Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Mindfulness has been associated with several psychological benefits such as reduced symptoms of depression (Brown, Ryan, & Creswell, 2007). However, the mechanism(s) by which mindfulness reduces depressive symptoms is unclear. The present research investigated one potential mechanism: attentional negativity bias. In two studies utilizing eye-tracking methodology, gaze patterns served as indicators of visual attention in order to examine the relations among attention, depressive symptoms, and mindfulness. In Study 1, there was some limited evidence that trait mindfulness was related to less attentional negativity bias. Specifically, trait mindfulness was related to more fixation duration and more fixations on positive images. However, there was no evidence that attentional negativity bias mediated the association between mindfulness and depression. In Study 2, state mindfulness was induced in order to test whether a causal relation exists between mindfulness and attentional bias. There were trends such that participants who underwent a state mindfulness induction viewed threat and dysphoric images longer than the control group. There was also some replication of Study 1 findings. Trait mindfulness was associated with less attentional negativity bias; however, trait mindfulness was related to less fixation duration and fewer fixations on negative images. Again, attentional negativity bias did not mediate the mindfulness-depression association. Overall, the studies provide limited and inconsistent evidence that mindfulness is related to less attentional negativity bias and suggest that trait mindfulness and state mindfulness may have differential effects on gaze patterns.
Ford, Cameron, "Does Mindfulness Reduce Attentional Negativity Bias and Depressive Symptoms?" (2016). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 5609.