Date of Award

December 2019

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor(s)

Joshua Felver

Second Advisor

Natalie Russo

Keywords

Acceptance, ERN, Mindfulness, Nonreactivity

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

Mindfulness is a multi-faceted construct that can be defined with more precision via a two-component model that includes self-regulated attention and an accepting orientation towards one’s experiences. Many of the observed benefits of mindfulness are associated with the orientation of acceptance, which is characterized by having less reactivity and judgment of one’s experiences and may be particularly relevant to the processing of errors, as errors often enlist cognitive and affective responses. Error processing is a system that involves detecting errors and adjusting behavior adaptively to prevent future errors. Error processing can be measured in the brain and thus could be a potential neuromarker related to acceptance. The present study examined the relation between individual differences in dispositional mindful acceptance and error processing as measured by the amplitude of Error-Related Negativity (ERN), in a nonclinical population. Adults completed a Go/No-Go (GNG) task while their performance was monitored with an electroencephalogram (EEG) in order to capture the ERN, a measure of error processing, as well as the co-occurring behavioral responses of response inhibition. Dispositional mindful acceptance was measured by the nonreactivity and nonjudging subscales of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ). EEG results indicate that nonreactivity correlated with a smaller ERN, and behavioral results indicate that higher acceptance correlated with faster reaction time, without any trade-offs in accuracy. Overall, these findings suggest that individuals who are higher in dispositional mindful acceptance may be able to process errors and competing responses with less neural activity while still reaching the same behavioral response. Given that there are minimal ways of assessing acceptance and the benefits associated with acceptance, the presence of these neural and behavioral correlates of acceptance may be critical in informing the clinical research of mindfulness interventions.

Access

Open Access

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