This study investigated the role of dispositional mindful attention in immediate reactivity to, and subsequent recovery from, laboratory-induced negative emotion. One hundred and fourteen undergraduates viewed blocks of negative pictures followed by neutral pictures. Participants’ emotional responses to negative pictures and subsequent neutral pictures were assessed via self-reported ratings. Participants’ emotional response to negative pictures was used to index level of emotional reactivity to unpleasant stimuli; emotional response to neutral pictures presented immediately after the negative pictures was used to index level of emotional recovery from pre-induced negative emotion (residual negativity). Results indicated that mindful attention was not associated with the emotional response to negative pictures, but it was associated with reduced negative emotion in response to the neutral pictures presented immediately after the negative pictures, suggesting better recovery as opposed to reduced reactivity. This effect was especially pronounced in later experimental blocks when the accumulation of negative stimuli produced greater negative emotion from which participants had to recover. The current study extends previous findings on the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and reduced negative emotion by demonstrating that mindful attention may facilitate better recovery from negative emotion, possibly through more effective disengagement from previous stimuli.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)