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The meditating brain: Research shows increased EEG coherence during Transcendental Meditation
by David W. Orme-Johnson, Ph.D.
Transcendental Meditation Magazine Translate This Article
16 February 2012
Dr. David Orme-Johnson* continues his review of the scientific research on Transcendental Meditation, highlighting important research findings that the technique increases EEG coherence and synchrony among all brain regions.
Please see Part I of this article, 'The science behind the experience of enlightenment: Measuring the immeasurable'; and Part II, 'Early research on Transcendental Meditation finds fourth major state of consciousness: Dr David Orme-Johnson'.
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Fast forward: Forty years later [after the pioneering physiological research], over 600 scientific studies have been conducted on the Transcendental Meditation program at more than 200 universities and research institutions in over 30 countries. Here are some of the most recent discoveries and highlights.
The Meditating Brain. One of the most important research findings is that the TM technique increases EEG coherence and synchrony among all brain regions, which means that it increases the orderly functioning of the brain.
This is huge. Even 40 years ago, we knew that everything good about the brain depends upon its orderly functioning. During specific periods of Transcendental Consciousness, EEG coherence increases to its highest level in all frequencies and between all brain areas. Breath rate reaches a minimum, sometimes suspending for up to a minute. The picture of Transcendental Consciousness was beginning to emerge as one of total integration of brain functioning and physiological quiescence.
A number of simple correlational experiments on EEG coherence found that people with higher levels of coherence in the alpha frequency, which increases during TM practice, were also more creative, better at concept learning, scored higher on moral reasoning tests, had higher grade point averages, were more emotionally stable with lower anxiety, had greater neurological efficiency, and tended to have clearer experiences of Transcendental Consciousness during both meditation and activity.
High EEG coherence is widely acknowledged today to indicate a highly ordered, low-entropy state of maximum coupling between brain areas, which allows efficient transmission of information in the brain necessary for effective perception, cognition, and motor behavior. EEG coherence is thought to coordinate the timing of activities of different brain areas, like an orchestra conductor whose baton integrates all the separate instruments into a harmonious symphony.
Click here to watch a video of Dr. Orme-Johnson discussing the body of scientific research on the Transcendental Meditation technique.
Global Good News will continue to feature excerpts from Dr. Orme-Johnson's article, The science behind the experience of enlightenment.
Source: Enlightenment: The Transcendental Meditation Magazine
* David W. Orme-Johnson, Ph.D., was a founding faculty member and chair of the department of psychology at Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in Fairfield, Iowa, USA for over two decades. Dr. Orme-Johnson has published over 100 scientific papers on the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi® programs and is co-editor of Volumes 1 and 5 of Scientific Research on Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program: Collected Papers. He is a nationally recognized researcher on human potential and currently serves as a consultant on research on meditation.
© Copyright 2012 Maharishi Foundation USA
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