Meeting Global Challenges from the Inside Out: Tracing the Effects of Mindfulness on Climate Change Attitudes and Actions

Project Details


During the last few decades, mindfulness has moved from the margins of scientific investigation right into its center. Psychological research suggests that both trait mindfulness as well as mindfulness training can raise positive mood, reduce anxiety and perceived threat, and improve emotion regulation. These effects may help overcome political polarization, and provide fertile ground for respectful and constructive conversations about pressing issues like climate change. So far, political science has been agnostic about mindfulness as a potential explanatory factor of political attitudes and actions. To fill this gap in research, we follow a two-step empirical approach: a first study provides correlational evidence for an effect of mindfulness on political attitudes drawing on a nationally representative US-sample via Amazon MTurk. Two randomized controlled trials with an 8-week mindfulness-based intervention and an active control condition provides experimental evidence for a causal effect of mindfulness on changes in political attitudes. These insights in the political dimension of mindfulness could provide a track for overcoming societal challenges. By increasing pro-social qualities like compassion, perspective-taking, and by reducing biases due to motivated reasoning, mindfulness might depolarize societies, and help them solve problems they previously could not agree on.
Short titleMeeting Global Challenges from the Inside Out
AcronymInside out
Effective start/end date1/10/20 → 30/09/21

Sustainable Development Goals

  • Climate action