Mindfulness as a Moderator of the Effects of Priming on Mood
Many studies have demonstrated the unconscious nature of information processing, specifically in terms of subliminal priming. Mindfulness, is in part concerned with the ways individuals attend to and react to stimuli. The current study sought to understand whether mindfulness moderates the effect of subliminal priming on mood. My methods involved subliminally priming participants with either a positive or negative mood. Following this, participants completed a number of individual difference measures, including ratings of their present explicit and implicit affect and trait mindfulness. I suggested two (competing) hypotheses regarding explicit reports of mood and facets of mindfulness. First, I hypothesized that participants reporting higher levels of acceptance/nonjudgment would be less affected by the subliminal primes. Alternately, participants reporting higher levels of awareness would be more affected by the primes. Results indicated no interaction effect of acceptance and priming condition on affect. However, I found an interaction effect of awareness and priming. Among those in the negative priming condition, higher levels of awareness were related to less negative affect (i.e., more positive affect), suggesting that those higher in awareness were less affected by the prime. This finding was contrary to my hypothesis (i.e., I predicted that this effect would be found for those higher in acceptance, not awareness). Results from this study suggest that awareness may an important facet in helping to prevent changes in mood from negative stimuli.