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Consistent with the aims of this special issue, we present a systems perspective on self/identity, predicated on William James's classic distinction between I and Me, and use this perspective to explore conceptual relations between self/identity, motivation to learn, and self-regulated learning. We define the I self functionally in terms of the capacity for the conscious shifting and sustaining of awareness. The I is conceived of as that aspect of the self-system that affords the potential for the conscious and willful, rather than the non-conscious and automatic, motivation and regulation of behavior. We introduce contemplative education as a set of pedagogical practices designed to cultivate conscious awareness in an ethical-relational context in which the values of personal growth, learning, moral living, and caring for others are nurtured. We discuss the implications of contemplative education for the cultivation of conscious and willful forms of learning and living among students and educators alike.
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Forty non-meditators were randomly assigned to 4 experimental cells devised to control for order and expectation effects. The subjects (all female) were continuously monitored on 7 physiological measures during both meditation and rest. Each subject was her own control in an ‘abab’ experimental paradigm comparing meditation to rest. The subjects, meditating for the first time, showed marginally lower psychophysiological arousal during the meditation than rest condition for systolic blood pressure, heart rate, skin conductance level and digital skin temperature. Delibrately fostering positive expectations of meditation was associated with lower physiological arousal in terms of diastolic and systolic blood pressure, heart rate and skin conductance level.

Alchemists sought to transform lead into gold. In the same way, says Tara Bennett-Goleman, we all have the natural ability to turn our moments of confusion or emotional pain into insightful clarity.Emotional Alchemy maps the mind and shows how, according to recent advances in cognitive therapy, most of what troubles us falls into ten basic emotional patterns, including fear of abandonment, social exclusion (the feeling we don't belong), and vulnerability (the feeling that some catastrophe will occur). Through the simple practice of mindfulness taught in this book, we can free ourselves of such patterns and replace them with empathy for ourselves and others, as well as the freedom to be more creative and alive.You'll find the very latest research in neuroscience--including the neurological "magic quarter second," during which it is possible for a thought to be "caught" before it turns into an emotional reaction. And you'll discover the fascinating parallels of this science with the wisdom of ancient Buddhism--for Buddhists knew centuries ago that we can end our self-destructive habits.This remarkable book also teaches the practice of mindfulness, an awareness that lets us see things as they truly are without distortion or judgment, giving the most insightful explanation of how mindfulness can change not only our lives, but the very structure of our brains. Here is a beautifully rendered work full of Buddhist wisdom and stories of how people have used mindfulness to conquer their self-defeating habits. The result is a whole new way of approaching our relationships, work, and internal lives.From the Hardcover edition.

This article presents a framework for emotional intelligence, a set of skills hypothesized to contribute to the accurate appraisal and expression of emotion in oneself and in others, the effective regulation of emotion in self and others, and the use of feelings to motivate, plan, and achieve in one's life. We start by reviewing the debate about the adaptive versus maladaptive qualities of emotion. We then explore the literature on intelligence, and especially social intelligence, to examine the place of emotion in traditional intelligence conceptions. A framework for integrating the research on emotion-related skills is then described. Next, we review the components of emotional intelligence. To conclude the review, the role of emotional intelligence in mental health is discussed and avenues for further investigation are suggested.

To emote literally means to move or prepare for action. A large body of research indicates that flexor and extensor movements are conditionally associated with approach- and avoidance-related motivations. It has also been widely argued that approach and avoidant motivations are asymmetrically instantiated in the left and right hemispheres, respectively. Nevertheless, to date, these literatures remain largely separate. In the present investigation, flexor and extensor movements that were visuospatially contextualized as being directed toward the self and away from the self were observed to be asymmetrically represented in the "approach" and "avoidance" hemispheres. Moreover, this pattern of hemispheric specialization was manifested to a greater degree the higher participants' self-reported level of daily positive affect and the lower their self-reported level of dispositional anxiety. Collectively, these findings have direct implications for models of embodied emotional and perceptual processing, as well as for investigations of individual differences in emotional disposition.
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S. L. Shapiro and colleagues (2006) have described a testable theory of the mechanisms of mindfulness and how it affects positive change. They describe a model in which mindfulness training leads to a fundamental change in relationship to experience (reperceiving), which leads to changes in self-regulation, values clarification, cognitive and behavioral flexibility, and exposure. These four variables, in turn, result in salutogenic outcomes. Analyses of responses from participants in a mindfulness-based stress-reduction program did not support the mediating effect of changes in reperceiving on the relationship of mindfulness with those four variables. However, when mindfulness and reperceiving scores were combined, partial support was found for the mediating effect of the four variables on measures of psychological distress. Issues arising in attempts to test the proposed theory are discussed, including the description of the model variables and the challenges to their assessment. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol 65: 1–14, 2009.

