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Who am I? Differential effects of three contemplative mental trainings on emotional word use in self-descriptions

MPS-Authors
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Lumma,  Anna-Lena
Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Böckler,  Anne
Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Department of Psychology, Julius Maximilian University, Würzburg, Germany;

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Vrticka,  Pascal
Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Singer,  Tania
Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Lumma_2017.pdf
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Citation

Lumma, A.-L., Böckler, A., Vrticka, P., & Singer, T. (2017). Who am I? Differential effects of three contemplative mental trainings on emotional word use in self-descriptions. Self and Identity, 16(5), 607-628. doi:10.1080/15298868.2017.1294107.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002C-56FD-1
Abstract
In a large-scale longitudinal mental training study, we examined whether learning different contemplative practices can change the emotional content of people’s self-concept as assessed through emotional word use in the Twenty Statement Test. During three 3-month training modules, participants learned distinct practices targeting attentional, socio-affective, or socio-cognitive capacities, or were re-tested. Emotional word use specifically increased after socio-cognitive training including perspective-taking on self and others, compared to attentional and socio-affective compassion-based trainings, and retest-controls. Overall, our findings demonstrate training-induced behavioral plasticity of the emotional self-concept content in healthy adults and could indicate greater emotional granularity. These findings can inform future interventions in mental health, given that alterations in self-referential processing are a common contributing factor in psychopathology.