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PLoS One. 2014 Oct 17;9(10):e110510. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0110510. eCollection 2014.

Brief mindfulness meditation improves mental state attribution and empathizing.

Author information

1
School of Medicine, Psychiatry Discipline, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
2
Department of Psychology, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.
3
School of Psychology, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom.

Abstract

The ability to infer and understand the mental states of others (i.e., Theory of Mind) is a cornerstone of human interaction. While considerable efforts have focused on explicating when, why and for whom this fundamental psychological ability can go awry, considerably less is known about factors that may enhance theory of mind. Accordingly, the current study explored the possibility that mindfulness-based meditation may improve people's mindreading skills. Following a 5-minute mindfulness induction, participants with no prior meditation experience completed tests that assessed mindreading and empathic understanding. The results revealed that brief mindfulness meditation enhanced both mental state attribution and empathic concern, compared to participants in the control group. These findings suggest that mindfulness may be a powerful technique for facilitating core aspects of social-cognitive functioning.

PMID:
25329321
PMCID:
PMC4201548
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0110510
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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