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Herzberger, Henry Gideon
Voice quality and Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM- Sidhi program: vocal acoustics in health and higher states of awareness

Order No. 9228950

Two experiments investigated the effect of improved physiological health and decreased psychological stress and anxiety on voice quality, reflected in changes of five acoustic perturbation measures: (a) short-term frequency and amplitude perturbation (jitter and shimmer), (b) the coefficient of variation for longer-term amplitude (CVA) and frequency perturbation (CVF), and (c) the harmonics-to-noise ratio (H/N). The first experiment, a four-month longitudinal, random assignment study, analyzed voice data on 16 college-age male subjects before and after four months of either Transcendental Meditation (TM) or a stress management (SM) course. After four months, the TM group showed a significant reduction in CVF (p =.055) compared to the SM group, together with large to medium effect sizes (ES $>$.40) for changes in jitter, H/N, and CVA, suggesting with larger sample sizes most of the acoustic measures would reach significance. These perturbation values were in the healthy range, and were similar those of the long- time TM subjects in Experiment 2. The second experiment, a cross-sectional study compared six long-time TM and TM-Sidhi subjects reporting experiences of "higher states of consciousness" to six non-meditating comparison subjects. The only significant group differences were in CVA (p =.020). Initial changes seen in the first experiment did not seem to continue with additional TM practice.

These data suggest initial short-term reductions in acoustic perturbation with TM practice reach a stable normal, perhaps optimal, level, which is then maintained. The change is in the direction of improved voice clarity and freedom from roughness or hoarseness. Further research could investigate suprasegmental speech to better discriminate deeper changes in speech and communication which may develop with long-term practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi program. Thus, prosodic features of multi-syllabic speech--variations in loudness, pitch, and speaking rate--together with formant and harmonic band analysis, may reveal subtler aspects of communication such as changes in affect which could develop with the TM and TM- Sidhi program. Source: DAI, 53, no. 06B, (1992): 3190

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