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Recent research has demonstrated that mindfulness meditation reduces implicit race and age bias by weakening the associations of the target group with negative constructs. The current research examined the potential for mindfulness to also affect discriminatory behavior. Participants listened to either a 10-min mindfulness audio or a control audio before playing a game in which they interacted with partners of different races in a simulation and decided how much they trusted them with their money. Results indicated that the mindfulness condition exhibited significantly less discrimination in the Trust Game than did either of the 2 control conditions. The implications and importance of mindfulness meditation in alleviating bias are discussed.
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Brief Mindfulness Meditation Reduces Discrimination
Adam Lueke and Bryan Gibson
Central Michigan University
Recent research has demonstrated that mindfulness meditation reduces implicit race
and age bias by weakening the associations of the target group with negative constructs.
The current research examined the potential for mindfulness to also affect discrimina-
tory behavior. Participants listened to either a 10-min mindfulness audio or a control
audio before playing a game in which they interacted with partners of different races
in a simulation and decided how much they trusted them with their money. Results
indicated that the mindfulness condition exhibited significantly less discrimination in
the Trust Game than did either of the 2 control conditions. The implications and
importance of mindfulness meditation in alleviating bias are discussed.
Keywords: meditation, mindfulness, stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination
Our eyes are not only viewers, but also projectors that
are running a second story over the picture we see in
front of us all the time.
—Jim Carrey
This quotation conveys the idea that our eval-
uations of reality are rarely objective. We can
be biased by expectations driven by automatic
associations. These automatic associations can
potentially impair our ability to see things as
they are. Mindfulness meditation has recently
emerged as a potential strategy to help individ-
uals overcome these automatic associations. Re-
cent research has suggested that mindful indi-
viduals show less automatic bias and are more
psychologically flexible, which decreases
strong negative emotional reactions (Fledderus,
Bohlmeijer, Smit, & Westerhof, 2010;Lueke &
Gibson, 2015;Ostafin & Kassman, 2012).
Through mindfulness practice, individuals learn
to cultivate awareness and view thoughts and
feelings as transient mental events that are sep-
arate from the self, which inhibits the natural
tendency toward automatic reaction and evalu-
ation (Bishop et al., 2004).
The benefits of mindfulness meditation are
potentially diverse, powerful, and far-reaching.
Research has illustrated a variety of benefits for
those who practice it. For example, mindfulness
has been used to help clinical populations with
stress (Baer, Carmody, & Hunsinger, 2012;Ka-
bat-Zinn et al., 1992;Miller, Fletcher, & Kabat-
Zinn, 1995), pain (C. A. Brown & Jones, 2013;
Kold, Hansen, Vedsted-Hansen, & Forman,
2012;Morone, Greco, & Weiner, 2008), and
even physical healing (Davidson et al., 2003;
Kabat-Zinn et al., 1998). Although this research
has shown that benefits to meditative practice
are varied and far-reaching, some increase in
negative outcomes such as panic, depression,
and anxiety has also been noted (Shapiro,
1992). More-recent research has begun to dem-
onstrate the cognitive benefits of mindfulness as
well (Ostafin & Kassman, 2012). Of particular
relevance to the current research, religiosity
centered around mindfulness practices has been
shown to be related to universalism (Saroglou &
Dupuis, 2006) and negatively related to explicit
and implicit prejudice (Clobert, Saroglou,
Hwang, & Soong, 2014). More recently, a direct
mindfulness manipulation has been shown to
reduce implicit bias, as measured by the implicit
associations test (IAT), toward Black and el-
derly populations (Lueke & Gibson, 2015). The
quad model (Conrey, Sherman, Gawronski,
Hugenberg, & Groom, 2005) is a multinomial
model that parses out the factors contributing to
implicit bias, such as the automatic activation of
stereotypes and the ability to overcome bias.
Using the quad model, Lueke and Gibson
(2015) showed that the reduction in implicit
This article was published Online First February 11, 2016.
Adam Lueke and Bryan Gibson, Department of Psychol-
ogy, Central Michigan University.
Correspondence concerning this article should be ad-
dressed to Adam Lueke, Department of Psychology, Central
Michigan University, Sloan Hall 101, Mount Pleasant, MI
48859. E-mail: lueke1a@cmich.edu
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This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice © 2016 American Psychological Association
2016, Vol. 3, No. 1, 34– 44 2326-5523/16/$12.00 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cns0000081
34
bias stemmed from a weakening of automatic
associations between these groups and negative
constructs. The current research examined the
possibility that in addition to reducing implicit
bias, mindfulness will also reduce discrimina-
tion.
Because the IAT has been shown to be a
better predictor of many types of discriminatory
behavior than are explicit attitudes (Greenwald,
Poehlman, Uhlmann, & Banaji, 2009), it fol-
lows that the same mindfulness procedure that
reduces implicit bias could also reduce discrim-
inatory behavior. Specifically, implicit attitudes
have been shown to be predictive of hiring
practices (Ziegert & Hanges, 2005), willingness
to shoot unarmed Black suspects in a simulation
(Correll, Park, Judd, & Wittenbrink, 2002;Sim,
Correll, & Sadler, 2013), and even nonverbal
cues in simple conservational interactions (Mc-
Connell & Leibold, 2001). Particularly relevant
to the current research, implicit attitudes have
been shown to predict levels of trust toward
Black and White interaction partners (Stanley,
Sokol-Hessner, Banaji, & Phelps, 2011).
