Loving-Kindness Meditation Increases Social Connectedness

Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-2130, USA.
Emotion (Impact Factor: 3.88). 11/2008; 8(5):720-4. DOI: 10.1037/a0013237
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The need for social connection is a fundamental human motive, and it is increasingly clear that feeling socially connected confers mental and physical health benefits. However, in many cultures, societal changes are leading to growing social distrust and alienation. Can feelings of social connection and positivity toward others be increased? Is it possible to self-generate these feelings? In this study, the authors used a brief loving-kindness meditation exercise to examine whether social connection could be created toward strangers in a controlled laboratory context. Compared with a closely matched control task, even just a few minutes of loving-kindness meditation increased feelings of social connection and positivity toward novel individuals on both explicit and implicit levels. These results suggest that this easily implemented technique may help to increase positive social emotions and decrease social isolation.

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Available from: Cendri A Hutcherson, Sep 26, 2015
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    • "These early findings are promising and support the notion that LKM might be well suited for reducing negative affect and enhancing positive affect in individuals with emotion dysregulation [12]. This is consistent with results from experimental studies suggesting that LKM decreases anxiety and stress [20], positively influences emotional responses to neutral stimuli [18], and promotes positive emotions, such as trust, love, hope, and compassion [19]. Despite this literature, traditional psychotherapy for depression has been primarily focused on decreasing negative affect, whereas strategies to enhance positive affect are rarely considered [26]. "
    Dataset: paper-LKM
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    • "Both engagement and positive attitude were supported by other researchers (e.g. Hall & Hursch, 1982; Hutcherson et al., 2008) as significant factors in the learning and success of students. "
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    ABSTRACT: Studies dedicated to examination of self regulation posit a bi-directional association between self regulation and other variables including social connectedness, self efficacy and self control. However, to date, studies of this caliber have only evidenced that self regulation is a predictor of other variables. In the present study, the factors that predict self regulation are examined among 209 undergraduate students in their preparatory year in the University of Dammam, Saudi Arabia. Collection of data was conducted in the school year's second semester. Based on the results, significant positive relations exist between social connectedness, self efficacy and self control, with self regulation. Moreover, the results revealed that social connectedness and self control are predictors of students' self regulation, but not self efficacy. Added to this, the result revealed a significant difference in the relationship between self control and self regulation among female students' with the other variables insignificant for both genders. Hence, it can be stated that higher education practitioners and academicians may focus on the assessment and the development of the students' skills in terms of self regulation.
    01/2015; 8(2). DOI:10.5539/ies.v8n2p84
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    • "Love (not desire) influences bonding (Gonzaga et al. 2006) and feelings of warmth and closeness (Fitness and Fletcher 1993) in relationships. Notably, research has found loving-kindness meditation to heighten feelings of connection toward novel people at both explicit and implicit levels (Hutcherson, Seppala, and Gross 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: Marketers often employ a variety of positive emotions to encourage consumption or promote a particular behavior (e.g., to buy, donate, or recycle) benefiting an organization or cause. We show that specific positive emotions do not universally increase prosocial behavior but rather encourage different types of prosocial behavior. Four studies show that whereas positive emotions (i.e., love, hope, pride, compassion) all induce prosocial behavior toward close entities (relative to a neutral emotional state), only love induces prosocial behavior toward distant others and international organizations. Love’s effect is driven by a distinct form of broadening, characterized by extending feelings of social connection and the boundary of caring to be more inclusive of others regardless of relatedness. Love—as a trait and a momentary emotion—is unique among positive emotions in fostering connectedness that other positive emotions (hope and pride) do not and broadening behavior in a way that other connected emotions (compassion) do not. This research contributes to the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotion by demonstrating a distinct type of broadening for love and adds an important qualification to the general finding that positive emotions uniformly encourage prosocial behavior.
    Journal of Marketing Research 01/2015; DOI:10.1509/jmr.10.0219 · 2.52 Impact Factor
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