Previous research on mindfulness has suggested that individuals high in trait mindfulness show heightened sensitivity to visceral and internally generated stimuli. However, when mindful individuals are exposed to external stimuli—such as pictures or faces—their emotional responses are typically attenuated. In the current study, we tested how trait mindfulness relates to reactivity in response to a different type of external stimulus, namely, performance feedback. Using electroencephalography, we recorded participants’ neuroaffective reactions to rewarding, aversive, and neutral feedback, as indexed by the feedback-related negativity (FRN). The FRN is a brain response that peaks approximately 250 ms after feedback presentation, and it is thought to differentiate feedback indicating favorable versus unfavorable outcomes. Our findings suggest trait mindfulness predicts less differentiation of rewarding from neutral feedback, but does not predict brain differentiation of aversive from neutral feedback. This was the case particularly for individuals who scored highly on the “acceptance” facet of mindfulness, a facet that assesses the nonjudgmental acceptance of thoughts and emotions. We discuss the implications of these findings for current theory on mindfulness and emotion regulation.
Via Fabien Devaugermé