Despite the evidence that implicit attitudes
can predict discrimination, a variety of factors
can reduce the connection between implicit at-
titudes and behavior (Hofmann & Friese, 2008;
Hofmann, Gschwendner, Castelli, & Schmitt,
2008;Ostafin, Bauer, & Myxter, 2012; see
Greenwald et al., 2009, for a review). In addi-
tion, some have criticized the IAT, saying that it
uses an arbitrary scoring metric and that indi-
viduals who display behavior that is neutral
toward outgroups also tend to display negative
implicit bias on the IAT (Blanton, Jaccard,
Strauts, Mitchell, & Tetlock, 2015). For this
reason, it is important to determine whether
mindfulness can also result in reduced explicit
discrimination.
To this end, previous research has shown
reduced discrimination through mindfulness
training that focused participants directly on the
outgroup of interest (Djikic, Langer, & Staple-
ton, 2008;Langer, Bashner, & Chanowitz,
1985). Specifically, the mindfulness procedure
prompted participants to think directly about the
target of discrimination in various ways that
made them think beyond the automatic stereo-
type of the target. In doing so, discrimination
was reduced because participants directly imag-
ined and categorized the target in more positive
ways unrelated to the stereotype, so the stereo-
type itself would not be the basis for behavior.
This mindfulness procedure requires active en-
gagement with the concept of stereotypes in
order to downplay their effect while concur-
rently focusing thoughts on other aspects of the
stereotyped individual. In this same way, re-
search has shown that being exposed to positive
Black exemplars reduces negative implicit ra-
cial bias (Dasgupta & Greenwald, 2001). The
positive associations provided by these exem-
plars begin to counterbalance the existing neg-
ative associations of the stereotype, leading to a
reduction in the negativity of implicit attitudes.
In contrast, the more general and brief mind-
fulness procedure shown to reduce implicit bias
involves attention to only the sensations being
experienced in the moment. There is no active
focus on overcoming automatic stereotypes. In-
stead, these negative implicit attitudes are re-
duced by weakening the associations between
the target group and the negative constructs
(Lueke & Gibson, 2015). Thus, we propose that
a general mindfulness procedure will also re-
duce discrimination. In the current research we
tested this hypothesis. If mindfulness can re-
duce discrimination without any direct focus on
the stigmatized group, then its effectiveness as a
tool of unification and equality would be more
holistic and encompassing. To investigate this
possibility, we assigned participants to mindful-
ness or control conditions before performing a
trust discrimination measure (Stanley et al.,
2011). Specifically, we hypothesized that mind-
fulness would cause participants to give simi-
larly to Black and White interaction partners in
the trust discrimination measure, whereas both
control conditions would give more to White
than Black interaction partners.
Method
Participants
Participants were 124 White undergraduate
psychology students (46 men) of traditional col-
lege age who received course credit for their
participation. Participants were randomly as-
signed to one of the three between-subjects con-
ditions using a random number generator. The
design was a 3 (pure control, control attention,
mindfulness) 2 (rating Black and White
faces) mixed factorial design. The mindfulness
manipulation was a between-subjects factor,
35MINDFULNESS REDUCES DISCRIMINATION
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and the face rating was a within-subject factor.
Data from 26 participants were eliminated due
to evidence that they used a rule-based strategy
during the Trust Game (e.g., giving $10 to every
interaction partner). The proportion of individ-
uals eliminated on this basis (23%) is similar to
that in previous research using this game (25%;
Stanley et al., 2011). In addition, five partici-
pants were eliminated for failing to follow di-
rections (e.g., skipping the audio instruction),
leaving 93 participants in the sample. Finally,
we evaluated the sample for outliers using the
median absolute deviation technique (see Leys,
Ley, Klein, Bernard, & Licata, 2013). Using the
suggested moderately conservative judgment
rule, we discarded data from six participants
due to the extreme nature of their responses in
the Trust Game. The participants eliminated on
this basis were all over 2 standard deviations
from the mean, and no participants who were
over 2 standard deviations from the mean re-
mained in the sample.
1
Study Measures
Trait mindfulness. Trait mindfulness
questions were taken from the Freiburg Mind-
fulness Inventory (FMI; Buchheld, Grossman,
& Walach, 2001), the Mindfulness Question-
naire (Chadwick, Hember, Mead, Lilley, &
Dagnan, 2005), and the Kentucky Inventory of
Mindfulness Skills (Baer, Smith, & Allen,
2004). Baer, Smith, Hopkins, Krietemeyer, and
Toney (2006) identified these as central trait
mindfulness dimension subscales: Non-Reac-
tivity (seven items; ␣⫽.35) and Observing (15
items; ␣⫽.83). The Mindfulness Attention
Awareness Scale (15 items; ␣⫽.85; K. W.
Brown & Ryan, 2003) was also utilized for a
total of 37 items. We used only the Non-
Reactivity and Observing subscales from Baer
et al. (2006) because they are the most in line
with the factors of mindfulness measured in the
two state mindfulness questionnaires. Represen-
tative questions included “Usually when I have
distressing thoughts or images, I just notice
them and let them go” and “When I’m walking,
I deliberately notice the sensations of my body
moving.” Internal consistency for the 37 trait
mindfulness questions together was good (␣⫽
.83).
