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The effects of meditative practices and psychedelics on political behavior

Talk by Otto Simonsson, Trinity College

2020.02.10 | Anne-Mette Pedersen

Date Tue 21 Apr
Time 11:00 13:00
Location IMC Meeting Room, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 4, Building 1483-312

Photo: Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Abstract

 

The field of political psychology has shown that psychological needs to manage and reduce threat and uncertainty underlie individual preferences for political ideology. For instance, political conservatism correlates positively with negativity bias, disgust sensitivity, and dogmatism, whereas political liberalism correlates positively with cognitive flexibility, tolerance of uncertainty, and openness to experience. By manipulating the underlying drivers of political ideology, researchers have been able to temporarily shift political attitudes in several experimental conditions, but not much is known about the political effects of real-world interventions designed to change patterns of thinking. In this talk, I will outline the main empirical findings in political psychology and present my own results from randomized controlled trials and observational studies on how mindfulness-based and compassion-based programs as well as psychedelic substances may (or may not) affect political attitudes. I will also share my findings from cross-sectional studies in the United Kingdom and the United States with population estimates on how many and what kind of people engage with mindfulness-based practices.

About the speaker

Otto Simonsson is a DPhil Researcher at the University of Oxford, where he conducts research on the effects of meditative practices and psychedelics on political behavior. In this talk, Otto will outline the main theoretical and empirical underpinnings of political psychology and present his findings from randomized controlled trials and observational studies on how meditative practices and psychedelics may (or may not) affect political attitudes

Seminar

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