The nondiscriminating heart: Lovingkindness meditation training decreases implicit intergroup bias

Yoona Kang, Jeremy R. Gray, John F. Dovidio

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

    • 24 Citations

    Abstract

    Although meditation is increasingly accepted as having personal benefits, less is known about the broader impact of meditation on social and intergroup relations. We tested the effect of lovingkindness meditation training on improving implicit attitudes toward members of 2 stigmatized social outgroups: Blacks and homeless people. Healthy non-Black, nonhomeless adults (N = 101) were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions: 6-week lovingkindness practice, 6-week lovingkindness discussion (a closely matched active control), or waitlist control. Decreases in implicit bias against stigmatized outgroups (as measured by Implicit Association Test) were observed only in the lovingkindness practice condition. Reduced psychological stress mediated the effect of lovingkindness practice on implicit bias against homeless people, but it did not mediate the reduced bias against Black people. These results suggest that lovingkindness meditation can improve automatically activated, implicit attitudes toward stigmatized social groups and that this effect occurs through distinctive mechanisms for different stigmatized social groups

    LanguageEnglish (US)
    Pages1306-1313
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
    Volume143
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2014

    Profile

    Meditation
    Implicit Attitudes
    Social Groups
    Homeless
    Broader Impacts
    Psychological
    Implicit Association Test
    Psychological Stress

    Keywords

    • Compassion
    • Implicit bias
    • Lovingkindness
    • Meditation
    • Prejudice

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
    • Psychology(all)
    • Developmental Neuroscience
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Medicine(all)

    Cite this

    The nondiscriminating heart : Lovingkindness meditation training decreases implicit intergroup bias. / Kang, Yoona; Gray, Jeremy R.; Dovidio, John F.

    In: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Vol. 143, No. 3, 2014, p. 1306-1313.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

    Kang, Yoona ; Gray, Jeremy R. ; Dovidio, John F./ The nondiscriminating heart : Lovingkindness meditation training decreases implicit intergroup bias. In: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. 2014 ; Vol. 143, No. 3. pp. 1306-1313
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