The Ignatian Examen, Self-Transcendent Positive Emotions, Eudaimonic Motivation, and Interpersonal Processes
Mindfulness has been the most robustly examined contemplative practice, with empirical studies on the topic exponentially increasing. Despite the popularity of mindfulness, other types of contemplation have remained unstudied. The current study examined a specific contemplative practice originating from the Catholic Jesuit tradition, the Ignatian examen, and its impact on self-transcendent positive emotions, eudaimonic motivation, and the moderating role of autonomous interpersonal style on these effects. It additionally examined a specific self-transcendent positive emotion, elevation, and its relation to interpersonal relationship goals. Prior to the current study, there have been no known empirical studies on the impact of practicing the Ignatian examen. The study found that daily elevation was associated with more compassionate interpersonal goals, in the context of completing the Ignatian examen. It also found mixed results for how practicing the examen influences how much people experience and value self-transcendent positive emotions. There were not significant results related to change in eudaimonic motivation or autonomy as a moderator, but there were interesting main effects of autonomy, indicating that those who valued autonomy more experienced STPE less often. This study highlights the utility of studying the Ignatian examen, and contemplative practices outside of mindfulness more generally, as they can influence domains of human experience. The exploratory analyses suggest that there are many directions for future research that may be fruitful, particularly related to autonomous interpersonal style.