Impact of mindfulness on racial prejudice

Magdalena Mazurkiewicz & Agnieszka Golec de Zavala


The project is funded by BST grant for PhD students awarded to Magdalena Mazurkiewicz by University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw.


The project will test mindfulness practice to determine whether such an ability to focus on ongoing events in a non- judgmental, open manner can affect reduction of racial prejudice to lessening the fear of death in the context of heightened mortality salience.


According to the Terror Management Theory (Pyszczynski, Salomon & Greenberg, 2003), people experiencing mortality salience tend to defend their worldviews by devaluing outside groups. Whereas mindfulness, according to a series of recent studies, play role of a moderator in reducing the fear of death and ameliorating defensive worldview attitudes in the face of mortality salience (Niemiec et al, 2010). There is likewise evidence for the use of short, cognitive mindfulness interventions to reduce implicit prejudice (Lueke & Gibson, 2015). However, the mechanism of this effect remains unclear.


We plan to conduct a cross-sectional study to test a model in which mindfulness practice is a moderator of the effect of mortality salience on racial prejudice (implicite and explicit) via fear of death. Our project can help formulate ways to reduce existential fear and, in turn, reduce racial prejudice. Furthermore, the project will also support a better understanding of the cognitive mechanism of mindfulness underlying the effect of prejudice reduction.