Brief mindfulness meditation improves mental state attribution and empathizing
Public Library of Science
The ability to infer and understand the mental states of others (i.e., Theory of Mind) is a cornerstone of human interaction. While considerable efforts have focused on explicating when, why and for whom this fundamental psychological ability can go awry, considerably less is known about factors that may enhance theory of mind. Accordingly, the current study explored the possibility that mindfulness-based meditation may improve people's mindreading skills. Following a 5-minute mindfulness induction, participants with no prior meditation experience completed tests that assessed mindreading and empathic understanding. The results revealed that brief mindfulness meditation enhanced both mental state attribution and empathic concern, compared to participants in the control group. These findings suggest that mindfulness may be a powerful technique for facilitating core aspects of social-cognitive functioning.
LBGT was supported by an Australia Prime Minister’s Endeavour Asia Award.
Copyright © 2014 Tan et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Tan, L. B. G., Lo, B. C. Y., & Macrae, C. N. (2014). Brief mindfulness meditation improves mental state attribution and empathizing. PLoS ONE, 9(10), art. e110510. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0110510