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Study finds being exposed to Buddhist concepts reduces prejudice and increases prosociality

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posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 10:15 PM
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In three separate experiments of 355 individuals, the researchers found that being exposed to words related to Buddhism could “automatically activate prosociality and tolerance, in particular among people with socio-cognitive open-mindedness.”



Westerners with a Christian background also scored higher on measures of prosociality after being exposed to Buddhist concepts. Surprisingly, participants did not score higher on measures of prosociality after being exposed to Christian concepts.



“To conclude, we think that this work provides, for the first time, experimental evidence in favor of the idea that in both the East and the West, across people from both Christian and Eastern Asian religious traditions, Buddhist concepts automatically activate positive social behavioral outcomes, that is, prosociality and low prejudice, in particular among people with personal dispositions of socio-cognitive openness,” the researchers wrote.


I think this is very interesting, but doesn't come as much of a surprise to me personally. I've been studying into Buddhism more and more here recently and I really like the concepts it promotes. Compassion and acceptance being the two big ones.

It's a shame that Buddhism is a minority religion (if you can even call it that) in the world today. I feel like if it was more widespread and the concepts were brought to a wider audience then the world would be a much more peaceful place. That's just my opinion though.


What does ATS think?
edit on 4/5/2015 by 3NL1GHT3N3D1 because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 10:35 PM
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What a crock!

The study finds that already "opened minded" people are even more open minded after seeing words such as "Dharma" and "Nirvana".

I just conducted a study that supposes a lot of research money was misspent.

On weed.



posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 10:41 PM
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a reply to: abe froman

The part you missed is that those same people didn't score as high when non-Buddhist words were being used. Their open-mindedness was more prevalent when Buddhist terms were being used opposed to say Christian or Muslim ones.
edit on 4/5/2015 by 3NL1GHT3N3D1 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 10:52 PM
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a reply to: 3NL1GHT3N3D1

This study screamed out ill-conceived and biased reading the OP, so I went to the source.


When Westerners familiar with Buddhism read religious words like “Dharma” and “Nirvana”


So people who already know about Buddhism reported less negativity than those who heard the word Freedom. Where is their score before hearing the words, since they don't say they tested them then, there is zero association with the words.

Then we have this gem ...


Westerners with a Christian background also became more tolerant after being exposed to Buddhist concepts, though only among those with a predisposition for valuing the welfare of all people and an aversion towards authoritarianism.


So basically they are making things up and saying results they like show they are right, and results they don't like is the fault of the person.


Surprisingly, participants did not score higher on measures of prosociality after being exposed to Christian concepts.

What Christian concepts? Crucifixion, Hell .. those fit the bill. Which words did they use?

How do they define tolerance? Is disagreeing with someone while loving them intolerant? Do you have to agree to be tolerant?



posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 11:50 PM
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There are many Buddhist nationalist groups that inflict violence on those of other faiths, contradicting this paper.



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 12:57 AM
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a reply to: 3NL1GHT3N3D1

This sounds plausible, but without being able to read the full paper I can't tell if testing was done in a way that wouldn't be biased. The link in the article took me to the abstract in the Journal, but to read further I would need to pay.


There are quite a few unreputable journals out there. I am not saying that is one of them and I am a bit lazy to see if it is on the naughty or nice lists ATM.



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 03:33 AM
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originally posted by: abe froman
What a crock!

The study finds that already "opened minded" people are even more open minded after seeing words such as "Dharma" and "Nirvana".

I just conducted a study that supposes a lot of research money was misspent.

On weed.


Au contraire!

Me thinks any such 'research' is nary misspent.



I do wonder when I read these nuggets what they specifically mean when they refer to "buddhist concepts".
edit on 6-4-2015 by greencmp because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 05:25 AM
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a reply to: 3NL1GHT3N3D1

Doesn't buddhism actually teach true agape love which two of the desert religions are not so keen on?



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 05:32 AM
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Psychologically, after learning the concepts associated to certain words such as Nirvana, hearing the words invokes images of the concept in the mind which could stimulate cognitive responses of open mindedness via neural pathways.

The actual visualisation of the concepts activating the schemata and stimulating higher order thinking.



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 06:37 AM
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a reply to: 3NL1GHT3N3D1

I found the articles interesting enough.


They used 3 sample-groups of ~116 subjects who were measured for different personality traits in the spirit of Adorno and Altemeyer.

People who score high for authoritarian personalities tend to exhibit aggression towards minority beliefs and, often, minorities at large. Not necessarily physical aggression, more often it'll be vocal and critical. Reading one or two posts on ATS sometimes suggests who would score high for authoritarianism.

