Single Experience and Self Implicit Association Test (SES-IAT)
The SES-IAT (Hadash, Plonsker, Vago, & Bernstein, 2106) is an implicit, behavioral measure of Experiential Self-Referential Processing (ESRP) – the cognitive association of present moment subjective experience (e.g., sensations, emotions, thoughts) with the self; and Experiential Selfless Processing (ESLP) – processing present moment subjective experience without self-referentiality. It is designed to measure ESRP and ESLP by manipulating a specific present moment experience (e.g. an emotion), while measuring participants' cognitive association between her/his self and the manipulated experience using the Single Category-Implicit Association Test (SC-IAT; Karpinski & Steinman, 2006).
We developed and tested a version of this task measuring ESRP and ESLP of fear – the Fear SES-IAT. In the Fear SES-IAT participants are instructed to sort target words presented on a computer monitor into three categories – me, fear and office equipment – by pressing one of two keys on every trial. The categorization task is conducted in two stages: In the congruent stage, the categories me and fear are assigned the same response key; whereas in the incongruent stage, they are assigned different response keys. Fear is elicited using frightening videos presented before each test block, and maintained by monotonic scary background sounds played during test blocks. The SES-IAT scores are computed using Karpinski and Steinmans' (2006) SC-IAT D-score algorithm, and subtracting congruent from incongruent blocks.
We found experimental and correlational evidence suggesting that the fear SES-IAT measures ESLP of fear and two forms of ESRP – identification with fear and negative self-referential evaluation of fear (Hadash et al., 2106). High positive D-scores represent identification with fear – experiencing fear as an integral part of the self; Low negative D-scores represent negative self-referential evaluation of fear – not wanting fear; and zero-level D-scores represent ESLP of fear – processing fear without self-referentiality.
Hadash, Y., Plonsker, R., Vago, D., & Bernstein, A. (2016). Experiential Self-Referential and Selfless Processing in Mindfulness and Mental Health: Conceptual Model and Implicit Measurement Methodology. Psychological Assessment.
The Tolerance of Negative Affective States Scale (TNASS) is a novel self-report measure designed to assess the extent to which individuals are tolerant of multiple negatively-valenced affective states. The 21-items reflect 3 synonymns for the following affective states – sadness, anger, fear, disgust, embarrassment, guilt, shame, and anxiety – as well as the nonspecific state of distress. Participants rate each emotion item using a 5-point Likert-type scale (1 = very intolerant to 5 = very tolerant). The measure provides participants with a working definition of tolerance and intolerance of emotion [“Tolerance is the ability to withstand or endure an emotion. For example, a person who is tolerant of an emotion is able to feel that emotion without trying to avoid, stop, or replace it.” “In contrast, intolerance is the inability to withstand or endure feeling an emotion. For example, a person who is intolerant of an emotion may try to avoid, stop, or replace it.”].
The Tolerance of Negative Affective States – Behavioral Paradigm (TNAS-B) elicits disgust, sadness, fear, anger, embarrassment, negative affect, positive affect, and an emotionally-neutral state; and measures “overt”- (latency to discontinue presentation of emotionally-evocative stimuli) and “covert”-behavioral TNAS (eye movement towards/away from emotionally-evocative stimuli) of elicited affective states, and the subjective intensity of these affective states.
Bernstein, A., Gavish, D.#, & Zvielli, A.# (Under Review). Tolerance of Negative Affective States (TNAS): Insights about the nature of emotional tolerance from a novel behavioral paradigm.
*Contact A. Bernstein for details if interested in TNAS-B*
The State Mindful Scale (SMS; Tanay & Bernstein, in press). The SMS is a 21-item questionnaire in which respondents indicate on a 5-point Likert-type scale (1 = not at all to 5 = very well) their perceived level of awareness and attention to their present experience during a specific period of time (i.e., past 15 minutes) and context (e.g., following mindfulness meditation or other activity). The SMS is a novel measure of state-level present moment-to-moment mindfulness, recently developed to index mindfulness as conceptualized within Buddhist and some contemporary cognitive-behavioral scholarship. The SMS is based on a unidimensional conceptual model of state mindfulness entailing two inter-related levels of the construct and process. The first level is focused on the objects of mindful attention (i.e., “what” a person attends to). This level includes the two main domains of events or objects of attention of which one may be mindful -- physical sensations (comprising Satipatthana Sutta body and physical sensations, Sample items: "I noticed physical sensations come and go", "I clearly physically felt what was going on in my body") and mental events (comprising Satipatthana Sutta consciousness and mental objects which include emotions, patterns of thoughts and any other internal mental event. Sample items: "I noticed pleasant and unpleasant emotions", "I noticed thoughts come and go"). The second level is focused on the qualities of mindfulness as a meta-cognitive state (i.e., “how” a person attends). Five qualities of mindfulness were derived from Buddhist texts describing mindfulness as a mental state, including: (1) awareness, (2) sensitivity, (3) deliberate attention to the present moment, (4) intimacy or closeness to one’s subjective experience, and (5) curiosity. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses supported a hierarchical two-factor solution entailing one higher-order state mindfulness factor. Cross-sectional as well as controlled experimental and prospective research demonstrated the convergent, discriminant, and incremental convergent validity of SMS as well as context-specific prospective stability, construct validity, incremental sensitivity to change, and incremental predictive validity of the SMS.