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New study sheds light on 'peak experiences' in world-class performers
by Mario Orsatti
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5 September 2012
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A Norwegian researcher has published a new study on peak experiences among world-class performers in management, sports, classical music, and a variety of professions, which found that during optimal performance they spontaneously experience ''higher states of consciousness.''
The study, by Dr. Harald Harung of the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences in Norway and published in the Journal of Human Values, reviewed research on peak experiences, including four quantitative studies on world-class performers.
Dr. Harung found that world-class performers displayed unique brain wave characteristics that were distinct to the controls. He also found correlations between high performance and their subjective experiences of ''high states of consciousness,'' which include inner calmness and happiness amidst dynamic activity, maximum wakefulness, effortlessness and ease of functioning, and a sense of perfection.
Dr. Harung also found that top-level performers outscored the control groups in a test of moral development. Higher moral development implies an expanded awareness where the individual is able to satisfy the interests of other people and not just his or her own needs, according to Dr. Harung, who added that is remarkable that high levels of performance in a wide spectrum of activities are connected to high moral standards.
Dr. Harung said that peak performers have experiences of ''high states of consciousness'' because they are naturally accessible to the human brain physiology:
''Everyone wants excellence, yet current understanding of high performance is fragmented. What we have done in our research, is to use quantitative and neurophysiological research methods on topics that so far have been dominated by psychology.''
Enjoy the full article on the Excellence in Action page, including comments by co-author Dr. Fred Travis, director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management, about research showing improved brain functioning among people practising Transcendental Meditation.
© Copyright 2012 Maharishi Foundation USA
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