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Concept: Purpose

34

Having a purpose in life has been cited consistently as an indicator of healthy aging for several reasons, including its potential for reducing mortality risk. In the current study, we sought to extend previous findings by examining whether purpose in life promotes longevity across the adult years, using data from the longitudinal Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) sample. Proportional-hazards models demonstrated that purposeful individuals lived longer than their counterparts did during the 14 years after the baseline assessment, even when controlling for other markers of psychological and affective well-being. Moreover, these longevity benefits did not appear to be conditional on the participants' age, how long they lived during the follow-up period, or whether they had retired from the workforce. In other words, having a purpose in life appears to widely buffer against mortality risk across the adult years.

Concepts: United States, Gerontology, Ageing, Meaning of life, Retirement, Personal life, Wine, Purpose

25

We launched a health promotion program called the Hamarassen (“let’s get together”) Farm, which provided farming opportunities for the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake who resided in temporary housing. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of this program on physical and mental health in terms of bone mineral density (BMD) and a sense of purpose in life.

Concepts: Meaning of life, Personal life, Farm, Great Hanshin earthquake, Victim, Health promotion, Purpose

17

Purpose in life, the sense that life has meaning and direction, is associated with reduced risks of adverse health outcomes. However, it remains unknown whether purpose in life protects against the risk of cerebral infarcts among community-dwelling older people. We tested the hypothesis that greater purpose in life is associated with lower risk of cerebral infarcts.

Concepts: Risk, Decision theory, Meaning of life, Personal life, Purpose

17

Our aim was to determine whether eating fruit and vegetables (FV) is associated with other markers of well-being beyond happiness and life satisfaction. Towards this aim, we tested whether FV consumption is associated with greater eudaemonic well-being - a state of flourishing characterized by feelings of engagement, meaning, and purpose in life. We also tested associations with two eudaemonic behaviours - curiosity and creativity.

Concepts: Meaning of life, Positive psychology, Personal life, Philosophy of life, Happiness, Purpose

15

Patient reported outcome measures are frequently used standard questionnaires or tools designed to collect information from patients regarding their health status and care. Their use enables accurate and relevant insight into changes in health, quality of life, and symptom severity to be acquired. The purpose of this scoping review was to identify PROMs that had been subject to rigorous development and were suitable for use in palliative and end of life care for clinical practice and/or research purposes. The review had a specific focus on measures which could be used to assess perceptions of dignity in these contexts.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Psychology, Clinical trial, Evaluation, Illness, Personal life, Purpose

3

Commercial self-monitoring devices are becoming increasingly popular, and over the last decade, the use of self-monitoring technology has spread widely in both consumer and medical markets. The purpose of this study was to evaluate five commercially available self-monitoring devices for further testing in clinical applications. Four activity trackers and one sleep tracker were evaluated based on step count validity and heart rate validity.

Concepts: Time, Future, Avicenna, Pulse, Programming language, Purpose

3

The past decade has seen a surge of research examining mind-wandering, but most of this research has not considered the potential importance of distinguishing between intentional and unintentional mind-wandering. However, a recent series of papers have demonstrated that mind-wandering reported in empirical investigations frequently occurs with and without intention, and, more crucially, that intentional and unintentional mind-wandering are dissociable. This emerging literature suggests that, to increase clarity in the literature, there is a need to reconsider the bulk of the mind-wandering literature with an eye toward deconvolving these two different cognitive experiences. In this review we highlight recent trends in investigations of the intentionality of mind-wandering, and we outline a novel theoretical framework regarding the mechanisms underlying intentional and unintentional mind-wandering.

Concepts: Scientific method, Science, Intentionality, Empiricism, Thought, Novel, Intention, Purpose

3

People often believe that significant life events happen for a reason. In three studies, we examined evidence for the view that teleological beliefs reflect a general cognitive bias to view the world in terms of agency, purpose, and design. Consistent with this hypothesis, we found that individual differences in mentalizing ability predicted both the tendency to believe in fate (Study 1) and to infer purposeful causes of one’s own life events (Study 2). In addition, people’s perception of purpose in life events was correlated with their teleological beliefs about nature, but this relationship was driven primarily by individuals' explicit religious and paranormal beliefs (Study 3). Across all three studies, we found that while people who believe in God hold stronger teleological beliefs than those who do not, there is nonetheless evidence of teleological beliefs among non-believers, confirming that the perception of purpose in life events does not rely on theistic belief. These findings suggest that the tendency to perceive design and purpose in life events-while moderated by theistic belief-is not solely a consequence of culturally transmitted religious ideas. Rather, this teleological bias has its roots in certain more general social propensities.

Concepts: Scientific method, Critical thinking, Faith, Cognition, Perception, Meaning of life, Purpose, Teleology

3

Many individuals feel socially isolated and distressed in ethnically diverse settings. Purpose in life may buffer this form of distress by fostering one’s sense of having a meaningful direction, which may also be of significance to others. In two experience-sampling studies with ethnically diverse participants, we examined associations between the ethnic composition of urban trains and passenger distress, and tested purpose as a moderator of these relationships. Study 1 showed that participants of all ethnic backgrounds reported greater negative mood when the percentage of ethnic out-group members aboard their train increased. However, individual differences in purpose significantly attenuated this effect. Study 2 replicated and extended these findings experimentally by showing that relative to a control condition, briefly writing about purpose prior to boarding trains also diminished the impact of ethnic composition on negative mood. The discussion addresses strategies for promoting positive adjustment in our increasingly diverse society.

Concepts: Relationship, Meaning of life, Ethnic group, Individual, Buffer, Train, Purpose, Distress

3

According to the theory of ‘promiscuous teleology’, humans are naturally biased to (mistakenly) construe natural kinds as if they (like artifacts) were intentionally designed ‘for a purpose’. However, this theory introduces two paradoxes. First, if infants readily distinguish natural kinds from artifacts, as evidence suggests, why do school-aged children erroneously conflate this distinction? Second, if Western scientific education is required to overcome promiscuous teleological reasoning, how can one account for the ecological expertise of non-Western educated, indigenous people? Here, we develop an alternative ‘relational-deictic’ interpretation, proposing that the teleological stance may not index a deep-rooted belief that nature was designed for a purpose, but instead may reflect an appreciation of the perspectival relations among living things and their environments.

Concepts: Scientific method, Critical thinking, Natural environment, Science, Charles Darwin, Purpose, Teleology, Teleological argument