Sunday, March 14, 2010

Excellent Article Questions Significance of Transcendental Meditation Research

A fine, critical blog, "The Honest Truth about TM," recently posted a discussion of an article by Travis, et al., on "alpha power" measured for newly instructed TM meditators and a control group of non-meditators.

You may be able to read the Travis article published in Cognitive Processing for yourself, if you have access to an online article-search database (available through most universities and some libraries). It's also possible that Dr. Travis will send you a copy, as he has been extremely generous about sharing his research with interested parties.

The Wikipedia page on "TM-Sidhi Program" contains similar criticisms of coherence studies, noting, "Scientists now consider EEG 'coherence' to be an obsolete measurement since it does not separate the effects of amplitude and phase in the interrelations between two EEG signals. [source: Jean-Philippe Lachaux, Eugenio Rodriguez, Jacques Martinerie, and Francisco J. Varela; ; Measuring phase synchrony in brain signals; Human Brain Mapping, 1999]."

Some relevant quotes from the blog post:

A recent study published in the low-impact journal "Cognitive Processing" by TM Org employees Fred Travis, David A. F. Haaga , John Hagelin, Melissa Tanner, Alaric Arenander, Sanford Nidich, Carolyn Gaylord-King, Sarina Grosswald, Maxwell Rainforth and Robert H. Schneider claims to (once again) establish significance for that which is well known to be insignificant....

Alpha EEG waves (or more commonly simply "alpha") is a common artifact of everyday human life. Coherent alpha is needed for everyday function of our brains and in no way represents anything extraordinary.... No one else seems to buy it except these guys, as they still keep talking about it long after their scientific peers have called such speculations "exaggerated" or "premature" [2007, The Cambridge Handbook of Consciousness]....

As the great pioneer in EEG interpretation, Barbara Brown, states "Concluding anything about alpha is perilous"....

Classic TM researcher manipulation of baseline. An old TM Org trick. Didn't fool me. The real question is how many people will they fool?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

as long as people just want to believe, what is said, or "proved" by scientific results, and not listen to their inner "knowing", people will start TM or staying in the organisation.
When I started TM I got my doubts during the puja, the kneeling for guru dev, and the never get an answer when having difficulties. Just those stupid "holy" checkingnotes.
And no I never had bad experiences, heavy unstressing or what so ever.
I just saw people close to me changing into different persons (In a negative way), Heard Maha telling lies, him telling that he was the greatest, and being the onely one, and all love is directed to the self (!!). Who s self? Maha s? Yes I would say.
and doing big financial frauds on lots of levels.

Post a Comment