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Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:09 PM

Moments of Spirituality Can Induce Liberal Attitudes

"People become more politically liberal immediately after practising a spiritual exercise such as meditation, researchers at the University of Toronto have found."

<snip>

"The conservative part of religious belief has played an important role in holding cultures together and establishing common rules. The spiritual part, on the other hand, helps cultures renew themselves by adapting to changing circumstances...."

Very interesting article! Read it here: http://tinyurl.com/axx6agh

5 replies, 561 views

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Reply Moments of Spirituality Can Induce Liberal Attitudes (Original post)
silverweb Feb 2013 OP
Jim__ Feb 2013 #1
silverweb Feb 2013 #2
Thats my opinion Feb 2013 #3
goldent Feb 2013 #5
cbayer Feb 2013 #4

Response to silverweb (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:57 PM

1. It would be interesting to see the details of the 3rd study.

In the third study, the researchers recruited 317 participants from the U.S. and asked half to complete a spiritual exercise consisting of a guided meditation video. Those who watched the video were asked to close their eyes and breathe deeply, imagining themselves in a natural setting and feeling connected to the environment. They were then asked about their political orientation and to rate how spiritual they felt. The researchers reported that, compared to those in the control group, participants who meditated felt significantly higher levels of spirituality and expressed more liberal political attitudes, including a reduced support for "tough on crime" policies and a preference for liberal political candidates.


It doesn't say anything about the attitudes of the group that watched the video before watching the video. What is the probability that this group was significantly more liberal than the control group from the beginning?

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 05:01 PM

2. It would be.

Hopefully, we'll see more about this and some followup work.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 05:37 PM

3. The relationship between spititual formation and public policy is becoming increasingly clear.

While there are many paths and practices which lead to a more liberal political and social agenda, for a long time we have known that cultivating the inner disciplines is one of them.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:18 PM

5. More on the 3rd study...

The divided the sample of 317 people randomly into two groups, showed one group the video and one not. The group that saw the video scored reported more liberal attitudes than the one that did not, on both the IPIP liberalism scale and self-rated political orientation (not huge, but statistically significant). The groups did not differ significantly on any demographic variables (including age, race, sex, religion).

The probability that one group was significantly more liberal going in would be very small based on this methodology and the sample size. It would have been nice to do "before and after" measurements, but in surveys that has all kind of problematic side effects.

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Response to silverweb (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:05 PM

4. Interesting work, but not really surprising.

People always seem to be more tolerant and generous when they relax.

Thanks for posting.

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