affected by immediate rewards."
The study, authored by UTSC PhD candidate Rimma Teper, is published this week in the November 2013 issue of the journal Emotion® - American Psychological Association. "These findings suggest that mindful individuals may be less affected by immediate rewards and fits well with the idea that mindful individuals are typically less impulsive," says Teper in the news release.
Trait mindfulness is characterized by an ability to recognize and accept one’s thoughts and emotions without judgment
Mindful individuals are much better at letting their feelings and thoughts go rather than getting carried away. Using electroencephalography (EEG) the brain activity of participants was recorded while they completed a reaction time task on a computer.
The authors were interested in participants’ brain activity in response to receiving performance feedback that was rewarding, neutral or negative in nature. Not only were mindful individuals less responsive to rewarding feedback compared to others, they also showed less difference in their neural response to neutral versus rewarding feedback.
The findings also reflect further clinical research that supports the notion of accepting one’s emotions is an important indicator of mental well-being
“Individuals who are problem gamblers for instance show more brain reactivity to immediate rewards, because they are typically more impulsive,” says Teper in the news release. “Many studies, including our own past work, have shown that people who meditate, and mindful individuals exhibit improved self-control. If mindful individuals are also less affected by immediate rewards, as our study suggests, this may help explain why,” says Teper’s PhD supervisor and UTSC psychology professor Michael Inzlicht. Also see an older study published in the journal, Emotion®, "Mindfulness for Anxiety."
If you're around children, you may wish to see, "Take the Time: Mindfulness for Kids." You may also enjoy taking a look at a book, 25 Lessons in Mindfulness: Now Time for Healthy Living. Also see, "Chronic stomach pain in kids linked to later anxiety." Or see, "Facebook may be making you sad." Or see the news on a recent study (with mice), "Neuroscientists determine how treatment for anxiety disorders silences fear neurons."