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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rachel Onefater on Thursday January 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 76884 at George Washington University taught by Dr. George Howe in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 15 views. For similar materials see PSYC4201W in Psychlogy at George Washington University.
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Date Created: 01/28/16
Can we control attention in order to reduce stress response? Can we control attention on order to reduce our stress responselooking at the more practical response! Thought suppression • Just don’t think about it! Example : You have a text tomorrow, and you are getting really, really stressed out; just suppress them, Don’t think about it! The white bear story • “Try to pose for yourself this task: not to think of a polar bear, and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute.” Dostoevsky, inter Notes on Summer Impressions (1863) Paradoxical effects of thought suppression • Daniel Wegnerpsychologist who became very interested in the idea of thought suppression → was one of the earlier people that used the Sampling method in social psychology(def.) would just have people talk and then record them! Studying the white bear • Wegner et al. (1987) – People asked to talk for 5 minutes into a recorder “everything that comes to mind.” – Group 1 (suppress, then express): • Second five minutes: continue to verbalize,try not t think about a white bear, but if you do ring a bell, • Third five minutes: same task, but try to think of a white bear – Group 2: (express, then suppress) Results • Dostoevsky was right (if we suppress first) Wegner et al. (1987) → Group1 : We look at the people how were asked in the second 5 minutes to suppress, and then later to express, and they did a pretty good job of it! Thenm when they were asked to express after suppression, they expressed a lot about seeing the white bear! → Group 2: People who suppressed after expression, but they faded out and they got tired of it, and they were not driven to continue expressing. People who are asked to express after suppression cannot stop thinking about it! Bounceback effect(def.)if you try to push something out of our minds, it will pop back up in our minds! Stress and the white bear? • Cognitive load (demanding mental tasks) increases the effects of thought suppression even more Example : Remember number, “97382561” while you are taking notes, and if you don’t bad things will happen to you. If you put people in this cognitive load situation/demanding situation, this increases the rebound! → Deployment of attention (def.) have the capacity to move your attention to different object, and thought suppression is an attempt to deploy your attention away from something! • Trait anxiety and rumination are associated with more attempts at thought suppression. → This suggests that people who have chronic activation in terms of anxiety, are actually people who will try to suppress thoughts more! Rumination • What if the attention is to internal thoughts? • Susan NolensHoeksma introduced idea of negative rumination constantly chew over and think about our world in a negative way, and have negative thoughts about self” and the world. • Constant recycling of negative thoughts about self and world How does rumination affect stress response? • Quinn & Joorman (2015) • Included people high and low in trait rumination or “brooding” → this is asking people how much and how often they are doing this (i.e. “broding”), and had people identify as either “yes” or “no” • Had people engage in social stressor task (prepare and give brief talk and then do math in front of person while being videotaped, with tape to be shown to other students the subjects know this, so this is a high judgement situationhigh performance pressure) • Then engage in executive functioning test (nback task) → shown a stream of letters, and then asked what the one before “n” was? a. then two letters before “n”, three, four, five... Results • Brooding increased association between depression and executive functioning errors after stressor Quinn & Joorman, 2015) → Everyone has gone through the stressor(poststressor) how many errors with the participants make? What kind of errors are there: 1. Errors due to depression 2. Errors due to brooding ● People who made more errors when they were more depressed and were high brooders! Not only the stressor, but the emotion and rumination capacity says how well you can do a task. ● Challenges to the Study: Brooding may lead to more problems in executive functioning Overall, • Negative iterative(overandover again) thinking (rumination) contributes to risk for depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, insomnia, heart disease (Watkins, 2008) • Characteristics: – Negative focus – Negative view of self(ie. I can’t handle that, I’m not smart enough, I’m an awful person) – More abstract focus on meanings and implications a. “I suck as a person”that has a lit more ambiguity and interpretation than something more specific like, “I am bad at playing tennis when I play with a 10 year old”. However, • However, positive iterative thinking (mulling over without negative frame) can contribute to: – Anticipatory planning – Adaptive behaviors that reduce threat • Characteristics: – Can also have negative valence (real or potential problem) – But high levels of optimism and positive selfbelief – More concrete and detailoriented focus a. The problem is, when you play that 10 year old, you just cannot beat him at tennis, then you can think carefully about why this is happening, and many things can come up about how to deal with it! (i.e. bribe with ice cream so he can let me win the game). Strategies that appear to help • Focused self distraction (“when a white bear comes to mind, think of a red Volkswagen”) → much less of the rebound effect in that rebound part, and you are less likely to rebound back to the old thing you are trying to suppress Example : Experiment with giving a child one Marshmallow and experimenter comes back in ten minute, sna if the child does not eat the marshmallow, they will get two, but if they eat it, they will not get any more marshmallows: Delayed Gratification a. Think about how yummy the marshmallow looks! b. Look at the marshmallow, it looks like a could these kids did better because they were distracted by the cloud! • Writing about the thought: expression reduces intrusiveness → The people who did writing actually had a better immuno response! → Quite and calm place where you can think about your writing and lay it all out :) • ACT: Acceptance reduces aversive nature of unwanted self thoughts→ 3rd wave in the cognitive behavioral world focusing more on attention. → Rather than trying to suppress negative thoughts, be accepting of the having of the thought: not fighting thoughts, but