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Post-Depletion Aggression Restrained: Replicability of Brief Mindfulness Induction In Indonesian Sample

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Mindfulness practice is being promoted in Western countries as a means to improve one's ability to restrain aggression under "depleted" condition. The applicability of this framework in non-Western settings is yet to be determined. In
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   Jurnal Psikologi ISSN 0215-8884 (print) Volume 46, Nomor 1, 2019: 1 –  18 ISSN 2460-867X (Online) DOI: 10.22146/jpsi.36103 https://jurnal.ugm.ac.id/jpsi    JURNAL PSIKOLOGI 1 Post-Depletion Aggression Restrained: Replicability of Brief Mindfulness Induction In Indonesian Sample Cleoputri Yusainy 1,2 & Wahyu Wicaksono 2 1 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Brawijaya 2 Placebo Research Group Abstract.  Mindfulness practice is being promoted in Western countries as a means to improve one’s ability to restrain aggression under “depleted” condition. The applicability of this framework in non-Western settings is yet to be determined. In this experiment ( N   = 119 Indonesian undergraduates), we directly replicated Yusainy and Lawrence (2015) study with native British sample examining the effect of laboratory-induced mindfulness on post-depletion aggression (i.e., blast intensity in an adapted competitive reaction-time task). Similar results were obtained, in that mindfulness induction moderated the link between ego-depletion and (i) blast intensity under low/moderate provocation, and (ii) self-control performance after the aggression task. Notably, the benefit of mindfulness was also indicated in our additional aggression measure of the late deliverance of maximum blast in depleted females. While Western operationalization of mindfulness operates quite similarly across cultures, the inclusion of a subtle measure of aggression appears to be crucial for Indonesian females. Keywords:   aggressive behaviour; cross-cultural replication; ego-depletion; induction; mindfulness self-control “One could 1  say that there are three ways to get rid of anger: Kill the opponent, kill yourself, or kill the anger. Which one makes most sense to you?” (Allan Wallace). This quotation points out one’s  perplexity in dealing with angry feelings and refraining from aggressive responding. Some of us would retaliate against the provoking agent. Others could prefer taking the anger out on innocent others or on inanimate objects. A few might even deliberately hurt themselves, presumably to limit the accumulation of hostile thoughts towards the provocateurs (Yusainy & Lawrence, 2014). While these acts could temporary make us feel better, they do not get the 1   Address for corespondence: cleo.yusainy@ub.ac.id   “anger fire” out of the system. In fact, venting anger retains the angry feelings active in the memory –  similar to adding fuel to the flame (Bushman, 2002). This process is commonly followed by rumination, a repetitive and uncontrollable thoughts about one’s own negative experiences (Denson, 2013). Aggression in children, adults, and animals is dichotomised into “reactive aggression” encompassing defensive responses to situational triggers vs. “proactive aggression” in the form of deliberate actions being controlled by external reinforcements (Crick & Dodge, 1996; see also Baron & Richardson, 1994;  YUSAINY   & WICAKSONO 2 JURNAL PSIKOLOGI Berkowitz, 1993; Geen, 2001). Although these two types of aggression can be combined in the same action, their neural pathways are different, thus supporting the nature and evolution of aggression (Bartholow, 2018; Wrangman, 2017). The current study focuses on reactive aggression, since this type of aggression is generally more sensitive to interventions (McEllistrem, 2004). Specifically, we measure reactive aggression when the physical harm on a target is delivered face-to-face or where the perpetrator can be identified (i.e., direct physical aggression: Björkqvist, Lagerspetz, & Kaukianen, 1992). The ultimate goals of aggression may vary but the immediate intention to harm others who are motivated to avoid the aggressive actions is critical as a proximate goal (Anderson & Bushman, 2002). Aggression occurs when a combination of personal and situational factors triggers angry feelings, hostile thoughts, and arousal levels which influence subsequent appraisal and decision processes (Allen, Anderson, & Bushman, 2018). Consequently, the impact of an aggression-triggering situation (e.g., provocation) could be exaggerated or undermined by one’s ability to alter, override, or manipulate aggression-related feelings and thoughts. Indeed, the inability to control oneself is a leading factor in criminality and violence (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990). Lower level of self-control is also associated with difficulty in identifying and describing one’s own feelings (Yusainy, 2017). In contrast, rates of behavioural problems and criminality over life-course development are lower amongst self-controlled individuals (Caspi, 2000; Moffitt et al., 2011). Exerting good self-control, however, requires sacrifice. The prominent strength model (Baumeister, Bratslavsky, Muraven, & Tice, 1998; Baumeister, Heatherton, & Tice, 1994) views self-control as a common resource that becomes depleted with use (see Baumeister, Vohs, & Tice, 2007) . This “ego - depletion” effect restricts initiation of self-control acts in the attentional neural system (Inzlich & Gutsell, 2007), thereby making the self temporary incapable of performing further, seemingly unrelated self-control acts. Various domains of self-control have  been investigated within the sequential-task paradigm to suggest evidence for the strength model proposition (see Hagger, Wood, Chris, & Chatzisarantis, 2010). Supports for the strength