State mindfulness. State mindfulness was
measured through two scales: the Toronto
Mindfulness Scale (TMS; Lau et al., 2006) and
the State Mindfulness Scale (SMS; Tanay &
Bernstein, 2013). Both of these contain items
that are similar to those in the trait mindfulness
scales but are framed to reflect a more current
state of mind. Both scales ask participants to
indicate how much they agree with several
statements regarding their experience during the
audiotape manipulation on a 5-point scale. Ex-
amples of each scale, respectively, include “I
experienced my thoughts more as events in my
mind than as a necessarily accurate reflection of
the way things ‘really’ are” and “I noticed phys-
ical sensations come and go.” Internal consis-
tency for the 13 items in the TMS (␣⫽.87) and
21 items in the SMS (␣⫽.89) were both very
good.
2
Trust game. Discrimination was measured
with a modified Trust Game task (Stanley et al.,
2011). All participants began with 50 theoreti-
cal dollars and were told that the goal of the
game was to accrue as much money as possible
by the end of the game. Participants were told
that the individual with the highest dollar total
at the end of the game would win 20 actual
dollars. They were told that they would be in-
teracting with various people who had previ-
ously volunteered to be part of this game and
whose responses were already recorded. Partic-
ipants encountered 150 pictures of interaction
partners who varied in ethnicity, one at a time,
with presentation order randomly determined
for each participant. Each picture was of a real
human face, and the total of 150 faces consisted
of 50 White faces, 50 Black faces, and 50 faces
1
Of the six eliminated outliers, four were from the con-
trol attention condition. Inclusion of these four outliers only
slightly reduced the effect on the Trust Game (p.14).
However, inclusion of the outlier from either the pure con-
trol condition (p.10) or the mindfulness condition (p
.12) single-handedly reduced the Trust Game effect by
roughly the same amount. All outliers were so extremely far
away from the mean (M22.02; range of outliers’ distance
from the mean 120 –187; distance of the closest outlier
from the most extreme included data point on each side of
the distribution 29; 25) that it fully justified their removal
with the median absolute deviation method.
2
Explicit racial attitudes were also measured with the
eight-item Symbolic Racism Scale (SRS; Henry & Sears,
2002). However, internal consistency of the scale items was
poor (␣⫽.25). This may have been due to altering some of
the questions on the scale to produce more response options.
Therefore, we did not continue with the planned analysis of
the effect of mindfulness on explicit racial attitudes.
36 LUEKE AND GIBSON
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of either Asian or Middle Eastern descent. The
faces were chosen from the sample used in
previous research (Stanley et al., 2011), which
were selected from several databases, including
Karolinska Directed Emotional Faces (Lun-
dqvist, Flykt, & Ohman, 1998), the Eberhardt
Laboratory Face Database, the Color Facial
Recognition Technology Database from the Na-
tional Institute of Standards and Technology,
and the NimStim Face Stimulus Set (Totten-
ham, Borscheid, Ellertsen, Marcus, & Nelson,
2002). For each interaction partner, participants
decided how much money they were willing to
risk giving to the individual ($0 –$10), knowing
that the individual would receive quadruple the
amount given. Furthermore, participants were
told that each interaction partner had already
decided to either give the participant half of the
quadrupled money back or keep all of it for
themselves. Participants did not know whether
they gained or lost money after each trial but
were told that if their money total reached $0,
then the game would end and they would be
automatically disqualified. In actuality, there
were no gains or losses to the initial $50.
Procedure
Participants were tested one to three at a time,
sitting at private workstations with computers
equipped with the MediaLab software (Jarvis,
2014) and a set of headphones. When they were
ready, participants were given the trait mindful-
ness questions to control for potential differ-
ences between conditions on trait mindfulness
before the manipulation.
Following completion of these scales, indi-
viduals were randomly assigned to either a
mindfulness or control recording that had been
used in previous research (Cropley, Ussher, &
Charitou, 2007). Participants in the mindfulness
condition listened to a 10-min audiotape that
instructed them to focus and become aware of
sensations in the body (such as the heart beating
or breathing) while fully accepting any bodily
sensations and thoughts without reservation.
The pure control condition listened to a 10-min
audiotape describing an English countryside.
The control attention condition listened to the
same audiotape as did the pure control condi-
tion, but they were also told to pay attention for
the word parish and make a check mark on a
piece of paper when they heard it, in addition to
being told that they would be tested on the
material in the audiotape at the end of the study.
This control attention condition was included to
ensure that it was not the mere act of engaging
in focused attention that causes mindfulness to
produce its effects but rather is due to the mind-
fulness content itself. In this way, we could
control for individuals in the pure control con-
dition who might let their mind wander, as
opposed to those in the mindfulness condition,
who likely stayed present in awareness
(Mrazek, Franklin, Phillips, Baird, & Schooler,
2013). Once the 10-min audiotape was finished,
participants moved on to complete state mind-
fulness scales.
As a manipulation check, state mindfulness
was measured immediately after the audiotape.
