Posted 04.14.2017 | by AMRA
People tend to be happiest when their career and relationship goals align with their motivations. The problem is that people often have relatively little awareness of their unconscious motives. We can infer the existence of unconscious motives based on how a person behaves, but people are rarely able to recognize or describe these motives.
Unconcious motives are formed early in life and tend to be poorly integrated with higher mental processes. Prior research suggests, however, that people who are highly aware of their internal body sensations are also more likely to be aware of their unconscious motives. Could then a mindfulness exercise that increases body awareness also increase awareness of unconscious motives?
Strick & Papies [Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin] tested this possibility by first assessing people’s unconscious motives, and then having them select and rate a set of goals after engaging in either a mindfulness practice called the body scan or a control activity.
Sixty college students (mean age = 22; 75% female) attended a series of three experimental sessions. In the first session, participants made up stories in response to pictures depicting social situations. The content of their stories was then rated by the researchers for the presence of implicit wishes for affiliation (the wish to pursue and maintain relationships) and power (the wish to control and influence others). The participants also rated their conscious desires for affiliation and power using a self-report measure.
In the second session, participants were randomly assigned to either a body scan or control activity. Body scan participants listened to a brief (12-14 minutes) digitally recorded guided body scan in which they were instructed to mindfully attend to body […]