Meditation can make you selfish

There’s nothing extra self-focused than sitting on a pillow and attentively clearing the thoughts. So is it actually a shock that meditators may be self-centered? No.

A new paper by College of Buffalo psychologists finds that mindfulness can really lower behaviors which can be useful to others, akin to serving to and volunteering. “Mindfulness can make you selfish,” says lead creator Michael Poulin, affiliate professor of psychology on the College of Buffalo.

Within the research, the unwillingness to assist others was pronounced amongst individuals who understand themselves in particular person phrases (“I do ___”), which is predominant amongst Western adults. Those that perceived themselves interdependently (“We do ___”) had the alternative final result, displaying extra prosocial behaviors.


This means that Western meditation could also be yet one more half-baked appropriation of an Jap observe: East Asian populations are inclined to understand themselves as interdependent, and thus the mindfulness practices rooted there could effectively improve selfless behaviors all through society, posits Poulin. This isn’t the film taking part in within the West, the place practitioners have stripped mindfulness and meditation of their authentic contexts, in a manner that harms interpersonal behaviors. 

Caveat: This research occurred in a lab with 366 members, not in actual life. The upside is that researchers took the time to discover a restore mechanism: a easy train to encouraging individuals to think about themselves as interdependent reversed the impact. “This research exhibits that mindfulness is a instrument, not a prescription,” says Poulin. “It requires greater than a plug-and-play strategy to keep away from potential pitfalls.”

The paper is currently in preprint, and will probably be printed in Psychological Science.