خوش بینی و تصویرسازی ذهنی: نشانگر شناختی ممکن برای ترویج رفاه؟
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|29642||2013||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Psychiatry Research, Volume 206, Issue 1, 30 March 2013, Pages 56–61
Optimism is associated with a range of benefits not only for general well-being, but also for mental and physical health. The development of psychological interventions to boost optimism derived from cognitive science would have the potential to provide significant public health benefits, yet cognitive markers of optimism are little understood. The current study aimed to take a first step in this direction by identifying a cognitive marker for optimism that could provide a modifiable target for innovative interventions. In particular we predicted that the ability to generate vivid positive mental imagery of the future would be associated with dispositional optimism. A community sample of 237 participants completed a survey comprising measures of mental imagery and optimism, and socio-demographic information. Vividness of positive future imagery was significantly associated with optimism, even when adjusting for socio-demographic factors and everyday imagery use. The ability to generate vivid mental imagery of positive future events may provide a modifiable cognitive marker of optimism. Boosting positive future imagery could provide a cognitive target for treatment innovations to promote optimism, with implications for mental health and even physical well-being.
Why is it that some people see the future as bright and full of potential, whereas for others it holds only uncertainty or apprehension? Dispositional optimism refers to the tendency to have generalized positive expectancies about the future (Carver et al., 2010). Most people show an “optimism bias”, expecting positive events rather than negative events to happen in the future, even without supporting evidence (Weinstein, 1980). It has been argued that optimism is adaptive and an important product of human evolution (Sharot, 2011). An increasing body of evidence suggests that optimism has an impact not only on general well-being, but also on mental and physical health (Carver et al., 2010). Longitudinal studies have demonstrated that higher levels of optimism are associated with lower cumulative incidence of depression symptoms over a 15-year period (Giltay et al., 2006b), with reduced risk of future cardiovascular disease in a range of populations (Giltay et al., 2006a, Tindle et al., 2009 and Boehm et al., 2011), and even with reduced rate of death (Giltay et al., 2004). Optimism is thus linked to positive outcomes in areas that represent huge public burdens such as depression and cardiovascular disease (World Health Organization, 2008). In the context of the need to develop inexpensive and accessible treatment options (Simon and Ludman, 2009), optimism presents a target for a low-intensity psychological interventions in these high-priority areas. Although some potential psychological interventions to increase optimism have been described (e.g. Riskind et al., 1996 and Meevissen et al., 2011), the development of novel interventions for optimism is most likely to be successful if it is rooted in an understanding of the basic underlying processes, and this is currently lacking. Developing an understanding of the cognitive and emotional processes underlying optimism using an “experimental medicine” approach (Rutter and Plomin, 2009) could drive more targeted treatment innovation. This corresponds to the “basic science discovery” phase in the development of new interventions (Thornicroft et al., 2011). A potential neural substrate for optimism has been suggested. Sharot et al. (2007) found increased activation in the right anterior cingulate cortex (rACC) when participants imagined positive future events, compared to when they imagined negative future events. Furthermore, this relative level of rACC activation was greater for participants with higher levels of self-reported optimism. While the identification of brain regions per se does not easily lend itself to novel treatment development, this study suggests a potentially modifiable cognitive marker: the paradigm used involved the generation of mental imagery, that is, imagining autobiographical episodes. We propose that a candidate cognitive marker for optimism is the ability to generate vivid mental images of positive events occurring in the future. Imagining the future may play a key role in our day-to-day functioning and has been the subject of much recent research interest (e.g. Schacter et al., 2008, Addis et al., 2009, Crisp et al., 2011 and D'Argembeau et al., 2011). Compared to verbal thought, mental imagery has a powerful effect on emotion (Holmes and Mathews, 2005 and Holmes et al., 2008), and thus mental images may be a particularly powerful form of future thinking. What evidence might support our hypothesis? Sharot et al. (2007) found that participants reporting higher levels of optimism were more likely to expect the positive events they imagined to happen closer in the future than negative events, and were more likely to imagine them with a greater sense of “pre-experiencing”. On the other hand, people with depressed mood showed reduced ability to generate vivid mental images of positive future events (Holmes et al., 2008). Further, Morina et al. (2011) found that patients with major depressive disorder and those with anxiety disorders showed reduced ability to generate vivid mental images of positive future events compared to healthy controls, and also rated the events as less likely to occur in the near future. Support for a link between imagery of the future and optimism also comes from experimental studies that have investigated the potential of imagery tasks to boost optimism. Meevissen et al. (2011) investigated the impact on optimism of practising a “Best Possible Self” (BPS) imagery exercise every day for 2 weeks. This built on work by Fosnaugh et al. (2010) demonstrating that optimism was manipulable in an experimental setting, and a subsequent study by Peters et al. (2010) that showed an immediate impact on optimism of engaging in a BPS imagery exercise. The BPS imagery exercise involved imagining a future self in which everything had turned out in the most optimal way. In the study by Meevissen et al. (2011), participants were asked to repeat the imagery exercise for 5 min each day at home over a 2-week period. In a control condition participants instead carried out the imagery exercise about their daily activities in the past 24 h. Participants in the BPS imagery condition (n=28) showed significant increases in self-reported optimism over the 2 weeks, whereas participants in the control condition (n=26) did not show this increase. This therefore provides some evidence that engaging in positive future imagery may lead to increases in optimism in the short term, whereas engaging in past imagery does not. There is therefore convergent evidence from both ends of the optimism spectrum to suggest that positive future imagery may be important, and from experimental studies that deliberate engagement in positive future imagery can increase optimism. However, a fundamental part of the puzzle is missing. That is, is optimism in fact associated with greater ability to generate vivid mental images of positive events in the future? At first glance it may sound self-evident that people who can more easily imagine a positive future would be more optimistic, but strikingly this has not been put to the test, and in fact the widely used measure of optimism, the Life Orientation Test-Revised (LOT-R; Scheier et al., 1994), makes no mention of positive imagination per se. Even in the study by Meevissen et al. (2011) described above, as both the experimental conditions involved engaging in imagery, the study cannot demonstrate whether the imagery component of the exercise was crucial for the effects of the task (as opposed to simply thinking about positive futures), or whether the increase in optimism observed in the experimental group was the result of specific cognitive changes such as increased accessibility of positive future imagery. The key hypothesised link between optimism and vividness of positive future imagery therefore remains untested. The current study aimed to test the hypothesis that within a community sample, higher levels of optimism would be associated with the ability to generate more vivid mental imagery of positive future events, as measured by vividness ratings on the Prospective Imagery Test (PIT). We predicted that this relationship would remain significant when adjusting for other potentially confounding variables. The study further aimed to extend the findings of Sharot et al. (2007) by investigating the relationship between the sense of likelihood and pre-experiencing of future imagery and optimism, by adding ratings of likelihood and experiencing to the PIT.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The PIT is a measure of deliberately generated positive and negative mental images of potential future events. Participants were presented with 10 positive and 10 negative future scenarios and generated a mental image of each. Participants rated the vividness of each image on a scale from 1 (no image at all) to 5 (very vivid). To obtain further information about the quality of imagery generated (cf. Sharot et al., 2007), participants rated their perceived “likelihood” of each event occurring in the near future from 1 (not at all) to 7 (completely), and to what extent they felt that they were “experiencing” each event while imagining it from 1 (not at all) to 7 (completely). In the current study we were primarily interested in responses to the positive items, and included the negative items to control for general ability to generate future imagery. As internal consistency had not previously been reported for subscales of the PIT, we calculated Cronbach's α for our sample. All subscales demonstrated good internal consistency (0.83<α<0.90).