Once finished, participants completed the mod-
ified Trust Game task. This task measures im-
plicit evaluations of trustworthiness and has
been shown to be significantly correlated with
implicit racial attitudes (Stanley et al., 2011). At
the conclusion of this task, participants an-
swered questions regarding explicit racial atti-
tudes (which was excluded from the current
analyses due to low reliability) before being
asked general demographic questions, including
a question regarding awareness of the purpose
of the study. This awareness question asked
participants to surmise the purpose of the study
in one or two sentences if they could. Then,
participants were debriefed and told to give
their contact information to be entered into a
drawing for $20 before being thanked and al-
lowed to leave.
Results
Preliminary Analyses
Several univariate analyses of variance
(ANOVAs) were used to ensure no significant
differences existed between conditions in terms
of the three dimensions of trait mindfulness
prior to the manipulation. Results indicated no
significant difference between conditions in
terms of trait Non Reactivity mindfulness, F(2,
84) 0.49, p.62; trait Observing mindful-
ness, F(2, 84) 0.48, p.62; trait mindfulness
as measured by the Mindfulness Attention
Awareness Scale, F(2, 84) 0.15, p.86, or
the total mindfulness scale, F(2, 84) 0.01,
p.99 (see Table 1). In response to the aware-
37MINDFULNESS REDUCES DISCRIMINATION
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ness of the study’s purpose question, no partic-
ipant accurately responded that the purpose of
the study was to reduce discrimination or that
mindfulness had anything to do with the Trust
Game.
Manipulation Checks
For the Toronto Mindfulness Scale, a signif-
icant difference existed, F(2, 84) 3.81, p
.03, p
2.08, with the mindfulness condition
significantly higher than the control with atten-
tion condition (p.009) and marginally sig-
nificantly higher than the pure control condition
(p.06; see Table 1). Control conditions were
not significantly different from each other (p
.46). Planned contrasts revealed that the mind-
fulness condition was significantly more mind-
ful on the total Toronto Mindfulness Scale than
were the combined control conditions, t(84)
2.65, p.005.
For the State Mindfulness Scale, there was a
significant difference between the conditions,
F(2, 84) 10.60, p.001, p
2.20, with the
mindfulness condition exhibiting significantly
higher state mindfulness than did both the con-
trol with attention condition (p.001) and the
pure control condition (p.001; see Table 1).
Control conditions were not significantly differ-
ent from each other (p.70). Taken together,
results suggest that the mindfulness manipula-
tion was successful.
Primary Analyses
A 3 (mindfulness vs. pure control vs. control
attention) 2 (ratings of Black vs. White faces)
mixed measures ANOVA revealed a significant
main effect for race, F(1, 84) 26.23, p
.001, p
2.24, indicating that participants gave
more money overall in the Trust Game to White
interaction partners (M262.36, SE 8.54)
than to Black interaction partners (M238.64,
SE 8.87), regardless of audio condition.
There was not a significant main effect for audio
condition in terms of the total amount given to
interaction partners, F(2, 84) 1.57, p.22,
p
2.04. There was a significant interaction
between race and audio condition, F(2, 84)
3.38, p.04, p
2.07, however. To explore
this effect, we combined the difference between
the amount given to Black and White interac-
tion partners into one value, with positive num-
bers indicating a greater amount of money given
to White participants than Black participants
over the course of the entire Trust Game (50
trials for each race). Post hoc least significant
difference tests revealed that the mindfulness
condition was significantly less biased than was
the pure control condition (p.04) and the
control attention condition (p.02; see Figure
1). The two control conditions were not signif-
icantly different from each other (p.81).
Planned contrasts further validated that the
mindfulness condition was less biased than
were the combined control conditions, t(84)
2.59, p.006.
Overall, the mindfulness condition showed
significantly less bias on the Trust Game than
did either of the two control conditions. In order
to investigate whether mindfulness had its ef-
fect on reduced discrimination on the Trust
Game through scores on the state mindfulness
scales, we examined correlations between each
of the state mindfulness scales and Trust Game
Table 1
Means (and Standard Deviations) of the Trait Mindfulness Scales and Their Combined Output, as Well as
State Mindfulness Based on the TMS and SMS
Condition
Trait mindfulness
Toronto Mindfulness
Scale (TMS)
State Mindfulness
Scale (SMS)Non-Reactivity Observing
Mindfulness Attention
Awareness Scale Total
Pure control 26.18 (4.75) 44.75 (7.46) 54.68 (11.46) 125.61 (17.77) 36.21 (8.56)
a
55.75 (11.87)
a
Attention
control 26.10 (3.28) 43.55 (11.70) 56.17 (10.14) 125.83 (18.41) 34.52 (7.60)
a
57.07 (10.31)
a
Mindfulness 25.20 (4.55) 45.97 (8.64) 55.17 (9.74) 126.33 (14.12) 40.50 (9.47)
b
69.53 (15.21)
b
Note. Means in the same column that do not share superscripts are significantly different from each other (p.01), except
for the difference between the mindfulness and pure control conditions on the Toronto Mindfulness Scale, which was
marginally significant (p.06).
38 LUEKE AND GIBSON
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scores. Results indicated that there were no sig-
nificant correlations between any of the state
mindfulness scales (or subscales) with preju-
diced behavior on the Trust Game (all rs.11,
all ps.16). Because there were no correla-
tions, meditational analyses were not utilized.