ALSO not becoming attached to them! Can we train people to use attention to reduce stress? :Attention bias modification (ABM) • Problem: Biased attention to negative stimuli → biased towards tracking a particular type of stimulus • Possible protective mechanism: Biased attention to positive stimuli • ABM: Training to modify attention bias Study of attention bias modification • Elaine Fox and colleagues (2011)can we do it, and does it work the same way for everybody, or does it work for some people more than others? → She was interested in genetics and said that there is a serotonin transporter gene that influences the mechanism that cleans serotonin out of the synapse. → And they wanted to see who had the short versions(not as efficient with what they do) compared to the long versions and then let's put them in two groups and then randomly assign people within the two groups in the two different conditions •Stratified random assignment , based on genetic prescreening, to: • ABM for positive bias • ABM for negative bias Training shows impact, but that differs depending on serotonin transporter gene → If you do the negative bias you have to modify the negative bias much more strongly for those who have the short gene, people who are more responsive to the positive bias also have the low efficiency gene(short gene). → Modification of negative bias Modification of positive bias From Fox et al (2011) What about ABM as a treatment? • Amir, N., Beard, C., Taylor, C. T., Klumpp, H., Elias, J., Burns, M., & Chen, X. (2009). Attention training in individuals with generalized social phobia: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77(5), 961973. doi:10.1037/a0016685 • Our first randomized clinical trial reading – Testing whether ABM interventions can help people with severe social anxiety RCT design RCT (def.): Randomized Clinical Trial • Sampling: consort diagram Assessed eligibility, and put people through a diagnostic work up, and only admitted people who fit into a certain criteria, and put those people into groups, one called AMP and once called ACC Sample: some limits → Two groups are equivalent(relatively) in gender, but does not meet statistical significance levels, but in education them mean is 15 years(i.e. College Juniors) 2530% is the States who graduate College. a. Group is probably more highly educated than other studies done with other groups of people in this country → Ethnicity: groups do not differ on ethnicity, but there are a low percentage of people of color in this study(i.e. AfricanAmerican or Hispanic origin) → Other Disorders: Half of the people had another diagnosis at the same time, not just social anxiety disorder, so it is not specific to social anxiety, but is representative of comorbidity with mental illnesses Experimental condition • Attention modification program (AMP) – 8 20minute sessions over 4 weeks – Very similar to dot probe with faces (disgust, neutral) – But probe always went to neutral face Control condition (counterfactual) • Attention Control Condition (ACC) • All assessment procedures identical • Intervention:one difference: probe went to disgust face 50% of the time • Methods used to insure that no one (investigator, research assistants, participants) knew which condition was considered treatment, and which placebo – Very similar numbers guessed they were in the active treatment group (21% in AMP, 28% in ACC). → more likely to believe they were in the actual group than the people in the experimental group! Results • Both groups show changes over time in anxiety measures, dropped in 4 weeks for both groups! → Is there statistical significance in the change between the two groups? A: Group by time→ Did the groups changed differently by time? difference in the amount of change For all the anxiety measures, everybody got better! → Did diagnose the groups with a social phobia, and this went dow in the study as well! Results • The AMP group shows greater changes over 4 weeks • Also, lower rates of diagnosed social phobia (50% vs 14% remitted) Differences in symptom change PRETEST POSTTEST Effects of attention training on anxiety symptoms AMP ACC Longterm effects? • AMP followed for four months, but ACC not • AMP gains maintained, but we don’t know if ACC would have gotten better as well Meditation as attention training a. controlledfocused on an object of attention b. mindfulness: not a focus persay and rather a way to be open and have an acceptance • Focused meditation (such as TM) • Mindfulness meditation, and think about this in two approaches: Training in ™ – Transcendental Meditation techniques (Charles Alexander) • 1970’s – 1980’s • Focus on specific target (sound, image, sensation) • Continually return to that target as mind wanders • Methods for “calming the mind”, from Indian Vedic tradition • Programs involve training in meditation, establishing daily practice • Evidence for reduction in biological indexes of stress response • Much of the work here by proponents of TM, with few attempts to replicate in independent labs Training in mindfulness • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR: Jon KabatZinn) – Borrowing from Buddhist Vipassana meditation tradition • Uses concentration forms of meditation as initial stage to develop stable base for awareness (often the breath) • Second stage: rather than suppressing awareness of anything but focus, emphasizes awareness of sensations, thoughts, feelings • New goal: an attitude of “friendly curiosity, interest, and acceptance toward all observed phenomena • Emphasizes intention to refrain from evaluation and selfjudgment, and to observe nonjudgmentally when these occur MBSR Program • KabatZinn developed MBSR for patients with chronic pain and stressrelated conditions – 8 week class, 23 hours per week, plus a oneday intensive – Components involve • Body scan: exercise to increase awareness of body sensations • Hatha yoga: again, emphasizing awareness of sensation • Sitting meditation, practicing both concentration and awareness • Walking meditation MBSR Effectiveness • Evidence from controlled trials – Williams et al (2001): trained university staff in MBSR • MBSR group reported reductions in daily hassles, distress, and medical symptoms as compared to controls – Davidson et al (2003) trained biotech company employees in MBSR • Using electroencephalography (EEG), found greater activation in left anterior brain, and less asymmetry between left and right activation (associated in other studies with positive emotions or reduced depression) • Found stronger antibody response to administration of flu vaccine Summary • Stressful circumstances can shape attention – Severity of challenge, cognitive load • Attempts to suppress thoughts can make them worse • Expression/acceptance strategies seem to work better • Attention training methods (ABM, meditation) can be useful for stress reduction
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