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Social cognition is the scientific study of the cognitive events underlying social thought and attitudes. Currently, the field's prevailing theoretical perspectives are the traditional schema view and embodied cognition theories. Despite important differences, these perspectives share the seemingly uncontroversial notion that people interpret and evaluate a given social stimulus using knowledge about similar stimuli. However, research in cognitive linguistics (e.g., Lakoff & Johnson, 1980) suggests that people construe the world in large part through conceptual metaphors, which enable them to understand abstract concepts using knowledge of superficially dissimilar, typically more concrete concepts. Drawing on these perspectives, we propose that social cognition can and should be enriched by an explicit recognition that conceptual metaphor is a unique cognitive mechanism that shapes social thought and attitudes. To advance this metaphor-enriched perspective, we introduce the metaphoric transfer strategy as a means of empirically assessing whether metaphors influence social information processing in ways that are distinct from the operation of schemas alone. We then distinguish conceptual metaphor from embodied simulation--the mechanism posited by embodied cognition theories--and introduce the alternate source strategy as a means of empirically teasing apart these mechanisms. Throughout, we buttress our claims with empirical evidence of the influence of metaphors on a wide range of social psychological phenomena. We outline directions for future research on the strength and direction of metaphor use in social information processing. Finally, we mention specific benefits of a metaphor-enriched perspective for integrating and generating social cognitive research and for bridging social cognition with neighboring fields.
In this chapter, we begin to explore the wealth of research and theory on the implications of mindfulness for emotional experience by examining a variety of models of mindfulness and how they inform mindful emotion regulation. Then, we provide an empirical overview of the role of mindfulness in general emotional states, emotional reactions to stimuli and events, and emotions over time. Within this overview, we provide evidence for several distinct avenues through which mindfulness benefits emotion regulation, including increased willingness to experience negative emotions, reduced reactivity to emotional stimuli and situations, a decentered perspective, and increased emotional stability; we also highlight some research which suggests the neurological underpinnings of mindful emotion regulation. Finally, we link the impact of mindfulness on emotion regulation to behavioral change. Specifically, by highlighting research on smoking, alcohol use, and other addictive behaviors, we demonstrate that emotion regulation serves as a key mechanism in the relationship between mindfulness and some domains of behavioral regulation.