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Researchers discover that mindfulness can make you selfish

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It is within the realm of prosocial behavior that a new treatise by researchers at the University of Buffalo provides an easy way to minimize those consequences while showing the surprising shortcomings of mindfulness. Both have a practical impact on mindfulness training.

Mindfulness and meditation are associated with reducing stress and anxiety while increasing emotional well-being. Many scholarships support these benefits. But how does mindfulness affect the range of human behaviors that can help or benefit others, the so-called prosocial behaviors? What if the research focuses on the external social effects rather than the personal effects of mindfulness?

“Mindfulness can make you selfish,” says Dr. Michael Paulin, an associate professor of psychology at UB University of Arts and Sciences and the lead author of the treatise. “This is a certain fact, but it is also accurate.”

“Mindfulness has increased the prosocial behavior of those who tend to consider themselves more interdependent, but mindfulness tends to consider themselves more independent. For some people, it actually reduced prosocial behavior. “

Given that pop culture has mindfulness as a clear positive mental state, the results sound contradictory. However, the message here does not dismantle the effectiveness of mindfulness.

“It will be oversimplified,” says Pauline, an expert in stress, coping, and prosocial involvement. “Survey suggests that mindfulness works, but it’s a tool, not a prescription, and it’s more than a plug-and-play approach for practitioners to avoid potential pitfalls. It has been shown that things are needed. “

The findings will be published in the next issue of the journal Psychological Science.

Pauline says that independent and interdependent thinking represent a comprehensive theme of social psychology. Some people think of themselves in singular or independent terms: “I do this.” Others think of themselves in plural or interdependent terms, but “we do this.”

There are also cultural differences that are layered on top of these perspectives. People in Western Europe most often think of themselves as independent, while people in East Asian countries often think of themselves as interdependent. Mindfulness practices began in East Asian countries, and Pauline speculates that mindfulness may be more clearly prosocial in those contexts. Practicing mindfulness in Western countries removes that context.

“Despite these personal and cultural differences, there is also variability within individuals, and individuals at different times can think of themselves in either the singular or plural way.” Says Poulin.

Researchers include Dr. Shira Gabriel, an associate professor of psychology at UB, C. Dale Morrison and Esha Naidu, both graduate students at UB, and Dr. Lauren M. Ministero, a graduate student at the time of the study. It was. Currently, senior behavioral scientists at MITER Corporation have used two series in their studies.

First, they measured the characteristic levels of independence and interdependence of 366 participants, and then provided the control group with mindfulness instruction or mind wandering exercises. Before leaving, participants were told about volunteer opportunities to pack envelopes for charities.

In this experiment, mindfulness led to a decrease in prosocial behavior in people who tended to become independent.

In the next experiment, instead of simply measuring traits, 325 participants engaged in a short but effective exercise that tended to make people think of themselves in independent or interdependent terms. I was encouraged to lean in either way.

Mindfulness training and management procedures were the same as in the first experiment, but in this case participants then signed up to chat online with potential donors to help charitable funding. I was asked if I would.

Mindfulness made people prepared for independence 33% less likely to volunteer, but 40 likely to volunteer for the same organization among people prepared for interdependence. Increased by%. The results, combined with mindfulness and instructions that explain how to make people think of themselves in terms of relationships and communities when engaged in mindfulness exercises, are positive personal and social. It suggests that you may be able to see both of the results.

“We have to think about ways to get the most out of mindfulness,” says Poulin. “We have to know how to use the tool.”

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