Canadian researchers have found that meditation fosters liberal attitudes immediately after a session.
"There's great overlap between religious beliefs and political orientations," says psychology researcher Jordan Peterson of University of Toronto.
"Inducing a spiritual experience through a guided meditation exercise led both liberals and conservatives to endorse more liberal political attitudes," adds Peterson, a study co-author.
In three studies, the researchers Hirsh, Peterson and Megan Walberg examined their participants' political views in relation to their religiousness and spirituality.
In the first study, they asked 590 American participants whether they identified as Democrat or Republican, according to a Toronto statement.
In the second, they measured 703 participants' political orientations and support for the major American and Canadian political parties. In the third, researchers recruited 317 participants from the US and asked half to complete a spiritual exercise consisting of a guided meditation video.
Researchers reported that, compared to those in the control group, participants who meditated felt significantly higher levels of spirituality and expressed more liberal political attitudes, including a reduced support for "tough on crime" policies and a preference for liberal political candidates.