Stereotypes about God-fearing conservatives and new-age lefties might be based in truth, suggests new Canadian research.
A study from the University of Toronto found that spiritual exercises like meditating make people more liberal.
The researchers first established through surveys that people who practiced traditional religion are more likely to be politically right of centre, while those who practice spiritualism are more likely to be left of centre.
In a follow-up study, participants were guided through a meditation exercise. Compared to a control group, those who meditated -- whether they originally identified themselves as liberal or conservative -- showed more liberal views, coming out against tough-on-crime legislation and expressing support for liberal candidates.
The study posits that religion promotes tradition, while meditation promotes connectedness and equality.
"Both right and left are necessary. It's not that either is correct; it's that the dialogue between them produces the best chance we have at getting the balance right," said researcher Jordan Peterson.