model in the aggression literature is provided through many aggression paradigms, ranging from negative evaluation task (Stucke & Baumeister, 2006), competitive reaction-time task (Vohs, Glass, Maddox, & Markman, 2011), uncomfortable pose task towards intimate partner (Finkel, DeWall, Slotter, Oaten, & Foshee, 2009), and inappropriate use of force by police officers (Staller, Christiansen, Zaiser, Körner, & Cole, 2017). In the aforementioned studies, higher levels of aggression were found amongst depleted participants. It appears that a temporary failure of self-control is the proximal antecedent of aggression (Denson, DeWall, & Finkel, 2012). When self-control resource is at risk, mindfulness practices could increase sensitivity to the “in -the- moment” expe -riences signalling the need for control (Teper, Segal, & Inzlicht, 2013). Mindfulness-based interventions are now  being integrated as a part of the “third - wave” cognitive -behavioural approaches for aggression in Western countries (Howells, Tennant, Day, & Elmer, 2010; Ireland & Batool, 2018; Shonin, Gordon, Slade, & Griffiths, 2013). Mindfulness can  be seen a mode  of awareness compromising regulatory attention in the manner of  POST-DEPLETION AGGRESSION RESTRAINED  JURNAL PSIKOLOGI 3 curiosity, openness, and acceptance (Bishop et al ., 2004). This definition emphasises the state-like quality of mindfulness. Preliminary evidence for the moderation of laboratory induced mindfulness on post-depletion aggression was shown by Yusainy and Lawrence (2015). In their study, native British undergraduates who performed an attention control task (as the depleting task) followed by a mindfulness induction task delivered less intense noise to opponents in an adapted competitive reaction-time task (CRTT: Taylor, 1967). Their experiment fills the gap in the literature for the immediate impact of mindfulness on aggression after depletion in the absence of extensive mindfulness training. They also found that mindfulness amplified performance on a subsequent self-control measure. The present study aims to replicate Yusainy and Lawrence framework in an Eastern culture sample, specifically Indonesia. As a highly collectivist culture, there is a preference in Indonesia towards the  Javanese value of prohibiting rude conduct, shouting, or open conflict (Koentjaraningrat, 1985). Conflict resolution through direct communication is seen as unacceptable since it could endanger relationships and group harmony (Hofstede, Hofstede, & Minkov, 2010; see Hofstede’s insights  https://www. hofstede-insights.com/country-comparison/indonesia/). Cross-cultural studies support that compared to those from individualistic cultures, Indonesian children less likely displayed direct aggressive acts (Bergeron & Schneider, 2005; Bergmüller, 2013; French, Jansen, & Pidada, 2002). Characteristics of mature Javanese individuals include the effort to maintain internal and external harmony as well as the existence of awareness and control (Trimulyaningsih, 2017). As members of cultures that promote harmonious inter-dependence typically engage in daily self-controlled interaction (Markus & Kitayama, 1991), they may become better at self-control and less prone to ego-depletion (Seeley & Gardner, 2003). In line with this proposal, our recent cross-country research ( k  = 23, total N   = 2,141) directly replicated the standardised sequential-task paradigm and found that for the Indonesian sample ( n  = 156), the size of ego-depletion effect on task performance was relatively small (see Hagger et al., 2016). Whether this insignificant ego-depletion effect also occurs in the context of a more complex experimental manipulations (i.e., involving both  measures of aggressive behaviour and performance in self-control) is yet unknown. More crucially, the concept of mindfulness srcinates from Eastern contemplative tradition of remembering to pay attention to and be aware of the present moment (Wallace & Bodhi, 2006). Given that most mindfulness studies are conducted using Western populations (Van Dam et al., 2018), it is necessary to test its efficacy on post-depletion aggression  beyond the Western sample. Direct replication is necessary to provide some evidence on the applicability of this framework with a different population of participants (Yusainy, 2015). As a direct replication of Yusainy and Lawrence (2015) research, the current study employs their version of the CRTT as a method of aggression. The CRTT is one of the most popular laboratory aggression paradigms (McCarthy & Elson, 2018). In this computer-based reaction-time task, participants are allowed to deliver a blast of noise to an opponent each time they win a trial. Direct physical aggression is  YUSAINY   & WICAKSONO 4 JURNAL PSIKOLOGI measured by the intensity of participants’ noise blasts   (Elson, Mohseni, Breuer, Scharkow, & Quandt, 2014; Giancola & Parrot, 2008). To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the CRTT in Indonesian sample. To demonstrate some validity for the paradigm, the blast intensity delivered by  participants should increase with addi-tional provocation (i.e., blast intensity received by  participant across levels of provocation). Also, as in the previous British sample, male participants here should deliver higher levels of blast intensity under conditions of no and low/moderate provocation (for sex differences in aggression, see e.g., Archer, 2004; Bettencourt & Miller, 1996; Giancola & Parrot, 2008). Notably, an additional aggression measure in the form the delay duration  before the maximum blast was delivered the opponent in the CRTT (i.e., maximum latency; see Lawrence & Hutchinson, 2014) is included in the current study. Giancola and Parrot (2008) suggested that when factors such as cultural values and sex role norm inhibit aggressive impulses, implicit aggression (shock duration in the CRTT) is more likely