, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 407-415

The effect of transcendental meditation on right hemispheric functioning

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Abstract

This study reports two experiments investigating the effects of transcendental meditation on right hemispheric functioning. The task used in both experiments was the Seashore Tonal Memory Test. In the first experiment a nonmeditator group and an experienced meditator group were run. The design involved three periods: a pretest, a meditation or rest period, and then a posttest. The results showed the experienced meditators were significantly better in both pretest and posttest performance. There were no pretest-posttest differences. The second experiment was done to replicate the first experiment and to control for possible selection bias. The design was the same as the first experiment, except that an additional group of inexperienced meditators was included. The results again showed significantly superior performance for the experienced meditators compared to the nonmeditators. In addition, the experienced meditators were superior to the inexperienced meditators. There were no significant differences between the nonmeditators and the inexperienced meditators. These results support the hypothesis that meditation facilitates right hemispheric functioning. Alternative explanations, such as selection bias, are also discussed.

The authors wish to thank Ms. Michelle Ellis and Ms. Bridget Carr for their assistance in conducting these experiments. We also wish to thank the Seattle SIMS for their cooperation in obtaining subjects.