Publication Date

2018-06-12

Availability

Embargoed

Embargo Period

2020-06-11

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2018-02-20

First Committee Member

Amishi P. Jha

Second Committee Member

Maria M. Llabre

Third Committee Member

Roger C. McIntosh

Fourth Committee Member

Aaron S. Heller

Fifth Committee Member

Scott L. Rogers

Abstract

In the current program of research, a Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) statistical approach was utilized to develop a novel metric of the veridicality of one’s subjective reports on the state of their attention. This metric, termed the Fidelity of Subjective Reports (FSR), was statistically operationalized as the within-individual correspondence between self-report and behavioral performance measures of attention on the Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART). The first objective was to identify the ideal window of behavioral performance data on the SART to relate to subjective reports. Secondly, the construct validity for the FSR, based on a preliminary conceptual model of this approach, was evaluated by testing its association with within-individual reports of meta-awareness, and between individual differences in cognitive and emotional functioning. Finally, the FSR was utilized as an outcome measure to gauge the effects of short-form mindfulness (MT) and relaxation (RT) training programs. Findings revealed that HLM analyses with 4 to 6 trials of behavioral data preceding subjective reports were equally beneficial for purposes of the current study. Additionally, the FSR was greater when participants reported higher meta-awareness during task engagement. Regarding individual difference factors, greater working memory capacity predicted a stronger FSR, while the effects of overall sustained attention performance on the SART, as well as self-report measures of depression and anxiety were nonsignificant. Finally, findings did not indicate the MT provided benefit to the FSR. However, there was evidence (of marginal statistical significance) suggesting that greater adherence to the RT program was associated with decline in this measure. Further, supplemental analyses indicated that when adherence was excluded, the RT group demonstrated overall decline in the FSR, while the MT group remained unchanged. The present study provides an innovative approach to assess the degree that subjective reports of attention correspond with one’s performance; however, given its novelty, future studies are needed to replicate and build upon these findings.

Keywords

Meta-Awareness; Sustained Attention; Mindfulness; Subjective Reports; Working Memory Capacity

Available for download on Thursday, June 11, 2020

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