Réduire les attitudes discriminatoires par la pratique de la méditation : le rôle des fonctions exécutives
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Prejudice against people of color, women, and senior citizens manifests in inequitable treatment of these populations, among others. While curing the world of prejudice is perhaps too ambitious a goal for the humble psychologist, understanding precisely how prejudice leads to discrimination – and whether one might undermine that process – is an important first step on this scientific journey. Such was the goal of my research lab at the University of Strasbourg in France, where we investigated the sinister role cognitive automaticity played in the exhibition of prejudice. Building on research which showed that mindfulness practitioners exhibit less discriminatory behavior toward people with physical disabilities, we aimed to identify precisely why mindfulness practice was so beneficial, hypothesizing that such was an effect of “de-automatization.” In other words, it is not simply the case that mindfulness practitioners are less bigoted, but rather that they are better equipped to override the force of prejudice via enhanced cognitive control, namely executive functions.