Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version

2017

Abstract

We investigated the effects of a mindfulness meditation and loving-kindness meditation on implicit bias as well as the cognitive and emotional pathways through which these techniques act. We did this through a lab experiment in the Wharton Behavioral Lab in January 2017. We randomized 224 participants into three groups: a mindfulness meditation group, a loving-kindness meditation group, and a mind-wandering control group. After receiving one of the inductions, participants completed an Implicit Association Test measuring implicit bias against people with disabilities (IAT: Greenwald et al.,1988), as well as a set of survey questions. Although we were unable to demonstrate a reduction in overall implicit bias scores, we found a significant reduction in error percentage on the IAT for participants in the loving-kindness meditation group as compared to the control group. This effect was mediated by state compassion and positive state pleasantness, and is suggestive of reduced implicit bias.

Keywords

implicit bias, mindfulness, meditation, loving-kindness, compassion, empathy, emotions

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Date Posted: 14 September 2017

 

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