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Generalized Pliance in Relation to Contingency Insensitivity and Mindfulness

  • Martin O’ConnorEmail author
  • Philip Byrne
  • Francisco J. Ruiz
  • Louise McHugh


Conceptual accounts of pliance, a particular class of rule-governed behavior, propose that its generalization precipitates insensitivity to direct contingencies. Accordingly, a context of mindfulness has been theorized to influence the way in which rules function and facilitate effective contact with such contingencies. Despite the profound implications of these conceptualizations, there is a dearth of empirical support for their claims. This study aimed to investigate self-reported generalized pliance as a predictor of sensitivity to changing schedules of reinforcement and mindfulness. Forty young adults completed the Generalized Pliance Questionnaire (GPQ), Contingency-shifting variant Iowa Gambling Task (csIGT), Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST), and Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory—Short Form. Analyses revealed that higher scores on the GPQ were predictive of lower mindfulness and sensitivity to changing contingencies on the csIGT and WCST with medium to large statistically significant effect sizes. The findings support the aforementioned conceptual accounts and have implications for novel research in mindfulness.


Mindfulness Contingency insensitivity Pliance Rule-governed behavior 


Author Contributions

MOC: Study design, statistical analysis, and manuscript preparation.

PB: Study design, data collection, and statistical analysis.

FJR: Study design and manuscript preparation.

LMH: Study design, statistical analysis, and manuscript preparation.

Martin O’Connor and Philip Byrne are joint first authors.


This work was supported by the Irish Research Council.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

Ethical approval for the study was provided by the University College Dublin Research Ethics Committee. All procedures performed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the Declaration of Helsinki or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
corrected publication November/2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College DublinDublin 4Ireland
  2. 2.Fundación Universitaria Konrad LorenzBogotáColombia

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