Empirical link between mindfulness and self-knowledge

Carlson, E.N. (2013.) Overcoming the Barriers to Self-Knowledge: Mindfulness as a Path to Seeing Yourself as You Really Are. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 8(2), 173-186.

Abstract. People’s beliefs about their personality, or how they typically think, feel, and behave, correspond somewhat to objective accuracy criteria. Yet recent research has highlighted the fact that there are many blind spots in self-knowledge and that these blind spots can have fairly negative consequences. What can people do to improve self-knowledge?

The current article suggests that the construct of mindfulness, defined as paying attention to one’s current experience in a nonevaluative way, may serve as a path to self-knowledge. Specifically, mindfulness appears to directly address the two major barriers to self-knowledge: informational barriers (i.e., the quantity and quality of information people have about themselves) and motivational barriers (i.e., ego-protective motives that affect how people process information about themselves).

This article reviews the available evidence supporting the hypothesis that mindfulness improves self-knowledge and outlines promising future directions that might firmly establish an empirical link between mindfulness and self-knowledge.


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