Tra­di­tional Bud­dhists med­i­tate in the pur­suit of enlight­en­ment. Non-​​religious prac­ti­tioners may try it out in order to find a bit of calm or per­haps to treat anx­iety or depres­sion. But what­ever their moti­va­tion, people who med­i­tate, new research shows, act nicer than those who don’t.

Researchers from Har­vard Uni­ver­sity and North­eastern Uni­ver­sity recruited around three dozen par­tic­i­pants inter­ested in med­i­ta­tion. Half of the group was put on a wait list, while the other half was split into two groups. These two groups par­tic­i­pated in med­i­ta­tion ses­sions that pro­mote calm and focus in the mind. Only one group, though, engaged in active dis­cus­sion about Bud­dhist com­pas­sion and suffering.

 

Read the article at Smithsonian Magazine →