Methodological problems in mindfulness research

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Authors: Ute Kreplin, Miguel Farias & Inti A. Brazil

Year: 2017 (print), 2018 (online)

Title: The limited prosocial effects of meditation: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Summary: This systematic meta review explored the effects of meditation and mindfulness on five types of pro-social behavior (compassion, empathy, aggression, connectedness and prejudice). The study contended that although compassion and empathy were mediated by meditation, the other three factors were not. Further, that compassion levels were found only to increase when a co-author of the study was the meditation teacher or when the control group was a passive (not active) waiting list. The study highlighted a number of key problems in the ongoing study of meditation, particularly the methodological rigor often used.

However weaknesses in the scientific investigation of meditation tend to be linked to the absence of robust theoretical frameworks. For example inconsistent definitions of mindfulness and meditation. Meta studies in this field can reflect wider patterns but risk drawing together forms of meditation that may in effect, be quite different. The authors are correct to highlight the ‘theoretical mist’ surrounding meditation research and the failure of science to treat meditation as either a secular or spiritual practice. But despite citing architects and theorists of contemporary meditation, the authors fall short of explaining how the pseudo spirituality of contemporary secular meditation arose or is being sustained.

Link: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-20299-z

About Stephen Gene Morris

Post graduate researcher of relationships between meditation and wellbeing. Decades of practice in spiritual and secular forms of meditation. Teaching and research of compassionate and nondual practice. Extensive exposure to Buddhist and other spiritual systems. Training in diverse forms of psychology and reasoning.
This entry was posted in CM, cognitive psychology, compassion, critical psychology, mindfulness and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Methodological problems in mindfulness research

  1. Pingback: Compassion and palliative care | The Science of Meditation and Mindfulness

  2. Pingback: Are meditation and mindfulness a waste of time? – The Compassionate Mind

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