Mind your gaze: Examining the relation between trait mindfulness and visual attention to valenced images. Academic Article uri icon


  • Trait mindfulness pertains to one's ability to non-judgmentally attend to experiences. While attention regulation represents a core component of mindfulness, the relation between trait mindfulness and visual attention is unclear. Further, despite established associations between mindfulness and emotion regulation, few studies have examined whether trait mindfulness may be related to attention to emotionally valenced content. Thus, the present study used an eye-tracking paradigm to assess relations between trait mindfulness, emotion regulation and selective visual attention to valenced stimuli. Participants (N = 123; 75.6 % female; 87 % Caucasian; Mage = 19.14 years) completed measures of trait mindfulness, emotion regulation, and engaged in an eye-tracking paradigm in which they viewed sad, threatening, neutral, and happy images simultaneously. Dwell times on images (all categories combined), black space on screen, and each image category were calculated. Bivariate correlations were assessed to determine the relations among mindfulness, emotion regulation, and visual attention, controlling for mood. Trait mindfulness was associated with longer dwell time on images overall, but specifically longer dwell time on threatening and happy images. Although trait mindfulness and emotion regulation were positively associated, emotion regulation was not significantly associated with visual attention. These results suggest that trait mindfulness is associated with visual attention to valenced stimuli, particularly happy and threatening images, and emotion regulation does not account for these relations. These findings add to our understanding of the cognitive mechanisms underlying trait mindfulness.Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • December 2021