Case Studies

Mindfulness Research  |  Does Mindfulness case study bias exist?  

Many people believe the widespread implementation of Mindfulness Meditation, within public schools, is justified because of the numerous case studies that exist. Here is the problem with that: 1) Legislated meditation is not lawful in Canada, and with all due respect, case studies do not change that fact. 2) Cases studies nor brain scans take precedence over the law. 3) Case Studies do not include things like law, ethics, or morality, which means Mindfulness Meditation should never be legislated just on case study data alone. 4) When educators, administrators, and officials give preference to meditation case studies (above prayer case studies, or meditation brain scans over prayer brain scans) they are showing an unfair bias and discriminates. 5) A few Neuroscientists have suggested that Mindfulness case studies are being overamplified in the Media (one example below).

mindfulness case study bias

“The Huffington Post is the worst offender. The message they deliver becomes a ubiquitous, circulating meme that people put up on their Facebook pages and that becomes “true” through repetition alone. The Huffington Post features mindfulness a lot and tends to represent only the positive findings (and in the most positive light imaginable) rather than offering a balanced reading of the science. They use that approach to justify the idea that every person who has any mental abilities should be doing mindfulness meditation. I don’t think the science supports that. The Huffington Post has really done mindfulness a disservice by framing it in that way.” Dr. Catherine Kerr, Neuroscientist







Case Studies

Mindfulness Research  |  Does Mindfulness case study bias exist?  

On January 27, 2015, the Vancouver Sun ran an article titled, “Buddhist-influenced mindfulness makes kids kinder and better at math, UBC study finds.” Here is an excerpt from the article: “The children chosen randomly to receive mindfulness training were given weekly instruction in mindfulness, optimism, and neuroscience…They also performed meditation and breathing exercises three times a day to help them focus on the present, said lead author Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, a developmental psychologist and interim director of the Human Early Learning Partnership at UBC.” Kimberly Schonert-Reichl is also quoted in the article as saying “We were able to examine the effects of the (MindUP) program through multiple lenses and multiple levels of analysis.” And, the article says “the study, based on research conducted in 2008, was published in the peer-reviewed journal Developmental Psychology.”


News articles like the above noted Vancouver Sun example, are a little one-sided in their support of Mindfulness-oriented programs, including the MindUP program, and here are some things worth noting:

  • The Vancouver Sun article (noted above) is largely based on a Press Release that was published one day prior (January 26, 2015), by UBC. In fact, even the photo of Goldie Hawn with the students is in the press release, which suggests the reporter may not have even traveled to any classroom to investigate this story.


  • The study mentioned in the News article was funded by the University of British Columbia who issued the Press Release noted above. In fact, the UBC website says, “Over the last decade, the SEL lab has conducted several studies examining the implementation, acceptability, and outcomes of MindUP — a mindfulness-based SEL program.” And, at the bottom of that UBC web page, it says this: “These studies were made possible through funding by the Hawn Foundation and the Mind and Life Institute.” Note: 1) Goldie Hawn founded the Hawn Foundation in 2003, and the Hawn Foundation founded the MindUP program. 2) The Mind and Life Institute may have been co-founded by the appears Dalai Lama.


  • This News link says, “Kim Schonert-Reichl, a University of B.C. associate professor…received a grant from the Hawn Foundation in 2005 to conduct research on MindUP.” 


  • The MindUP website says, “Dr. Schonert-Reichl serves as an advisor to the British Columbia Ministry [of] Education,” which means the MindUP organization is directly influencing the BC school curriculum with studies it paid for.






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