Mindfulness Versus Cognitive Reappraisal: the Impact of Mindfulness‑Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on the Early and Late Brain Potential Markers of Emotion Regulation

Rebekah Kaunhoven, Dusana Dorjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives A positive association between trait mindfulness and cognitive reappraisal has previously been found. Using event-related potentials (ERPs), we investigated the impact of an 8-week MBSR course on early and late stages of emotion regulation using mindfulness and reappraisal. Methods Participants were allocated into an 8-week MBSR training group (n = 14 for task reports and self-reports; n = 10 for ERPs) or a wait-list control group (n = 15 for task reports and self-reports; n = 11 for ERPs). Pre and post the 8-week training, participants completed an affective picture viewing task and were instructed to regulate their responses to negative and neutral images using mindfulness, cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression. Results At post-test, only the training group showed significant improvements in self-reported trait mindfulness and trait cognitive reappraisal, together with improvements in the self-reported ability to employ mindfulness and cognitive reappraisal during the task. The training group showed decreased 200–280 ms positivity across all three strategies at post-test. The LPP did not change over time but overall showed more positive mean amplitudes to cognitive appraisal. Conclusions These findings suggest that MBSR may adaptively modulate early attention deployment to emotional stimuli, but modulations of later stages of emotion processing may require more extensive mindfulness training. In addition, conscious employment of mindfulness may require less cognitive effort than cognitive reappraisal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2266-2280
Issue number9
Early online date22 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2021


  • MBSR, Mindfulness, Cognitive Reappraisal, Emotion regulation, Neuroscience, ERP

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