Meditation May Not Make You a Better Person After All


New research casts doubt on the claim that meditation makes us more compassionate and empathetic. According to an international team of researchers who performed a meta-analysis on more than 20 studies, the moderately positive effects reported by previous studies can be explained by poor methodology and bias.

“The popularization of meditation techniques, like mindfulness, despite being taught without religious beliefs, still seem to offer the hope of a better self and a better world to many. We wanted to investigate how powerful these techniques were in affecting one’s feelings and behaviors towards others,” said Dr. Miguel Farias, from Coventry University’s Centre for Advances in Behavioral Science, in a statement.

The scientists at Coventry University in the UK, Massey University in New Zealand, and Radboud University in the Netherlands only included randomized controlled studies in their analysis. All the studies involved in the meta-analysis involved secular meditation techniques like mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation, rather than yoga or Tai-Chi, which are typically taught based on religious beliefs.

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