Disgusting and neutral words capture attention to the same extent

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Disgusting stimuli are thought to be potent distractors, but a new study just published by Parmentier, Fraga, Leiva and Ferré in Psychological Research shows that disgusting words yield the same amount of distraction as neutral words when these words are unexpected auditory distractors in a visual task. A subsequent surprise recognition task revealed that both types of words were equally well recognized. These results were not affected by the participant’s personal sensitivity to disgust.

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Mean response times (bars) and mean proportion of correct responses (data points) in the three sound conditions of the cross-modal oddball task. Participants categorized visually-presented stimuli while ignoring a frequent tone (standard sound) or rare and expected disgusting or neutral words. Error bars represents 95% CIs based on the main effect of sound condition

Mean response times (bars) and mean proportion of correct responses (data points) in the three sound conditions of the cross-modal oddball task. Participants categorized visually-presented stimuli while ignoring a frequent tone (standard sound) or rare and expected disgusting or neutral words. Error bars represents 95% CIs based on the main effect of sound condition

Reference:
Parmentier, F. B. R., Fraga, I., Ferré, P., & Leiva, A. (2019, May 4th). Distraction by deviant sounds - Disgusting and neutral words capture attention to the same extent. Psychological Research. Advanced online publication. doi: 10.1007/s00426-019-01192-4

Abstract:
Several studies have argued that words evoking negative emotions, such as disgust, grab attention more than neutral words, and leave traces in memory that are more persistent. However, these conclusions are typically based on tasks requiring participants to process the semantic content of these words in a voluntarily manner. We sought to compare the involuntary attention grabbing power of disgusting and neutral words by using them as rare and unexpected auditory distractors in a cross-modal oddball task, and then probing the participants’ memory for these stimuli in a surprise recognition task. Frequentist and Bayesian analyses converged to show that, compared to a standard tone, disgusting and neutral auditory words produced significant but equivalent levels of distraction in a visual categorization task, that they elicited comparable levels of memory discriminability in the incidental recognition task, and that the participants’ individual sensitivity to disgust did not influence the results. Our results suggest that distraction by unexpected words is not modulated by their emotional valence, at least when these words are task-irrelevant and are temporally and perceptually decoupled from the target stimuli.



Book presentation: "Neuropsicología forense" (A. Nagore Casas)

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This Wednesday 27th March, the College of Psychologists of the Balearic Islands (COPIB) will be hosting the presentation of the recently published book “Neuropsicología forense” (Forensic neuropsychology) by Amaya Nagore Casas.

The event will count with the input from the author Amaya Nagore Casas (forensic psychologist with the Ministry of Justice, clinical neuropsychologist and member of the Clinical Neuroscience research group of Segovia), as well as from Pilar Andrés (clinical neuropsychologist and coordinator of the Neuropsychological Group of the COPIB), Javier Torres (forensic psychologist), and María José Catalán Frías (Dean of the College of Psychologist for the region of Murcia, and President of the Association of forensic psychologists of the Justice Administration).

The event will take place in Spanish.

Time and venue: Sala d’actes del COPIB: c/ Manuel Sanchis Guarner, núm. 1 de Palma - 27th March 2019 at 20:00

Direct and indirect effects of mindfulness on depression and anxiety

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Mindfulness reduces depression and anxiety by reducing worry, ruminations, suppression, and by increasing cognitive reappraisal

A new study led by Fabrice Parmentier and just accepted for publication in Frontiers in Psychology shows that the beneficial effects of mindfulness on symptoms of depression and anxiety are in part mediated by emotional regulation (reappraisal and suppression), worry and ruminations.

Based on data collected from a large international sample of adults with no reported history of psychiatric disorder, the authors showed that dispositional mindfulness was associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety, and that this relationship was in part accounted for by the mediating effect of mindfulness on reappraisal, suppression, worry and rumination. Interestingly, the results also show that mindfulness meditation practice did not reduce depression or anxiety directly (instead, its effect was indirect, through a positive association with mindfulness).

Direct and indirect relationships between mindfulness and depression/anxiety, taking into account the meditating role of emotional regulation (cognitive reappraisal and emotive suppression), rumination and worry. Numbers represent the standardized path coefficients. * p<.05, ** p<.01, *** p<.001

Abstract:
The present study examined the effects of mindfulness on depression and anxiety, both direct and indirect through the mediation of four mechanisms of emotional regulation: worry, rumination, reappraisal and suppression. Path analysis was applied to data collected from an international and non-clinical sample of 1151 adults, including both meditators and non-meditators, who completed an online questionnaire battery. Our results show that mindfulness are related to lower levels of depression and anxiety both directly and indirectly. Suppression, reappraisal, worry and rumination all acted as significant mediators of the relationship between mindfulness and depression. A similar picture emerged for the relationship between mindfulness and anxiety, with the difference that suppression was not a mediator. Our data also revealed that the estimated number of hours of mindfulness meditation practice did not affect depression or anxiety directly but did reduce these indirectly by increasing mindfulness. Worry and rumination proved to be the most potent mediating variables. Altogether, our results confirm that emotional regulation plays a significant mediating role between mindfulness and symptoms of depression and anxiety in the general population and suggest that meditation focusing on reducing worry and rumination may be especially useful in reducing the risk of developing clinical depression.

Reference:
Parmentier, F. B. R., Mauro-García, M., García-Campayo, J., Yanez, A. M., Andrés, P., & Gili-Planas, M. (2019). Mindfulness and symptoms of depression and anxiety in the general population: The mediating roles of worry, rumination, reappraisal and suppression. Frontiers in Psychology, 10:506. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00506

Download the article here

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This work was carried out thanks to a research grant from the BIAL Foundation.