|"Exploring Elephant Mind" Collage by Lani and textures from FlyPaper|
Because this was on MP3's there were no references and because this research seemed pretty important for working in multicultural settings I persevered and found McGonigal's blog on Psychology Today in which she described the same research. Her reference list is here:
Legault, L., Gutsell, J. N., and Inzlicht, M. (in press). Ironic effects of anti-prejudice messages: How motivational intervention reduces (but also increases) prejudice. Psychological Science.
Lillis, J., and Hayes, S. C. (2007). Applying acceptance, mindfulness, and values to the reduction of prejudice: A pilot study. Behavior Modification, 31(4), 389-411.
Macrae, C. N., Bodenhausen, G. V., Milne, A. B., and Jetten, J. (1994). Out of mind but back in sight: Stereotype on the rebound. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 808-817.
So in a way, this whole "learning to ride the elephant" metaphor has been a practice and study of mindfulness and acceptance. Learning about the challenges of our genetics and evolution (our hard wiring to go for sugar, salt, and fats, for example) is all about accepting the urges of the elephant. I know I have wasted a lot of energy in the past, arguing and trying to "suppress" the elephant's love of donuts or chocolate, and I can tell you first hand that suppression really doesn't work.
Try this: Get your elephant (or the craving brain) to not think about his or her favorite not-so-great habit. It's pretty hard, maybe impossible. Now try talking with the elephant or craving brain. Tell it you want to learn as much as you can about these normal, hard-wired urges and you want to learn all about surfing them. The elephant will feel much better, more understood, and we will have more success in training it rather than suppressing it. Once again thank you Kelly McGonigal! This feels so possible and hopeful!