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People Who Accept Their Own Emotions Are Less Affected By Positive Feedback

Update Date: Nov 02, 2013 04:56 PM EDT

People who are in tune with their own thoughts and emotions are less affected by positive rewards according to a new study. 

"These findings suggest that mindful individuals may be less affected by immediate rewards and fits well with the idea that mindful individuals are typically less impulsive" Rimma Teper, PhD, study author from UTSC, said in a news release.  

"Trait mindfulness is characterized by an ability to recognize and accept one's thoughts and emotions without judgment," according to UTSC. "Mindful individuals are much better at letting their feelings and thoughts go rather than getting carried away."

Researchers used electroencephalography (EEG) to document the brain activity of the participants as they finished a reaction time task on the computer. Researchers wanted to observe the brain response of individuals who received positive, neutral and negative feedback.

Researchers found that mindful people in the study responded less to positive rewarding compared to other people. Researchers also found that in documenting their neural response there was less of a difference between neutral versus rewarding feedback.

"Individuals who are problem gamblers for instance show more brain reactivity to immediate rewards, because they are typically more impulsive," said Teper.

Researchers believe that the findings further prove that accepting one's emotions has a lot to do with your mental well-being.

 "Many studies, including our own past work, have shown that people who meditate, and mindful individuals exhibit improved self-control," said Teper's PhD supervisor and UTSC psychology professor Michael Inzlicht. "If mindful individuals are also less affected by immediate rewards, as our study suggests, this may help explain why."

The findings are published in the journal Emotion.

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