• Does the focus of loving-kindness meditation matter for reducing implicit bias?

      Saitta, Christopher D. (2022-05)
      Implicit bias has been a popular area of research in recent years as the need to address it is a prerequisite for a just society. In the current study, different versions of loving-kindness meditation (LKM) were compared to see which one is associated with the lowest implicit bias levels. Participants followed an 8-minute LKM audio clip where the instructions were altered to manipulate the focus of the meditation across three groups. The meditation directed them to send their love and positive energy to either themselves, younger peers, or the elderly population. Then, participants took an age-based implicit association test (IA T) to compare whether the manipulation led to differences in implicit bias across groups. Additionally, participants were asked to rate their experience of several positive emotions to see if the conditions caused differences in types of positive emotion ( either other-regarding or non-other-regarding) and whether these different types of positive emotions mediated the effects of LKM focus on implicit bias. The results revealed that LKM focus did not have a significant impact on differences in positive emotions or implicit bias, and the mediating effect of other-regarding positive emotions on the relationship between LKM focus and implicit bias was not observed. The results suggest the subject of meditative focus may be a negligible factor when it comes to influencing positive emotion and implicit bias levels.