Discussion
Participants who listened to a 10-min audio-
tape that focused them on their sensations and
thoughts in a nonjudgmental way were less bi-
ased than were control participants in their eval-
uation of trustworthiness of White and Black
individuals in the Trust Game. Consequently,
they “trusted” White and Black individuals al-
most identically, giving members of both
groups roughly the same amount of money,
believing these individuals would not take it all
and would instead return the favor. Conversely,
participants in both control conditions trusted
White individuals significantly more in the
game, giving them more money than their Black
counterparts. Overall, participants in the control
conditions gave White individuals 14% more
than Black individuals, whereas participants in
the mindfulness condition gave only 3% more
to White individuals. This suggests that mind-
fulness can quickly open the individual up to
allowing the same benefit of the doubt to Black
strangers as to White strangers while creating a
more-objective interaction that moves past such
simple biases.
It is important to note that trait mindfulness
was not significantly different among condi-
tions before any manipulation took place. How-
ever, after the audiotape manipulation, partici-
pants in the mindfulness condition showed
significantly higher state mindfulness scores
than did those in either of the control condi-
tions. Furthermore, it took only 10 min of med-
itation from novice participants to achieve these
effects. It seems possible that discrimination
would be even more fully reduced and poten-
tially consistently nonexistent in regular mind-
fulness practitioners, even if they have not re-
cently meditated. It is important to continue this
line of research to determine how effective
meditation can be in the long term, how long
these effects actually last, and how extensive
the cultivation of equality through mindfulness
can be. Long-term practitioners are not only
more familiar with the state of being mindful
but also are able to delve more deeply into their
meditative practice. This could lead to a sus-
tained state of mindfulness that dissipates very
slowly with time, if at all. To this point, recent
research has indicated that long-term practitio-
Figure 1. Total amount given more to White interaction partners than Black interaction
partners. Error bars indicate the standard error of the means.
p.05.
39MINDFULNESS REDUCES DISCRIMINATION
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ners require less effort to enter and maintain a
mindful attentional state than do individuals
with much less meditation experience, as if
long-term practitioners had mastered a skill that
short-term practitioners were still attempting to
master (Brefczynski-Lewis, Lutz, Schaefer,
Levinson, & Davidson, 2007)
Furthermore, the general mindfulness experi-
ence used in our study reduced discrimination
without focus on a stereotyped target. In other
words, unlike in past research on mindful re-
duction of discrimination, participants did not
have to actively think about the negative stereo-
type directly in order to overcome its effect.
Individuals were given no indication that the
experiment focused on racial prejudice or dis-
crimination. It is possible that the reduced dis-
crimination exhibited in the mindfulness condi-
tion was the result of reduced implicit racial
bias, which has been shown to decline after
mindfulness training (Lueke & Gibson, 2015).
The distinction is important, because it indicates
the ability of general mindfulness to eliminate
bias before the moment arises in which one is
provided an opportunity to express it, as op-
posed to attending to the bias in the moment in
order to overcome it, which may diminish or
distract cognitive resources that could be used
for other tasks. In order to ensure that partici-
pants were not primed with the idea of race or
did not discover the focus of the experiment, we
chose not to have them complete the race IAT
before the Trust Game. Though this would have
allowed us to statistically examine whether im-
plicit attitudes mediated the relationship be-
tween mindfulness and discrimination, it likely
would have altered behavior in the Trust Game
by making participants focus on race. However,
given the literature demonstrating the role of
implicit attitudes on discrimination (Correll et
al., 2002;McConnell & Leibold, 2001;Sim et
al., 2013;Ziegert & Hanges, 2005) and the
finding that implicit attitudes are correlated with
discrimination on the Trust Game (Stanley et
al., 2011), it seems possible that a reduction in
implicit bias is the mechanism by which a gen-
eral mindfulness procedure reduced discrimina-
tion.
Another form of meditation, lovingkindness
meditation, has also been shown to reduce im-
plicit bias against the homeless on the IAT
(Kang, Gray, & Dovidio, 2014). However, the
results indicated that it was the reduced stress
that came with meditation that mediated the
relationship with implicit bias. Thus, meditation
reduced stress, which then reduced negative im-
plicit attitudes toward the homeless. In contrast,
Lueke and Gibson (2015) found that a 10-min
mindfulness meditation reduced age and race
implicit bias through reduced activation of au-
tomatic associations as measured by the quad
model (Conrey et al., 2005).
Mindfulness, however, has also been well
established as an effective stress-reducing prac-
tice (Baer et al., 2012;Kabat-Zinn et al., 1992;
Miller et al., 1995). Therefore, it is possible that
the reduced stress brought about by mindfulness
could also reduce automatic stereotype activa-
tion, contributing to the reduction in discrimi-
nation. Because stress has been implicated in
increasing the use of cognitive biases such as
heuristics (Schaeffer, 1989;Shaham, Singer, &
Schaeffer, 1992), stereotyping (Baron, Inman,
Kao, & Logan, 1992;Friedland, Keinan, & Ty-
tiun, 1999), and implicit bias (Frantz, Cuddy,
Burnett, Ray, & Hart, 2004;Terbeck et al.,
2012), it is possible that mindful stress reduc-
tion could also contribute to reduced discrimi-
nation. Future research could attempt to evalu-
ate the role of reduced stress, reduced
automaticity of implicit bias, and reduced ex-
plicit bias as potential mediators of reduced
discrimination.
