A brief loving-kindness meditation can reduce racial biases

love-kindness meditation

Racial biases are a form of implicit bias, which refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions unconsciously.

These biases, which encompass unfavorable judgments, are often activated without awareness or intentional control.

Now researchers from University of Sussex find that a 7-minute love-kindness meditation can help reduce racial bias and increase positive emotions in users. The finding is published in Motivation and Emotion.

Researchers focused on love-kindness meditation, which has shown some promise as a method to reduce bias and increase a broad range of positive emotions. In loving-kindness meditation, users simply practice direct well-wishes towards other people.

In the study, 69 adults practiced a short loving-kindness meditation. Researchers found that these people had less automatic bias and more cognitive control after the meditation. These changes were sufficient to reduce implicit prejudice towards to other racial groups.

Furthermore, the reduction of bias was associated with more positive emotions in the meditation group.

Researchers suggest that love-kindness emotion is a useful way to reduce racial prejudice. In addition, this study is the first one to show that a short-term positive emotion induction can reduce racial bias.

Currently, racial bias has been recorded in criminal news in the US and European countries. Effectively reducing racial prejudice and increasing peace between racial groups is important.

If more people can practice love-kindness meditation in daily life, there may be less criminals caused by racial bias in the near future.

How to do love-kindness meditation: sit comfortably with your eyes closed and imagine what you wish for your life. Formulate your desires into three or four phrases.

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Citation: Stell AJ, Farsides T. Brief loving-kindness meditation reduces racial bias, mediated by positive other-regarding emotions. Motivation and Emotion, 40: 140-147. DOI: 10.1007/s11031-015-9514-x.
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