than explicit aggression (shock intensity). The subtleness of shock duration is arguably similar to maximum blast latency. In this way, the moderation of mindfulness induction can be explored on the link between ego-depletion and different forms of aggression. Following the srcinal study, we incorporate a second measure of performance in self-control, specifically physical stamina (i.e., a handgrip task). Squeezing a handgrip has been identified as one of the frequently used dependent tasks in the sequential-task paradigm (Hagger et al., 2010). While depleted participants’ duration of squeezing the handgrip should decrease relative to  baseline, we also expect this effect to be less evident amongst those who then receive mindfulness induction. Altogether, we predict that the benefits of mindfulness found in Yusainy and Lawrence (2015) study with British participants (i.e., reductions in post-depletion blast intensity and improvement in physical stamina) may occur in our sample, with an addition of reductions maximum blast latency in the CRTT. However it is also plausible for the pattern of findings to differ from the srcinal study, given that sample in Indonesia may not be familiar with mindfulness procedures derived from Western conceptualisation. Methods Participants and procedures Our study was approved by local ethics committee. We directly replicated the design and protocols from Yusainy and Lawrence (2015; see Fig. 1). G*Power 3.1. calculated a sample size of 128 for medium effect ( d  = .25) from a 2 (ego-depletion: depletion vs. no depletion] X 2 (mindfulness induction: mindfulness induction vs. no mindfulness induction) condition and 1 covariate (participant’s sex) at the power of .80 and an alpha level of .05 (http://www.gpower.hhu.de/). With reference to the srcinal study, a sample size of 110 is sufficient. Our study was able to recruit 124 undergraduates from a large university in East Java, Indonesia. These participants were assigned randomly based on sex to one of the four experimental conditions. Two participants fell asleep during the mindfulness induction task and three of them expressed spontaneous suspicions to the CRTT, resulting in 119 final participants (60 females; mean age =  POST-DEPLETION AGGRESSION RESTRAINED  JURNAL PSIKOLOGI 5 20.40, SD  = 1.24). None of them had recently encountered formal mindfulness practices. As in the srcinal study, we recruited potential participants via posters/leaflets on campus for a study aimed to examine the way people perform in a competitive reaction-time task. They were given small amounts of inconvenient allowance and a chance to win an incentive of Rp 150.000,00 for the fastest participants’ reaction -time. The rest of the procedure followed Yusainy and Lawrence (2015) study.  Materials and apparatus Two postgraduate Indonesian students translated the self-reported measures and experimental protocols from the srcinal study, and a commercial translation service  back-translated the materials into English and checked against the srcinal transcript. We used two pilot participants for pre-testing these adapted measures. For the depletion task (i.e., attention control), we told participants that they would be making judgments (measured by three dummy questions) about a local woman being interviewed off-camera. While the 6-mins video of interview was presented, a series of common one-syllable words appeared at the bottom of the screen ( n  = 36 words; 10 s each). Some words were translated directly in accordance to their meaning in the srcinal study (e.g., “glue” - Indonesian: lem ; “tire” - ban ). Other words could not be translated into one-syllable words (e.g., “ten” –   sepuluh ; “book” –  buku; “shoe” –   sepatu ) so they were replaced with comparable Indonesian words (e.g., nol ; map ; sol ). Instructions of to not read or look at these words were given to participants in the depletion condition only. The two questions measuring depletion condition (i.e., difficulty and effort) were positively correlated ( r  = .46,  p  < .0001). A translated audio instruction from the ‘‘ mindfulness of  body and breath’’ (Williams & Penman, 2011) was given to participants in the mindfulness induction condition. The no mindfulness induction participants listened to two neutral educational excerpts and then arranged spontaneous words from a scrabble set. The task for the no mindfulness induction condition could be considered an active “neutral” task because participants may compose the letters in any possible ways they could think of without obeying typical scrabble game rules. Arguably, this type of task does not include uncontrollable and social-evaluative elements related to stress (e.g., Dickerson & Kemeny, 2004), but still requires comparable amount of concentration to that in the mindfulness condition. Both manipulation lasted for 15 minutes. We obtained adequate reliability for the state measure of mindfulness (Toronto Mindfulness Scale (TMS): Lau et al., 2006) in terms of curiosity (   = .76; 6 items) and decentering (   = .62; 7 items). Curiosity and decentering were positively correlated ( r  = .61,  p  < .0001). The aggression task of adapted CRTT was presented using E-prime software as a series of reaction-time trials, in which participants have to hit the spacebar on the computer keyboard when a white circle stimuli appeared on the screen. Winner of each trial could select a level ranging from 0 (no blast) through to 8 (maximum blast). Participant experienced no provocation (first win trial), low/moderate provocation (blast levels 1-4; 40 trials), and high provocation (blast levels 5-8; 40 trials) from a bogus opponent. In addition to blast intensity, the current study also recorded the maximum blast latency (i.e., the number of trials participants waited before delivering the maximum blast) in the CRTT.
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