This study examined the relation of self-compassion to positive psychological health and the five factor model of personality. Self-compassion entails being kind toward oneself in instances of pain or failure; perceiving one’s experiences as part of the larger human experience; and holding painful thoughts and feelings in balanced awareness. Participants were 177 undergraduates (68% female, 32% male). Using a correlational design, the study found that self-compassion had a significant positive association with self-reported measures of happiness, optimism, positive affect, wisdom, personal initiative, curiosity and exploration, agreeableness, extroversion, and conscientiousness. It also had a significant negative association with negative affect and neuroticism. Self-compassion predicted significant variance in positive psychological health beyond that attributable to personality.

Studies have primarily examined meditation's effects as a self regulation strategy for stress management. Fewer studies have examined its utility as a self exploration strategy for enhancing psychological health in psychotherapy and behavior change. And, few studies have examined meditation's effect regarding its original religious purpose as a self liberation strategy to enhance spiritual growth and wisdom, and cultivate compassionate service. This article examines the reasons underlying this differential proportion of studies on each of the above variables and details the merits and limitations of research that attempted to remove the religious and philosophical context of meditation in order to focus on its content. The article then examines why it has been necessary to reintroduce the context of meditation as a variable, whether that context be stress management, psychotherapy, or a religious perspective. Finally, based on the mentalist and cognitive revolution, this article asks: "Is God always a confounding variable in meditation research?"

Belief in one's ability to change is an important cognitive variable related to treatment gains. This study investigated pretreatment expectancy for anxiety change and early homework compliance in relation to initial and total cognitive change in group cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety. Participants, who met diagnostic criteria for at least 1 anxiety disorder, completed 10 sessions of group CBT. Early homework compliance mediated the relationship between expectancy for anxiety change at baseline and initial change in CBT. In addition, initial cognitive symptom improvement mediated the relationship between homework compliance and posttreatment outcome. These results suggest that expectancy for change is an important cognitive variable that may provide the initial impetus and subsequent momentum for therapeutic involvement and gains. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Teacher burnout is recognized as a serious problem. In research it has been related to many person-specific variables; one of these, the variable of existential fulfilment, has received very little attention thus far. The present study focuses on the relationship between existential fulfilment and burnout among secondary school teachers in the Netherlands (N = 504). Existential fulfilment was made operational by means of the Existential Fulfilment Scale, which distinguishes between three dimensions: self-acceptance, self-actualization, and self-transcendence. A confirmatory factor analysis revealed a three-dimensional construct with interdependent dimensions. Burnout was measured by the Dutch version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory for teachers. Negative relationships between the existential fulfilment dimensions on the one hand and the burnout dimensions exhaustion and cynicism on the other were hypothesized, as well as positive relationships between the existential fulfilment dimensions and the burnout dimension professional efficacy. The hypotheses were confirmed, except for the relationships between self-transcendence and exhaustion and self-transcendence and cynicism, which appeared not to be significant. The inquiry demonstrated the importance of existential fulfilment for the prevalence and prevention of burnout among teachers. The study concludes with a discussion of the implications for future research.
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This article examines a recurring phenomenon in students’ experience of contemplation in contemplative and transformative education. This ground-of-being phenomenon, which has been reported by students in higher and adult education settings, is a formative aspect of the positive changes they reported. It is examined here to highlight the ways in which the depth of felt or precognitive meaning that can occur in contemplative education impacts these changes. The subtlety and range of contemplative experience is described through the ground-of-being experience as a means to support the call from contemplative and transformative education theorists for pedagogies that include the subjective and contemplative.

