Emotional evaluations of disliked politicians: Can they be changed through a short loving-kindness meditation?
The present data set shows the effects of a short loving kindness meditation (LKM) vs. an imagery task on the explicit and implicit evaluations (affective priming task) of a disliked politician, a neutral stranger, a neutral object and the participants themselves (using picture stimuli). Our study design was based on the set-up used by Hutcherson, Seppala and Gross (2008) who showed that a loving-kindness meditation can increase the positive evaluation of an unknown person. Since the loving-kindness meditation also aims to improve the attitude toward disliked persons, we intended to investigate if a short 6 minute meditation session, as it was used in the original publication, can improve the evaluation of a disliked person as well. Our results did not show an improvement for the meditation condition as in the study of Hutcherson et al. (2008). We only found an improvement of the explicit evaluations and a reduction in negative mood, both independent of intervention type. Therefore, we concluded that short meditation interventions might only lead to arousal effects, which would explain the generalized mood and evaluations effects.