Metacognition and Mindfulness: the Role of Fringe Consciousness
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The involvement of metacognition in mindfulness is already acknowledged in recent mindfulness models. The focus of the current paper is on how mindfulness may be seen to involve a particular subcategory of metacognitive feeling referred to as fringe consciousness. Fringe feelings are in themselves consciously experienced but have been demonstrated to reflect nonconscious context information and are assumed to play a functional role in metacognitive monitoring and behavioral control. I first address ways in which metaexperiences during mindfulness may be seen as a variety of fringe consciousness. I then turn to how mindfulness practice may change a person’s attitude to fringe feelings, which in turn may influence the ease with which currently unconscious cognitive content may be retrieved. Finally, I specifically discuss how feelings of novelty, described by many as characteristic of a mindful state, may be understood within the fringe consciousness framework. I propose that fringe consciousness may be a useful framework for understanding the relationship between cognition and certain forms of subjective feelings during mindfulness.