Naturally, the work of Adorno and Altemeyer remains open to debate.

They've used two groups of Western Christians, scored their psychology against scales of authoritarianism and 'universalism' and then exposed them to the Buddhist concepts. A third group included Taiwanese people with cultural backgrounds in Taoism/Buddhism.

All three groups showed higher tolerance, decreased prejudice and more 'prosociality.'

I wonder if something else was at play here? For instance, it isn't clear to me why exposure to Buddhist concepts would make a difference to those whose lives had always been exposed to those same concepts.
edit on 4.6.2015 by Kandinsky because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 06:47 AM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

Perhaps it was the actual resonance of the words themselves that put their mindset in tune with the concept which activates higher order thinking / resonating with higher energy.

For example if I ask you to visualise 'making a cup of tea' compared to 'contemplate the concept of Nirvana', your neurological pathways for each of these would not be the same, as in order to contemplate Nirvana, one must use faculties beyond the basic cognitive skills.
edit on 6-4-2015 by theabsolutetruth because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 07:16 AM
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a reply to: theabsolutetruth



Perhaps it was the actual resonance of the words themselves that put their mindset in tune with the concept which activates higher order thinking / resonating with higher energy.


Perhaps.

I was just comparing (in my mind) the concepts of Heaven and Nirvana. Our Western concept of Heaven has connotations of personal reward and a measure of success. Sure, not to all people, but certainly many, and maybe most. Heaven in that sense is like a spiritual reflection of our material world and is symbiotic, in our minds, with an almost physical afterlife.

In contrast, the concept of Nirvana is almost antithetical to Heaven. Not in the sense that they both share elements of escaping/transcending the material realms, but in the way Nirvana promises an absence of material or spiritual rewards.

In that way, the two concepts would tickle and light up different areas of our cognitive maps. An MRI scan might even show that the concept of Nirvana presents a marked difference in cognitive activities when compared to thinking of the concept of Heaven.

It's interesting isn't it?



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 08:05 AM
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a reply to: TheSubversiveOne

That doesn't disprove the study at all. In fact it is completely unrelated to the results of the study. Just because there are examples of Buddhists behaving badly doesn't mean that Buddhism doesn't invoke feelings of prosociability. You are going to have to try better than that to debunk it.



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 09:10 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

It was Buddhist words that evoked those feelings; not "buddhism" itself. Let's not swallow those sugar pills.

I'm not attempting to debunk nor disprove, only pointing out Anti-social feelings contradict prosocial feelings. Their main hypothesis is that Buddhist concepts produce lower explicit negative attitudes towards out groups. The fact that nationalist Buddhist groups exist contradicts this hypothesis. Do you disagree?



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 09:19 AM
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a reply to: TheSubversiveOne

No, it just shows that people don't act 100% like everyone else when exposed to certain ideologies.



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 09:28 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

The amount of sex-abuse inflicted by monks on children is enough for me to forget about this study and all it stands for.



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 09:31 AM
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a reply to: TheSubversiveOne

You are confusing the religious message with the preachers. Isn't that what Catholics get upset about when their religion is called out for its own pedophilia scandal?

The study says that various Buddhist themes invoke feelings of prosocialability. It doesn't say that all Buddhists are prosocial though.
edit on 6-4-2015 by Krazysh0t because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 09:44 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t




You are confusing the religious message with the preachers. Isn't that what Catholics get upset about when their religion is called out for its own pedophilia scandal?

The study says that various Buddhist themes invoke feelings of prosocialability. It doesn't say that all Buddhists are prosocial though.


A religion is the people that practice it.

I'm just a little confused how answering a little questionnaire in a study is supposed to help us arrive at this conclusion, as opposed to human activity. What should I believe here?



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 10:04 AM
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originally posted by: TheSubversiveOne
A religion is the people that practice it.


Negative. A religion is just the dogma surrounding various spiritual beliefs. People are people. The violent ones will act violently regardless of whatever religion they ascribe to.


I'm just a little confused how answering a little questionnaire in a study is supposed to help us arrive at this conclusion, as opposed to human activity. What should I believe here?


Well go read up on the study to see how it was done. See the methodology used and the reasoning behind the conclusions reached. Have you done that? Or are you just casting disbelief because it is promoting a religion other than your own as more noble?



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 11:18 AM
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a reply to: OccamsRazor04

The fact that hell is a part of the Christian religion at all should show a lot about it and its tactics. Buddhism has Naraka but it is not the result of divine judgement nor is it eternal.




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