Brief mindfulness induction could reduce aggression after depletion

Conscious Cogn. 2015 May;33:125-34. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2014.12.008. Epub 2015 Jan 3.


Many experiments have shown that one's ability to refrain from acting on aggressive impulses is likely to decrease following a prior act of self-control. This temporary state of self-control failure is known as ego-depletion. Although mindfulness is increasingly used to treat and manage aggressive behaviour, the extent to which mindfulness may counteract the depletion effect on aggression is yet to be determined. This study (N=110) investigated the effect of a laboratory induced one-time mindfulness meditation session on aggression following depletion. Aggression was assessed by the intensity of aversive noise blast participants delivered to an opponent on a computerised task. Depleted participants who received mindfulness induction behaved less aggressively than depleted participants with no mindfulness induction. Mindfulness also improved performance on a second measure of self-control (i.e., handgrip perseverance); however, this effect was independent of depletion condition. Motivational factors may help explain the dynamics of mindfulness, self-control, and aggression.

Keywords: Aggressive behaviour; Ego-depletion; Mindfulness induction; Self-control.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mindfulness* / methods
  • Motivation
  • Psychological Tests
  • Self-Control / psychology
  • Young Adult