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Mindfulness & Bias: Literature Review

There are many documented benefits of mindfulness. In addition to impacting general health and well-being, mindfulness appears to be a promising tool for decreasing stress and burnout in the workplace (Krasner et al., 2009) and increasing concentration on work tasks (Dane, 2010). The focus of this literature review is to help us understand how mindfulness can impact unconscious bias and social interactions.

There is evidence that increased awareness of current experience, which is a common product of mindfulness practice, can reduce the automatic or habitual functioning that characterize cognitive biases (Burgess, Beach, & Saha, 2016). Furthermore, bringing deliberate attention to automatic cognitions, such as implicit race biases, can in turn impact related explicit social judgments and behaviors (Payne, 2005). Specific mindfulness practices that emphasize developing capacities of kindness and compassion have also been associated with lower levels of implicit bias (Kang, Gray, & Dovidio, 2014) and an increased likelihood to help others (Condon, Desbordes, Miller, & DeSteno, 2013).

May 8, 2017

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