In a recent exper­i­ment, a team of sci­en­tists from North­eastern Uni­ver­sity in Boston adver­tised a med­i­ta­tion class and recruited a set of vol­un­teers. Half of the respon­dents went along to the ses­sions, while the other half were told that they were on a waiting list instead.

For those who attended, the course involved dif­ferent forms of com­pas­sion med­i­ta­tion which has its roots in Tibetan Bud­dhism. In essence, the classes were designed to encourage people to pick up on shared char­ac­ter­is­tics rather than their dif­fer­ences, says social psy­chology pro­fessor David DeSteno, who helped carry out the research.

Once the classes were com­plete, all of the respon­dents — including those still on the waiting list — were sub­ject to a real-​​world test that they were unaware was taking place.

One by one, they were called to attend a meeting. Before it began, they entered a waiting room with three chairs. Two were occu­pied by actors, leading the par­tic­i­pant to sit down at the third.

Read the article at BBC News →