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Journal ArticleDOI

The effect of meditation based on self-observation on cognitive responses in conflictive social interaction

21 Oct 2014-Nordic Psychology (Routledge)-Vol. 66, Iss: 3, pp 202-215

Abstract: Conflictive social interactions are associated with the attribution of responsibility for our negative experiences to the other, and with a distant social perception of the other. When we meditate we acquire skills related to thought that allow us to observe how we perceive and signify interaction with the other, which distances us from the response to the meaning of this perception. This way of attending to events can have a negative effect on the tendency to make dispositional attributions, which are generally more conflictive, since the person making the attribution blames the other for the unpleasant situation he or she is experiencing. For this reason, the associated practice of meditation may affect social interactions by reducing conflict. The relationship between infrequent meditation, associated to the development of self-observation, with the locus of attribution for an unpleasant event, the perception of anger with oneself, and the social distance from the outgroup was analysed using a sample o...
Topics: Dispositional attribution (60%), Social perception (59%), Social relation (55%), Attribution (55%), Anger (52%)

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Título artículo / Títol article:
The effect of meditation based on self-observation on
cognitive responses in conflictive social interaction
Autores / Autors
Pinazo Calatayud, Daniel; Vazquez, Carolina
Revista:
Nordic Psychology
Versión / Versió:
Pre-print
Cita bibliográfica / Cita
bibliogràfica (ISO 690):
PINAZO, Daniel; VAZQUEZ, Carolina. The effect
of meditation based on self-observation on cognitive
responses in conflictive social interaction. Nordic
Psychology, 2014, vol. 66, no 3, p. 202-215.
url Repositori UJI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10234/128765

The effect of meditation based on self-observation on cognitive responses in
conflictive social interaction
Running Head: meditation, mindfulness and cognitive responses
Abstract:
Conflictive social interactions are associated with the attribution of responsibility for our
negative experiences to the other, and with a distant social perception of the other. When
we meditate we acquire skills related to thought that allow us to observe how we perceive
and signify interaction with the other, which distances us from the response to the
meaning of this perception. This way of attending to events can have a negative effect on
the tendency to make dispositional attributions, which are generally more conflictive,
since the person making the attribution blames the other for the unpleasant situation he or
she is experiencing. For this reason, the associated practice of meditation may affect
social interactions by reducing conflict. The relationship between infrequent meditation,
associated to the development of self-observation, with the locus of attribution for an
unpleasant event, the perception of anger with oneself, and the social distance from the
outgroup was analysed using a sample of 229 individuals (118 non-meditators and 111
unspecific meditators). Results show that meditation has the effect of reducing
dispositional attributions, perception of anger, and social distance, and provide evidence
for the moderating effect of self-observation ability.
Key words: Meditation, self-observation, attribution, social interaction and conflict.

Introduction
The practice of mindfulness meditation can have numerous effects on the way people
process information and react emotionally in their social interactions. Meditation
mindfulness requires both the ability to anchor one's attention on what is occurring, and
the ability to intentionally switch attention from one aspect of the experience to another
(Keng, S.L.; Smoski, M.J. & Robins, C.J., 2011). Mindfulness meditators learn to
observe thoughts, to avoid immediate responses to impulses arising from experiences, to
distance themselves from their perception of themselves and of the other, or to experience
interactions without judgement. In sum, the mindfulness meditator develops a capacity to
create distance between the observation of what he or she experiences and the response to
the experience (Kabat-Zinn, 1990; Brown & Ryan, 2003; Brown, Ryan & Creswell,
2007; Williams, 2010). Meditation can develop the individual’s ability to interact with his
or her environment, by bringing him or her closer to the experience with a fundamental
attitude of respect and acceptance, generating more understanding responses to what is
happening at that moment. The ability to self-observe the internal processes that generate
these responses might moderate the effect of meditation on interaction responses. Three
responses associated to social interaction may be particularly sensitive to meditation and
self-observation: 1) attribution of responsibility for harm to a third party; 2) the subjective
perception of anger in a conflictive situation, and 3) the psychological distance from
members of the outgroup.
Mindfulness is an efficient way to attain well-being and personal health benefits, as
various training programmes have shown (e.g., Broderick, 2005; Brown & Ryan, 2003;
Shapiro, Brown & Biegel, 2007). Mindfulness can be defined as an attentional state of mind
by which cognitive processes interact with emotional processes to receive, perceive and manage
information. It is a psychological state characterized by an open mind to present events. Kabat-
Zinn (1994: 4) described it as “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and

nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment”. Two aspects stand out: 1.
The state of mindfulness is characterized by an awareness of the internal and external sensory and
cognitive experience of the present moment. 2. This awareness leads to simply acknowledge and
examine, without any judgment, elaboration, or emotional reaction to whatever arises. It includes
elements of attention-regulation mechanisms and orientation to experience characterized by
openness, acceptance, and nonjudgmentalism (Bishop, 2002; Bishop, et al. 2004; Brown & Ryan,
2004; Hayes & Shenk, 2004). Mindfulness is not a passive ability as it is an active cognitive
ability in which conscious attention to the present moment allows the observer to retain
and capture the object being observed without the filters of memory or expectation
(Dreyfus, 2011). This capacity to be mindful, paying attention to the present moment may be a
disposition or a temporal condition (Baer, Smith, Hopkins, Krietemeyer & Toney, 2006).
Regardless of the degree of dispositional features, the tool that has proven to be most effective for
the development of mindfulness is meditation, a practice extended in the West in recent years
without adherence to religious beliefs (Duerr, 2004; Hart, 2007; Kabat-Zinn, 1996). Since
meditation is a mind-calming tool that ultimately results in mindfulness both terms tend to be
merged in one concept; it must be highlighted, however, that mindful dispositions do not require
the practice of meditation to be activated although they can be deepened by this practice.
The present study investigates social interaction responses as a function of
meditation. One way in which meditation may affect social interaction responses is in the
effect it has on the interpretation of perceived situations. Although there are variations in
meditation techniques (Lutz, Slagter, Dunne & Davidson, 2008) and their effects
(Erisman & Roemer, 2010), all types of meditation monitor and regulate internal
cognitive processes. Meditation could therefore intervene in our interpretation of
interactions with others, through a more compassionate internal perception of the
experience, thus reducing conflict in the social interaction. Some studies find evidence
that meditation enhances a compassionate perception of interaction with the other (e.g.

Lutz, Greischar, Rawling, Ricard & Davidson, 2004; Siegel, 2007) and encourages
attitudes of proximity to the other (e.g. Segal, Williams & Teasdale, 2002).
The development of self-observation appears to derive from the practice of
meditation and should therefore have a clear association with it. Baer Smith, Hopkins,
Krietemeyer and Toney (2006) point out that self-observation is particularly sensitive to
the effect of meditation. Self-observation is one of the main factors of mindfulness (Baer
et al., 2006). Nowadays the concepts of meditation and mindfulness tend to be used
somewhat interchangeably. However, there are differences; roughly explained,
meditation is sustaining focus on a very simple stimulus (such as breath) and mindfulness
is observing the flow of all simple stimuli without thoughts or worry (Smith, 2005). The
state of mindfulness allows for observing mental responses to the present moment. The
mindfulness-meditation technique consists of allowing sensations and thoughts to arise,
paying attention what happens in the present without censure. Self-observation is
therefore a way of meditating and also a result of meditation. Training in self-observation
enables the person to focus the attention of the experiences on internal processes, thus
strengthening the effect of meditation on social interaction responses.
The regulation of internal processes can affect interaction responses. One
expression of this association can be seen in the way we explain events. Attribution
theory states that when we try to understand a situation, particularly when it is painful or
frustrating, the first thing we do is to make a judgement (Heider, 1958; Weiner, 1985).
However, we do not usually consider the judgement to be anything different from fact.
Thus, when we attribute responsibility for our suffering to others, it becomes more of a
fact in that we do not see how this has occurred. This type of attribution is potentially
more aggressive, since it can cause greater harm and pain (Leary et al., 1998; Vangelisti
& Young, 2000; Young, 2004). When attribution is more generally made to the situation,

Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
Daniel Pinazo1, Edgar Bresó1Institutions (1)
TL;DR: Results indicate that participation in the course favoured intergroup acceptance of the other and suggest that mindfulness training represents a useful educational method for reducing social discrimination.
Abstract: Research has demonstrated the many benefits of mindfulness training programmes for individual health and well-being. This study, however, explored whether mindfulness training might have effects on intergroup interaction. We tested the effects of a self-observation-based mindfulness course on several dimensions of acceptance of the other (i.e., non-judgement, non-reaction and observation). An initial study test a mindfulness course training (N = 197). A second study then tested its effect on intergroup relationships (N = 120). A control group was used in both studies, and the subjects were tested before and after the course. Results indicate that participation in the course favoured intergroup acceptance of the other and suggest that mindfulness training represents a useful educational method for reducing social discrimination.

3 citations


Cites background from "The effect of meditation based on s..."

  • ...Mindfulness has been associated with social interaction in different settings such as communication processes (Burgoon et al., 2000) and aggressive interactions to the other (Borders, Earleywine, & Jajodia, 2010; Pinazo & Vázquez, 2014)....

    [...]



References
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Book
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01 Jan 1958
Abstract: The psychology of interpersonal relations , The psychology of interpersonal relations , کتابخانه دیجیتال و فن آوری اطلاعات دانشگاه امام صادق(ع)

14,774 citations


"The effect of meditation based on s..." refers background in this paper

  • ...Attribution theory states that when we try to understand a situation, particularly when it is painful or frustrating, the first thing we do is to make a judgement (Heider, 1958; Weiner, 1985)....

    [...]


Journal ArticleDOI
Kirk Warren Brown1, Richard M. Ryan1Institutions (1)
TL;DR: Correlational, quasi-experimental, and laboratory studies show that the MAAS measures a unique quality of consciousness that is related to a variety of well-being constructs, that differentiates mindfulness practitioners from others, and that is associated with enhanced self-awareness.
Abstract: Mindfulness is an attribute of consciousness long believed to promote well-being. This research provides a theoretical and empirical examination of the role of mindfulness in psychological well-being. The development and psychometric properties of the dispositional Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) are described. Correlational, quasi-experimental, and laboratory studies then show that the MAAS measures a unique quality of consciousness that is related to a variety of well-being constructs, that differentiates mindfulness practitioners from others, and that is associated with enhanced selfawareness. An experience-sampling study shows that both dispositional and state mindfulness predict self-regulated behavior and positive emotional states. Finally, a clinical intervention study with cancer patients demonstrates that increases in mindfulness over time relate to declines in mood disturbance and stress. Many philosophical, spiritual, and psychological traditions emphasize the importance of the quality of consciousness for the maintenance and enhancement of well-being (Wilber, 2000). Despite this, it is easy to overlook the importance of consciousness in human well-being because almost everyone exercises its primary capacities, that is, attention and awareness. Indeed, the relation between qualities of consciousness and well-being has received little empirical attention. One attribute of consciousness that has been much-discussed in relation to well-being is mindfulness. The concept of mindfulness has roots in Buddhist and other contemplative traditions where conscious attention and awareness are actively cultivated. It is most commonly defined as the state of being attentive to and aware of what is taking place in the present. For example, Nyanaponika Thera (1972) called mindfulness “the clear and single-minded awareness of what actually happens to us and in us at the successive moments of perception” (p. 5). Hanh (1976) similarly defined mindfulness as “keeping one’s consciousness alive to the present reality” (p. 11). Recent research has shown that the enhancement of mindfulness through training facilitates a variety of well-being outcomes (e.g., Kabat-Zinn, 1990). To date, however, there has been little work examining this attribute as a naturally occurring characteristic. Recognizing that most everyone has the capacity to attend and to be aware, we nonetheless assume (a) that individuals differ in their propensity or willingness to be aware and to sustain attention to what is occurring in the present and (b) that this mindful capacity varies within persons, because it can be sharpened or dulled by a variety of factors. The intent of the present research is to reliably identify these inter- and intrapersonal variations in mindfulness, establish their relations to other relevant psychological constructs, and demonstrate their importance to a variety of forms of psychological well-being.

