5 surprising ways mindfulness can change you
Huffington Post - 03/05/2015
One series of studies from Paul Condon and colleagues at Northeastern University provides some compelling evidence that practicing mindfulness can indeed increase empathy and lead people to act more altruistically.
In a clever experiment, a group of study participants were asked to wait in a waiting room while the researchers were preparing their session, and were confronted by a person on crutches who was grimacing clearly in pain (an actor hired for the purpose of the study). The participant was seated in one of three chairs, all of which were occupied. The occupants of the other two chairs (also actors) did not volunteer their seats for the person in pain, creating a “bystander effect” that could encourage the participant not to help because the other people present weren’t helping.
The researchers found that participants who were part of a group that had been practicing meditation for eight weeks (they were under the impression that the study was about the cognitive effects of mindfulness) was significantly more likely to volunteer the seat for the person in pain than the non-meditating control group.