Mental habits: Metacognitive reflection on negative self-thinking


Verplanken, B., Friborg, O., Wang, C. E., Trafimow, D. and Woolf, K., 2007. Mental habits: Metacognitive reflection on negative self-thinking. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92 (3), pp. 526-541.

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In 8 studies, the authors investigated negative self-thinking as a mental habit. Mental content (negative self-thoughts) was distinguished from mental process (negative self-thinking habit). The negative self-thinking habit was assessed with a metacognitive instrument (Habit Index of Negative Thinking; HINT) measuring whether negative self-thoughts occur often, are unintended, are initiated without awareness, are difficult to control, and are self-descriptive. Controlling for negative cognitive content, the authors found that negative self-thinking habit was distinct from rumination and mindfulness, predicted explicit as well as implicit low self-esteem (name letter effect), attenuated a positivity bias in the processing of self-relevant stimuli, and predicted anxiety and depressive symptoms 9 months later. The results support the assumption that metacognitive reflection on negative self-thinking as mental habit may play an important role in self-evaluative processes.


Item Type Articles
CreatorsVerplanken, B., Friborg, O., Wang, C. E., Trafimow, D. and Woolf, K.
DepartmentsFaculty of Humanities & Social Sciences > Psychology
ID Code9333
Additional InformationID number: ISI:000244629500010


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