We propose an innovative approach to study Mind Wandering (MW), and we present an application of this methodology to study the effects of a Mindfulness-Oriented Meditation (MOM) training. We assessed individuals’ MW through a free association task and an attentional task with thought-probes combined with a questionnaire for the phenomenological characteristic of each MW episode. We used the Temperament and Character Inventory to assess participants’ personality traits and their associations with measures of MW. Our study was limited by the course of the Covid-19 pandemic and only nine healthy young individuals completed the testing sessions, which were carried out before and after the MOM training. After MOM, participants showed fewer repetitive and self-relevant thoughts and indices of better performance in the attentional task; the linguistic analysis of participants’ free associations showed lower verbal productivity and a decrease in utterances that expressed anxiety/stress. Overall, we foresee that future studies could replicate our preliminary findings with larger samples and in a period without a global health emergency. This multilevel approach to the study of MW may allow researchers to gain a broader view of the phenomenon, considering its occurrence, qualitative characteristics, impact on cognitive tasks, malleability via mindfulness or other psychological interventions, and relations with personality traits.

A multilevel approach to explore the wandering mind and its connections with mindfulness and personality

Crescentini C.;Matiz A.
2021

Abstract

We propose an innovative approach to study Mind Wandering (MW), and we present an application of this methodology to study the effects of a Mindfulness-Oriented Meditation (MOM) training. We assessed individuals’ MW through a free association task and an attentional task with thought-probes combined with a questionnaire for the phenomenological characteristic of each MW episode. We used the Temperament and Character Inventory to assess participants’ personality traits and their associations with measures of MW. Our study was limited by the course of the Covid-19 pandemic and only nine healthy young individuals completed the testing sessions, which were carried out before and after the MOM training. After MOM, participants showed fewer repetitive and self-relevant thoughts and indices of better performance in the attentional task; the linguistic analysis of participants’ free associations showed lower verbal productivity and a decrease in utterances that expressed anxiety/stress. Overall, we foresee that future studies could replicate our preliminary findings with larger samples and in a period without a global health emergency. This multilevel approach to the study of MW may allow researchers to gain a broader view of the phenomenon, considering its occurrence, qualitative characteristics, impact on cognitive tasks, malleability via mindfulness or other psychological interventions, and relations with personality traits.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11390/1213782
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