Implicitly activating mindfulness: Does trait self‑control moderate its effect on aggressive behaviour?


Objectives. Previous research shows that a novel experimental paradigm consisting of implicitly activating (“priming”) concepts associated with mindfulness through a scrambled sentence task yields positive social effects on cognition and affect. Yet, the effects of this paradigm on social behaviour warrant further investigation. As several studies link mindfulness to lower aggression, aggression represents a promising candidate to investigate within the current paradigm. Furthermore, research has demonstrated that personality traits—such as trait mindfulness—moderate the effect of the mindfulness prime, highlighting the importance of identifying potential moderators. Method. In an exploratory Study 1, we investigated which of several personality variables most meaningfully related to the priming mindfulness procedure. In confirmatory follow-up studies, we attempted to replicate those results using the same methodology but using larger samples and only a few measures of interest (Study 2) or additional measures (Study 3). Results. Self-control emerged as the only meaningful moderator of the effect of the mindfulness prime on behaviour. Accordingly, we specifically tested the interaction between self-control and the mindfulness priming procedure in the two follow-up studies. The findings regarding the role of self-control from the first study did not replicate in the subsequent studies. Conclusions. Despite promising initial results, our confirmatory follow-up findings suggest that trait self-control does not moderate the effect of implicitly activating mindfulness on aggressive behaviour. Preregistration. Study 1 was not preregistered. Studies 2 and 3 were preregistered on OSF: and

Rémi Thériault
Rémi Thériault
PhD Student (Social Psychology)

My research interests include social/implicit cognition, altruism, and dreams.