Transcendental Meditation Research
Transcending and the Brain: Latest Research
"Transcending, like every other experience, affects the brain."
Research on the Transcendental Meditation® Technique
Benefits to the Individual:
This study shows that (1) students quickly master the process of transcending during practice of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique after only a few months, and (2) the associated frontal coherence systematically becomes a part of daily activity after meditation. The state of restful alertness increasingly becomes the ground of all experience throughout the day. Reference: International Journal of Neuroscience (116:1519–1538, 2006).
This study used the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking to measure figural and verbal creativity in a control group and in a group that subsequently learned the Transcendental Meditation technique. On the post-test 5 months later, the Transcendental Meditation group scored significantly higher on figural originality and flexibility and on verbal fluency. Reference: Journal of Creative Behavior (13:169–190, 1979)
Field independence has been associated with a greater ability to assimilate and structure experience, greater organization of mind and cognitive clarity, improved memory, greater creative expression, and a stable internal frame of reference. The results show that practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique develops greater field independence. This improvement in Transcendental Meditation meditators is remarkable because it was previously thought that these basic perceptual abilities do not improve beyond early adulthood. Reference: Perceptual Motor Skills (39: 1031–1034, 1974)
University students practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi techniques increased significantly on self-development (ego-development) when measured after graduation, in contrast to control students at three other universities who were not participating in this program. Reference: Journal of Social Behavior and Personality (17: 93–121, 2005)
One month after beginning practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique, subjects experienced an improved self-concept in comparison to before learning the technique. Transcendental Meditation participants developed a more strongly defined self-concept and also came to perceive their “actual self” as significantly closer to their “ideal self.” No similar changes were observed for matched controls. Reference: British Journal of Psychology (73: 57–68, 1982).
Patients suffering from post-traumatic stress problems who learned the Transcendental Meditation program showed significant reduction in depression after four months, in contrast to others who were randomly assigned to receive psychotherapy. Reference: Journal of Counseling and Development 64: 212–215, 1985.
Meta-analysis is a procedure for drawing definitive conclusions from large bodies of research studies. A meta-analysis of all available physiological research on the Transcendental Meditation program found that the practice of this technique produces a state of deep rest compared to control conditions, as measured by reduced respiration rate, reduced basal skin conductance (increased skin resistance), and reduced plasma lactate. Reference: American Psychologist 42: 879–881, 1987.
University students who learned the Transcendental Meditation technique showed an improvement in general health as assessed by the Duke Health Profile (composed of physical, mental, and social measures) after three months, in contrast to groups of students from two other universities who did not learn the Transcendental Meditation technique. Reference: Journal of Instructional Psychology (22: 308–319, 1995).
A study of medical utilization and expenditures found that those who participated in the Maharishi Consciousness-Based Approach to Health, which includes practice of the Transcendental Meditation program, showed greatly reduced hospital stays, outpatient hospital visits, and overall medical expenditures in comparison to norms. Reference: The American Journal of Managed Care 3: 135–144, 1997.
Patients with high blood pressure who learned the Transcendental Meditation program showed a significant reduction of systolic and diastolic blood pressure after three months, in contrast to those randomly assigned to a control technique or to those who received health education on how to reduce blood pressure through diet and exercise. Reference: Hypertension 26: 820–827, 1995.
Benefits to Society
Social Indicators Research (47: 153–201, 1999)
Reduced Violent Crime in Washington — The most recent study, a National Demonstration Project conducted in Washington, D.C., from June 7 to July 30, 1993, tested the efficacy of a coherence-creating group for reducing crime and social stress and improving the effectiveness of government. In this carefully controlled experiment, the group increased from 800 to 4,000 over the two-month period. Although violent crime had been steadily increasing during the first five months of the year, soon after the start of the study, violent crime (measured by FBI Uniform Crime Statistics) began decreasing and continued to drop until the end of the experiment (maximum decrease 23.6%, p<.0001), after which it began to rise again. The effects of the group could not be attributed to other possible causes, including temperature, precipitation, weekends, and police and community anti-crime activities.
Journal of Conflict Resolution (32: 776–812, 1988)
Journal of Conflict Resolution (34: 756–768, 1990)
Reduced War Deaths — A day-by-day study of a two-month TM coherence-creating assembly in Israel in 1983 showed that, on days when the number of participants in the assembly was high, war deaths in neighboring Lebanon dropped by 76%. During these two months, crime, traffic accidents, and fires all declined in Israel. Other possible causes (weekends, holidays, weather, etc.) were statistically controlled for.
Journal of Mind and Behavior (9: 457–486, 1989)
Reduced Crime in Washington — A two-year study of weekly data from October 1981 through October 1983 found that increases in the size of a large TM coherence-creating group in Washington, D.C., were followed by significant reductions in violent crime. Weekly violent crime totals in Washington decreased 11.8% during the 2-year period. Time series analysis verified that this decrease in crime could not have been due to changes in the percentage of the population who were of young-adult age, nor Neighborhood Watch programs, nor changes in police policies or procedures.
Journal of Mind and Behavior (9: 457–486, 1989)
Reduced Crime in U.S. Cities — A study of a random sample of 160 U.S. cities found that increasing the numbers of Transcendental Meditation participants in the 160 cities over a 7-year period (1972- 1978) was followed by reductions in crime rate. The study used data from the FBI Uniform Crime Index total and controlled for other variables known to affect crime.
Journal of Mind and Behavior (8: 67–104, 1987)
Reduced Violent Crime — Coherence-creating assemblies in Manila, New Delhi, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., all corresponded with statistically significant declines in violent crime. In these studies, alternative explanations were explored and could not account for the findings.