, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 1615–1622 | Cite as

The Impact of Mindfulness and Perspective-Taking on Implicit Associations Toward the Elderly: a Relational Frame Theory Account

  • Darren J. Edwards
  • Ciara McEnteggart
  • Yvonne Barnes-Holmes
  • Rob Lowe
  • Nicky Evans
  • Roger Vilardaga


Perspective-taking interventions have been shown to improve attitudes toward social outgroups. In contrast, similar interventions have produced opposite effects (i.e., enhanced negativity) in the context of attitudes toward elderly groups. The current study investigated whether a brief perspective-taking intervention enhanced with mindfulness would be associated with less negativity than perspective-taking alone. One hundred five participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 conditions which comprised of an active or control perspective-taking component and an active or control mindfulness component. Participants were then administered an Implicit Associated Test to assess implicit biases toward the elderly. Results supported previous findings in that the condition in which perspective-taking was active but mindfulness was inactive was associated with greater negative implicit bias toward the elderly; however, some of this negativity decreased in the active perspective-taking and active mindfulness condition. The current findings and other mixed effects that have emerged from perspective-taking interventions are discussed from a Relational Frame Theory perspective.


Implicit association test Perspective-taking Mindfulness Relational frame theory 


Author Contributions

DJE designed and operationalized the study, conducted the data analyses, wrote the majority paper, as well as edited the final draft. CM collaborated by helping with the wording of the RFT components of the study, and conducted an independent analysis of the raw data which confirmed the findings. YBH collaborated with CM in the wording of the RFT components of the study and aided in the independent analysis to confirm the findings. RL helped with some parts of the design and writing of the paper. NE collected the data, conducted the pre-analysis of the D scores, as well as assisted in some of the writing. RV collaborated by helping with the writing and implementation of the RFT theory as part of the conclusions.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Darren J. Edwards
    • 1
  • Ciara McEnteggart
    • 2
  • Yvonne Barnes-Holmes
    • 2
  • Rob Lowe
    • 1
  • Nicky Evans
    • 1
  • Roger Vilardaga
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Interprofessional Health StudiesSwansea UniversitySwanseaUK
  2. 2.Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Duke UniversityDurhamUSA

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