Although the nature of the results is compel-
ling, there are a number of other issues that
could be addressed in future research. First and
foremost, a more direct link that clearly indi-
cates that it is the reduction in implicit bias
through mindfulness that causes reduced dis-
crimination would be an important addition to
the current research. We were concerned that
administering a race IAT before the Trust Game
task would have made participants more aware
of the purpose of the study after taking the IAT,
which could have affected discrimination scores
on the Trust Game. To address these issues,
future research should employ more surrepti-
tious measures of implicit bias and discrimina-
tion in order to identify the link between mind-
fulness, implicit bias, and discrimination
without alerting the participants to the purpose
of the study. In addition, future research should
also perhaps use a stronger mindfulness manip-
ulation, such as an 8-week mindfulness-based
stress-reduction class. Given the length of the
overall program, this may allow for the inclu-
40 LUEKE AND GIBSON
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sion of the IAT and Trust Games at different
times near the end of the course, in addition to
distraction measures, which would blanket the
purpose of the study and not make it readily
apparent to participants. Furthermore, although
this brief mindfulness manipulation signifi-
cantly increased state mindfulness and reduced
discrimination in the Trust Game, the state
mindfulness scores did not correlate with Trust
Game scores. Thus, formal mediation was not
tested in the current study and requires further
examination. The current study focused on two
dimensions of state mindfulness (Non Reactiv-
ity and Observing), although there are more. It
is possible that by including all of the dimen-
sions of mindfulness meditation, mediation
could be identified. On the other hand, perhaps
the current state mindfulness scales are either
not sensitive enough or do not measure an as-
pect of mindfulness that is integral in promoting
equality. Future research should attempt to dis-
cover what exactly it is about mindfulness that
reduces discrimination. In addition, given the
Trust Game has a tendency to produce repetitive
and inappropriate responses among some par-
ticipants, which led to a considerable amount of
participant data that needed to be removed in
the current study and in previous research (Stan-
ley et al., 2011) another measure of discrimina-
tion should be utilized in the future to circum-
vent this issue and include a greater proportion
of participant data.
Finally, it is unclear exactly why the SRS
showed such poor internal consistency. Perhaps
altering certain questions to include more re-
sponse options changed the nature of the scale’s
reliability. Alternatively, it is possible that the
Trust Game highlighted the aspect of race for
participants, which consequently altered their
responses on the SRS. Furthermore, although
the brief mindfulness manipulation has been
strong enough to reduce implicit bias and a
behavioral measure of discrimination, it may
not be strong enough to alter more deeply en-
trenched explicit attitudes as does consistent
practice (Clobert et al., 2014). Future research
should attempt to address these issues.
The current research provides evidence that
meditation can help reduce prejudice and dis-
crimination. Overall, the results indicate that
mindfulness fosters a greater sense of equality,
in which members of a stereotyped outgroup are
treated more fairly. Although the current cul-
tural climate is one of acceptance of others of all
types, the change brought about by this ideal is
slow-moving, often not reaching or affecting
certain people. Furthermore, due to other fac-
tors, such as the normalcy of the association of
being Black with violence (Bargh, Chen, &
Burrows, 1996;Payne, 2005;Payne, Lambert,
& Jacoby, 2002), even people who believe in
these values often behave in subtly prejudiced
ways. Mindfulness may have the potential to
hasten the unification of people in ways that
extend beyond any culturally approved credo.
Through extended practice, mindfulness can
possibly bring us closer to each other in a more
profound way, a way in which we see each
other truly and as possessing the same innate
qualities and essence that we ourselves possess.
If this occurs, we can potentially improve race
relations and thus better focus our energy and
efforts on an enduring state of human relations.
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Received April 16, 2015
Revision received October 27, 2015
Accepted October 27, 2015
44 LUEKE AND GIBSON
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... Interventions that cultivate mindfulness, such as formal meditation practices, appear to be one promising alternative. Indeed, recent studies show that mindfulness is associated with reduced implicit bias (Kang et al., 2014;Lueke & Gibson, 2014;Stell & Farsides, 2015), explicit bias (Gervais & Hoffman, 2013;Hunsinger et al., 2014;Salvati et al., 2019;Young, 2016), and discriminatory behavior (Cox, 2018;Lueke & Gibson, 2016). Currently, mindfulness interventions are being implemented widely within schools (Sibinga et al., 2016), businesses (Good et al., 2016), hospitals (Gilmartin et al., 2017), law-enforcement agencies (https://www.mindfulpublicsafety.org/), courtrooms (Kalscheur, 2017), governmental organizations (e.g., British Parliament; Bristow, 2018), and even within entire cities (https:// www.mindful.org/foundation/). ...
... Participants typically give less money to outgroup members than to ingroup members, displaying a lack of trust that is likely fueled by implicit bias (Kubota et al., 2013;Stanley et al., 2011). Mindfulness-intergroup studies (Lueke & Gibson, 2016) have used this measure alongside other behavioral measures such as chair distance (e.g., Cox, 2018). The chair distance paradigm requires a participant to place chairs in a room prior to an ostensible interaction with an outgroup member; the distance between the chairs is a measure of avoidance (e.g., Goff et al., 2008;Word et al., 1974). ...