The influence of approach and avoidance tendencies on affect, reasoning, and behavior has attracted substantial interest from researchers across various areas of psychology. Currently, frontal electroencephalographic (EEG) asymmetry in favor of left prefrontal regions is assumed to reflect the propensity to respond with approach-related tendencies. To test this hypothesis, we recorded resting EEG in 18 subjects, who separately performed a verbal memory task under three incentive conditions (neutral, reward, and punishment). Using a source-localization technique, we found that higher task-independent alpha2 (10.5-12 Hz) activity within left dorsolateral prefrontal and medial orbitofrontal regions was associated with stronger bias to respond to reward-related cues. Left prefrontal resting activity accounted for 54.8% of the variance in reward bias. These findings not only confirm that frontal EEG asymmetry modulates the propensity to engage in appetitively motivated behavior, but also provide anatomical details about the underlying brain systems.
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Objectives: Past research of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) lacks clear results regarding its factorial validity, item fitting, mindfulness in the general population, and on the higher order structure of mindfulness. We derived an alternative two-factor higher order structure for the FFMQ, delineating the attentional and experiential aspects of mindfulness. Method: Data of 640 persons from the Austrian community were used for primary analyses, and data of 333 Austrian students were used for cross-validation. Confirmatory analyses and exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM) were utilized to investigate psychometric and structural properties. Associations with related variables and indicators of mental health were examined. Results: Confirmatory models fitted only poorly on the full 39-item FFMQ. Fit was acceptable in an abridged 20-item version in both samples. The Nonreact scale had only weak psychometric properties. ESEM analyses suggested a good fit of two higher order factors and revealed structural differences between the samples. Beneficial effects of mindfulness appeared to be uniquely associated with the experiential aspects of mindfulness. Strategies of emotion regulation showed differential associations with the two higher order factors in the two samples. Conclusions: Our findings are relevant both with regard to conceptual issues on mindfulness and the assessment of mindfulness with the FFMQ. Replications in meditating samples and in patients are needed.
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Despite the vast literature that has implicated asymmetric activation of the prefrontal cortex in approach-withdrawal motivation and emotion, no published reports have directly explored the neural correlates of well-being. Eighty-four right-handed adults (ages 57-60) completed self-report measures of eudaimonic well-being, hedonic well-being, and positive affect prior to resting electroencephalography. As hypothesized, greater left than right superior frontal activation was associated with higher levels of both forms of well-being. Hemisphere-specific analyses documented the importance of goal-directed approach tendencies beyond those captured by approach-related positive affect for eudaimonic but not for hedonic well-being. Appropriately engaging sources of appetitive motivation, characteristic of higher left than right baseline levels of prefrontal activation, may encourage the experience of well-being.
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A chief goal of this research was to determine whether stimuli and events known to enhance smoking motivation also influence a physiological variable with the potential to index approach motivation. Asymmetry of electroencephalographic (EEG) activity across the frontal regions of the 2 hemispheres (left minus right hemisphere activation) was used to index approach motivation. In theory, if EEG asymmetry sensitively indexes approach dispositions, it should be influenced by manipulations known to affect smoking motivation, that is, exposure to smoking cues and tobacco deprivation. Seventy-two smokers participated in this research and were selectively exposed to a smoking-anticipation condition (cigarettes plus expectation of imminent smoking) following either 24 hr of tobacco withdrawal or ad libitum smoking. Results indicated that EEG asymmetry was increased by smoking anticipation and that smoking itself reduced EEG asymmetry. Results also suggested that smoking anticipation increased overall (bihemispheric) EEG activation. Results were interpreted in terms of major theories of drug motivation.
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Stress-related illness presents an ever-increasing burden to society, and thus has become the target of numerous complementary and integrative medicine interventions. One such clinical intervention, mindfulness meditation, has gained eminence for its demonstrated efficacy in reducing stress and improving health outcomes. Despite its prominence, little is known about the mechanics through which it exerts its treatment effects. This article details the therapeutic mechanisms of mindfulness with a novel causal model of stress, metacognition, and coping. Mindfulness is hypothesized to bolster coping processes by augmenting positive reappraisal, mitigating catastrophizing, and engendering self-transcendence. Reviews of stress and mindfulness are then framed by the perspective of second-order cybernetics, a transdisciplinary conceptual framework which builds on extant theory by highlighting the recursion between the individual and their environment.
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