Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #137
CE Offered: BACB
Mindfulness: Investigations of its Effects on Creativity, Charity, and Emotional Regulation
Saturday, May 25, 2019
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Swissôtel, Event Center Second Floor, Montreux 1-3
Area: DEV/PCH; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Don Togade (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology ; George Brown College, Toronto, Canada)
CE Instructor: Don Togade, Ph.D.

“Mindfulness” originated from the Pali word sati and the Sanskrit word smirti, which refers to an individual’s awareness, attention, remembering (Neale, 2006). Despite its popularity, majority of mindfulness investigations have employed indirect measures in determining its effects (e.g., Batalo 2012; Rabiee., 2014). This symposium presents three recently completed research studies on the impact of mindfulness on behavior, which included direct measures of behavioral effects; specifically, its effects on creativity, charitable giving, and emotional regulation were measured. Adults within the general population, both novice and more experienced meditators, were included in these studies. In light of the results obtained and based on the body of previous research on the behavioural effects of mindfulness, applied implications and future research recommendations will be outlined.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

The symposium will be geared towards undergraduate and graduate students in behavior analysis, BCBA and BCBA-D researchers and practitioners in education, healthcare, and applied clinical work.


Creativity in the Present Moment: A Behavior-Analytic Exploration of the Effects of Mindfulness Practice on Adults’ Creative Performance

DON TOGADE (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology ; George Brown College, Toronto, Canada), August Stockwell (Upswing Advocates), Jessica Gamba (National Louise University), Diana J. Walker (Trinity Services/Illinois Crisis Prevention Network), Patricia Arredondo (Fielding Graduate University; Arizona State University)

The present study investigated the effects of mindfulness practice on creative performance of adult participants classified as novice and experienced meditators across four computer tasks. Novice and experienced meditators’ mindfulness and creative performance across divergent, convergent, recombination, and block design were measured while exposed to neutral activity and mindfulness conditions. Participants’ self-reported levels of mindfulness was measured based on the difference between pre- and post- tests scores on the Mindfulness Awareness Assessment Scale (MAAS) and Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Scale (KIMS) across conditions, whereas direct measure of mindfulness was recorded using an iPhone app during mindfulness and maintenance conditions only. Across creative tasks, rate of both novel and redundant responses, duration of task completion, inter-response time (IRT), and latency to the first response were measured per session. Following steady state creative performance in the final mindfulness condition, participants’ mindfulness and creative performance were tested for maintenance. Across meditators, difference scores from the MAAS and KIMS did not yield significant changes between conditions, and difference scores maintained for both the MAAS and KIMS during maintenance tests. Finally, measures of rate, duration, IRT, and latency of creative performances yielded undifferentiated outcomes. However, some dimensions of creative performance maintained following without structured practice.


Effects of Loving Kindness Meditation on Charitable Giving and Written Statements About Self and Others

SIMRAN AGRAWAL (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), August Stockwell (Upswing Advocates), Don Togade (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology ; George Brown College, Toronto, Canada)

The purpose of this research was to examine the effects of LovingKindness Meditation on charitable giving and written statements about self and others. The study measured charitable giving by counting the amount of total dollars donated in baseline, LovingKindness Meditation, and control condition sessions. Written statements about self and others were measured by administering a writing prompt at the end of each of each session in each of three conditions mentioned above; written statements were categorized as positive, neutral or negative. The results of the study indicate that two out of three participants donated more money in the LovingKindness condition as compared to the baseline or control condition. Additionally, two out of three participants showed higher frequencies of positive statements about self and others in the LovingKidness condition as compared to the other conditions. The overall frequency of negative statements was low for all participants, except for one participant who showed the lowest frequency in the LovingKindness condition.

Mindfully Regulating: The Effects of Brief Interventions of Acute Emotion Regulation
JONAH DAVID MCMANUS (University of Louisiana in Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Patrick Rappold (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Madison Gamble (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Abstract: Emotion regulation involves any attempt at changing, starting, or stopping covert verbal behavior, and associated emotions. Some experts suggest that difficulties in regulating emotions is central to most, if not all, psychological disorders. For this reason, increasing adaptive emotion regulation is a common therapeutic goal, and by extension, a focus of clinical research. Of equal importance might be investigations of brief, self-directed interventions. For example, video game play and mindful breathing are commonly reported as simple approaches to managing intense emotions and responses thereto. The current study examined the impact of two brief interventions, video games and mindful breathing, on acute emotion regulation measured via a distress tolerance task and self-reported emotional states as compared to a waiting control. Results showed divergent effects on emotion regulation as measured by the self-report measures versus the distress tolerance task. Steps for future research and limitations as well as implications for assessment will be discussed.



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