... Although few studies have adopted mindful inductions and behavioral intergroup bias, the findings of these studies, alongside Berry (2017; see MBI subsection), provide limited evidence that mindfulness has the potential to influence behavior (i.e., Cox, 2018;Lueke & Gibson, 2016). ...
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... As teachers' attitudes towards including students with ASD is an important determinant of successful inclusive education (Wilhelmsen & Sørensen, 2017), the current study was undertaken to examine whether a brief mindfulness intervention can be a relevant approach for effecting attitudes towards including students with ASD, given that mindfulness-based interventions have been found to reduce interpersonal bias (e.g. Burgess, Beach, & Saha, 2017;Lueke & Gibson, 2016). ...
... A significant decrease in age and race bias was observed among experimental group participants immediately after the manipulation. In their subsequent experimental study, they also found that a 10-min mindfulness meditation reduced discriminatory behaviours among 124 participants (Lueke & Gibson, 2016). These positive findings could be attributed to the characteristics of mindfulness (e.g. ...
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Enhancing teachers' attitudes towards including students with aut-ism spectrum disorder (ASD) are crucial for successful inclusive education. The current study, guided by self-determination theory, examined the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation on teachers' attitudes towards including students with ASD. Pre-service teachers (n = 65) were randomly assigned to the experimental or the control group. The results showed that the mindfulness meditation did not improve pre-service teachers' attitudes but their basic psychological needs satisfaction. In addition, mindfulness had an indirect effect on attitudes through needs satisfaction. These findings could be used for improving teaching preparation for inclusive education.
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... We wanted to explore in more depth the possibilities that VR gives to facilitate meditation, as well as try to identify any obstacles that modern technology meets when facing an alternative state of mind. It was interesting for us to see whether a brief training session gives any results as it did in several previous studies (see: [27] and [28], as examples). ...
... We also hypothesized that this mindfulness-related increase in general happiness and curiosity along with decentration would have an impact on social skills, such as empathy or group identity. This would be expressed in higher results of the Interpersonal Reactivity Index as well as of the Identity With All Humanity scale, as mindfulness has been proved to enhance social processing on various levels, e.g.. implicit bias [28]. However, we failed to prove this hypothesis. ...
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Virtual Reality (VR) is widely used in different areas of research in psychology. Its use seems irreplaceable since it allows the simulation of many previously unreachable interactions in laboratory settings. In our research, we designed an environment to facilitate meditational training. We tried to prove that VR can support mindfulness through immersion. We also hypothesized that mindfulness meditation would show significantly higher results than relaxation on mindfulness-related constructs such as decentration and curiosity. The same effect would also be visible on positive mood or social skills questionnaires. A total of 80 participants took part in the research. However, the results did not support our hypotheses. Whether meditation or relaxation took place, with or without VR, none of these conditions seemed to differ significantly from one another. The psychometric issues related to the research are discussed as well as the qualities of VR that could have inhibited the effects of immersion, such as real world similarity, level of abstractness of the virtual environment, landscape, and virtual enhancement of transcendence.
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... A critical perspective further argues that it is equally important to cultivate positive states that foster a dissolving of in-group/out-group distinctions and promote greater inclinations to help (Verhaeghen & Alikman, 2019). We recommend mindfulness and compassion practices, which have been associated with increases in empathy, compassion, and prosocial behavior with outgroup members, and decreases in bias and prejudice (e.g., Berry et al., 2018;Lueke & Gibson, 2016). ...
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Ruptures are common in any therapeutic relationship and their successful resolution is associated with positive outcomes. However, therapist and client differences with regard to power, privilege, identity and culture increase social and cultural distance, contributing to alliance ruptures and complicating the repair process. Informed by critical race theories, cultural psychological perspectives, and relational principles, we highlight how power, privilege, identity and culture shape the development of ruptures and thus, how analyses of these dynamics should inform the process of repair. We present an expanded critical-cultural-relational approach to rupture resolution that emphasizes essential skills of critical self-awareness, wise affect, and anti- oppressive interpersonal engagement, and extends Safran and Muran’s (1996) general rupture resolution model to emphasize a critical analysis of the rupture and anti-oppressive approaches to negotiating the process of repair. We illustrate our approach through a case presentation involving a rupture in a cross-racial dyad with themes of racism and classism.
... As noted by Aguilar (2019, p. 66), in relation to the potential of mindfulness in facing racism, "personal growth can spark change." In order to foster the needed change, the potential of mindfulness to reduce racial bias is of particular relevance (Lueke and Gibson 2015;Lueke and Gibson 2016). Polinska (2018, p. 332) pointed out that "mindfulness offers a possibility of opening a conscious space that allows for reduction in automatic racist associations." ...
