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Past research has examined the relationship between religious beliefs and intergroup bias but has not investigated the relationship between specific religious practices and bias. The current work fills this gap by investigating differences in racial prejudice between individuals engaged in an active compassion-based meditation practice and those who have no experience with meditation. We found that a group of experienced compassion-based meditators (from a range of religious traditions) expressed less racial prejudice and more empathy compared to a group of participants who had no experience with meditation, and that differences in prejudice were mediated by empathy. These results suggest that compassion-based meditators express lower levels of explicit, racial prejudice than non-meditators and that these differences are explained by differences in empathy. The implications of our results as well as future directions for research are discussed.
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- Spirituality and Intergroup Harmony: Meditation and Racial Prejudice
- Springer US