We currently live in a time where people can quickly feel alone, bored, and even depressed. It is therefore important to form new perspectives on the treatment of depression.
In our research, we focused on mindfulness, using our knowledge of punishment and reward. People with depression would have a so-called weighting bias, whereby they would rate neutral stimuli as negative rather than positive. Mindfulness might reduce this weighting bias.
To investigate this hypothesis, we first divide our participants into 2 groups, where 1 group shows no depressive symptoms and the other group does. Afterwards, our participants will listen to an audio fragment. Half of each group will listen to a 15 minute mindfulness clip and the other half will listen to a 15 minute audiobook. After that, the participants will play the Beanfest game, in which they have to rate beans as negative or positive. They get points if they do it right, and get minus points if they don’t rate it right. However, there are also neutral beans in the game! The rating of these beans could imply a weighting bias. Afterwards we will see whether the groups that have listened to a mindfulness fragment show less weighting bias than the groups that listened to the audiobook. And of course whether that weighting bias occurs more in people with depression.
If we could confirm our hypothesis, it would give good perspectives on possible new effective treatments for depression. And especially in this day and age, that is extremely important and relevant!