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Racial oppression is a longstanding and widespread problem with significant repercussions and consequences for the health of those impacted. The roots of racial prejudice reach far back into the history of European culture. A contribution to the much-needed change can be found in the cultivation of mindfulness, in particular in its external dimension. This emerges from considering the background provided by the early Buddhist dismissal of caste prerogatives in the ancient Indian setting, granting priority to ethical conduct over birth. Besides opening up a new dimension for mindfulness-related research, which has so far predominantly focused on the internal cultivation of mindfulness, exploring the early Buddhist perspective also shows that diversity work can become an integral part of the Buddhist path of practice. This holds in particular for white Buddhists, who need to confront their superiority conceit as an obstruction to their own progress to liberation.
... The results of the present study point to the possible research direction that mindfulness and interconnectedness can achieve reduction of intergroup bias through the promotion of nonattachment. It is worth to note that in recent years, mindfulness has been applied to the reduction of implicit intergroup bias (e.g., Lueke and Gibson 2015) and actual discriminatory behaviors (e.g., Lueke and Gibson 2016). It rarely addressed explicit bias nor the underlying mechanism. ...
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Objectives The present study aimed to develop and validate the Interconnectedness Scale and examined the relationship of interconnectedness with various indicators of well-being, mindfulness, and nonattachment. It also aimed to examine the incremental value of interconnectedness in accounting for well-being above and beyond the effects of mindfulness and nonattachment.Methods Three studies were conducted to achieve the study objectives. In study 1, principal component analysis (PCA; n = 325) and confirmatory factor analyses (CFA; n = 581) were employed to establish the factor structure of the Interconnectedness Scale. Study 2 (n = 194) established the convergent validity for the scale by examining the correlations between interconnectedness and variables related to (a) individual well-being, (b) psychological distress, (c) social justice ideologies, and (d) secularized Buddhist-derived concepts. Study 3 (n = 176) investigated the relationship between interconnectedness, nonattachment, and mindfulness. Their relationships with various indicators of well-being were also examined.ResultsStudy 1 found a three-factor structure that was confirmed by bi-factor analysis. Study 2 showed that interconnectedness was significantly associated with (a) peace of mind, mental well-being, and social connectedness (rs = 0.29 to 0.41, ps < 0.01); (b) civic engagement, egalitarianism and humanitarianism, and universalism (rs = 0.45 to 0.49, ps < 0.01); (c) perceived stress, anxiety, and depression (rs = − 0.26 to − 0.32, ps < 0.01); and (d) compassion, mindfulness, nonattachment, and self-transcendence (rs = 0.46 to 0.52, ps < 0.01). Study 3 showed that nonattachment was a significant mediator for both mindfulness and interconnectedness on various indicators of well-being. Interconnectedness also had significant incremental value over mindfulness and nonattachment mainly on social justice ideologies.Conclusions Interconnectedness is a distinct Buddhist-derived concept that can further explain well-being and social justice ideologies in addition to mindfulness and nonattachment.
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Mindfulness complements sexual harassment and racial discrimination training by counteracting implicit gender and race biases - Volume 13 Issue 2 - Tao Yang
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Research has shown that mindfulness can positively affect peoples’ lives in a number of ways, including relying less on previously established associations. We focused on the impact of mindfulness on implicit age and racial bias as measured by implicit association tests (IATs). Participants listened to either a mindfulness or a control audio and then completed the race and age IATs. Mindfulness meditation caused an increase in state mindfulness and a decrease in implicit race and age bias. Analyses using the Quad Model showed that this reduction was due to weaker automatically activated associations on the IATs.
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Dual-process models of addiction propose that alcohol and drug use are influenced by automatic motivational responses to substance use cues. With increasing evidence that automatic alcohol motivation is related to heavy drinking, researchers have begun to examine interventions that may modulate the relation between automatic processes and alcohol use. Recent clinical trials suggest that mindfulness may be an effective treatment for substance use disorders. Little is known, however, about how mindfulness interventions may alter the influence of appetitive processes involved in addiction. The current research examined whether mindfulness decouples the relation between automatic alcohol motivation and heavy drinking. Regular drinkers completed a measure of automatic alcohol motivation at baseline, three mindfulness or control training sessions, and recent heavy drinking at a follow-up session. Regression analyses indicate that the relation between automatic alcohol motivation and heavy drinking was weaker in participants who received mindfulness training. These data contribute to dual-process theories of addiction by being among the first to document that an intervention can weaken the relation between automatic mental processes and alcohol use.
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The goal of the present research was to develop and test a novel conceptual model and corresponding measure of state mindfulness-the State Mindfulness Scale (SMS). We developed the SMS to reflect traditional Buddhist and contemporary psychological science models of mindfulness not similarly reflected in extant published measures of the construct. Study 1 exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses supported a higher order 2-factor solution encompassing 1 second-order state mindfulness factor, and 2 first-order factors, one reflecting state mindfulness of bodily sensations and the other state mindfulness of mental events. Study 2 provided cross-sectional evidence of the convergent, discriminant, and incremental convergent validity of SMS scores with respect to other measures of state and trait mindfulness. Study 3, a randomized control experimental mindfulness intervention study, yielded a number of key findings with respect to SMS stability as a function of time and context, construct validity, incremental sensitivity to change in state mindfulness over time, and incremental predictive criterion-related validity. Findings are discussed with respect to the potential contribution of the SMS to the study of mindfulness as a statelike mental behavior, biopsychobehavioral research on the mechanisms of mindfulness, and clinical evaluation of mindfulness. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
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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. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
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