Term of Award

Fall 2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Janice N. Steirn

Committee Member 1

Lawrence Locker Jr.

Committee Member 2

Shauna W. Joye


In the past, meditation research has focused primarily on mindfulness meditation, but little research has examined Loving-Kindness Meditation (LKM). LKM may be an important addition to treatment or preventative programs for people at risk of exposure to violence or aggression in their lives or work. The current research aims to add to the currently growing body of literature concerning LKM and compassion based meditation practices. The researchers sought to determine if a 12-week course in LKM would have any effect on galvanic skin response (GSR) and heart rate in beats per minute (BPM) during the presentation of a video containing violent imagery of individuals engaged in physical altercations. Specifically, the current study sought to answer the following questions: (1) do GSR and BPM increase during the viewing of violent stimuli after a course in LKM, (2) do participants in the LKM group return to baseline on GSR and BPM measures more rapidly after a course in LKM than controls, and (3) are there any significant changes in measures of psychological factors after a course in LKM relative to individuals’ baseline. While the results for the physiological measures were not significant they did offer information that may prove valuable for future research. Several psychological measures were significant or trended toward significant outcomes indicating the need for further research in this area suggesting a relationship between LKM and physiological states. Taken together the results of this study indicate that the LKM course may have sensitized participants to the concerns of others as well as their own emotional states.

Research Data and Supplementary Material