8,335 citations


"The effect of meditation based on s..." refers background in this paper

  • ...In sum, the mindfulness meditator develops a capacity to create distance between the observation of what he or she experiences and the response to the experience (Kabat-Zinn, 1990; Brown & Ryan, 2003; Brown, Ryan, & Creswell, 2007; Williams, 2010)....

    [...]

  • ...Mindfulness is an efficient way to attain well-being and personal health benefits, as various training programmes have shown (e.g., Broderick, 2005; Brown & Ryan, 2003; Shapiro, Brown, & Biegel, 2007)....

    [...]

  • ...It includes elements of attention-regulation mechanisms and orientation to experience characterized by openness, acceptance and non-judgementalism (Bishop, 2002; Brown & Ryan, 2003; Hayes & Shenk, 2004)....

    [...]


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TL;DR: In this chapter a theory of motivation and emotion developed from an attributional perspective is presented, suggesting that causal attributions have been prevalent throughout history and in disparate cultures and some attributions dominate causal thinking.
Abstract: In this chapter a theory of motivation and emotion developed from an attributional perspective is presented Before undertaking this central task, it might be beneficial to review the progression of the book In Chapter 1 it was suggested that causal attributions have been prevalent throughout history and in disparate cultures Studies reviewed in Chapter 2 revealed a large number of causal ascriptions within motivational domains, and different ascriptions in disparate domains Yet some attributions, particularly ability and effort in the achievement area, dominate causal thinking To compare and contrast causes such as ability and effort, their common denominators or shared properties were identified Three causal dimensions, examined in Chapter 3, are locus, stability, and controllability, with intentionality and globality as other possible causal properties As documented in Chapter 4, the perceived stability of a cause influences the subjective probability of success following a previous success or failure; causes perceived as enduring increase the certainty that the prior outcome will be repeated in the future And all the causal dimensions, as well as the outcome of an activity and specific causes, influence the emotions experienced after attainment or nonattainment of a goal The affects linked to causal dimensions include pride (with locus), hopelessness and resignation (with stability), and anger, gratitude, guilt, pity, and shame (with controllability)

6,477 citations


"The effect of meditation based on s..." refers background in this paper

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Jon Kabat-Zinn1Institutions (1)
01 Jan 2005
TL;DR: Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness book.

5,361 citations


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  • ...In sum, the mindfulness meditator develops a capacity to create distance between the observation of what he or she experiences and the response to the experience (Kabat-Zinn, 1990; Brown & Ryan, 2003; Brown, Ryan, & Creswell, 2007; Williams, 2010)....

    [...]

  • ...When we meditate we can develop a basic attitude of respect and acceptance of all individuals, subsumed within a positive frame of mind, that does not involve rejection (e.g. Dreyfus, 2011; Garland, Gaylord, & Park, 2009; Hill & Updegraff, 2012; Kabat-Zinn, 1990; Ochsner et al., 2006)....

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Book
15 Jan 2008
Abstract: FULL CATA STROPHE LIV ING: USING THE W ISDOM OF YOUR BODY A ND MIND TO FA CE STRESS, PA IN, A ND ILLNESS To read Full Catastrophe Living : Using the W isdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness eBook, please click the link under and download the ebook or get access to additional information which might be related to Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness book.

4,852 citations