Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 217–225 | Cite as

Moral Development and Higher States of Consciousness

  • Sanford I. Nidich
  • Randi J. Nidich
  • Charles N. Alexander


This paper discusses possible relationships between the cognitive–moral development theory of Lawrence Kohlberg and Charles Alexander's life-span model. Central to Alexander's model is the role which levels of mind and higher states of consciousness play throughout the general periods of development. Parallel to Kohlberg's cosmic perspective Stage 7—which goes beyond the representational logic and reasoning identified by Piaget's highest stage—are the postrepresentational stages of development, described by Vedic psychology and Alexander's model as "higher states of consciousness"—transcendental consciousness, cosmic consciousness, God consciousness, and unity consciousness. Research indicates that EEG brainwave coherence is associated with the development of higher states of consciousness and Kohlberg's Stage 7. Studies on the Transcendental Meditation (TM) and TM-Sidhi programs as effective technologies for promoting moral development are further discussed.

Moral development Transcendental Meditation consciousness Maharishi's Vedic Psychology Lawrence Kohlberg 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alexander, C. N. (1982). Ego development, personality and behavioral change in inmates practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique or practicing in other programs: A cross-sectional and longitudinal study. Dissertation Abstracts International, 43 (2), 539-B.Google Scholar
  2. Alexander, C. N., & Boyer, R. W. (1989). Seven states of consciousness: Unfolding the full potential of the cosmic psyche in individual life through Maharishi's Vedic psychology. Modern Science and Vedic Science, 2 324-372.Google Scholar
  3. Alexander, C. N., Boyer, R. W., & Alexander, V. K. (1987). Higher states of consciousness: Unfolding the full potential of the cosmic psyche in individual life through Maharishi's Vedic Psychology. Modern science and Vedic Science, 1 89-126.Google Scholar
  4. Alexander, C. N., Davies, J. L., Dixon, C. A., Dillbeck, M. C., Druker, S. M., Oetzel, R. M., Muehlman, J. M., & Orme-Johnson, D. W. (1990). Growth of higher stages of consciousness: Maharishi's Vedic Psychology of human development. In C. N. Alexander, C. N. & E. J. Langer (Eds.), Higher stages of human development. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Beaumont, J. G., Mayes, A. R., & Rugg, M. D. (1978). Asymmetry in EEF alpha coherence and power: Effects of task and sex. Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, 45 393-401.Google Scholar
  6. Birren, J. E. (1990). Integration of approaches and viewpoints. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Wisdom: Its nature, origins, and development. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bohm, D., & Hiley, B. (1975). On the intuitive understanding of nonlocality as implied by quantum theory. Foundations of Physics, 5 96-102.Google Scholar
  8. Chidbhavanada, Swami. (1984). The Bhagavad-Gita. Tamil Nadu, India: Sri Ramakrishna Tapovanam.Google Scholar
  9. Cook-Greuter, S. (1990). Defining and measuring post-conventional ego stages, especially stages 5/6 and 6, Adult development, 2 87-104.Google Scholar
  10. Dillbeck, M. C., & Bronson, E. C. (1981). Short-term longitudinal effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique on EEG power and coherence. International Journal of Neuroscience, 15 151-157.Google Scholar
  11. Domash, L. H. (1977). The Transcendental Meditation technique and quantum physics: Is pure consciusness a macroscopic quantum state in the brain? In D.W. Orme-Johnson & J. T. Farrow (Eds.), Scientific research on the the Transcendental Meditation program: Collected papers, vol. 1. Rheinweiler, W. Germany: MERU Press.Google Scholar
  12. Dumeruth, G., Walz, W., Scollo-Lavizzari, G. & Kleiner, B. (1972). Spectral analysis of EEG activity in different sleep stages in normal adults. European Neurology, 7 265-296.Google Scholar
  13. Farrow, J., T., 1977. Physiologcal changes associated with transcendental consciousness. In D. W. Orme-Johnson & J. T. Farrow (Eds.), Scientific research on the the Transcendental Meditation program: Collected papers, vol. 1. Rheinweiler, W. Germany: MERU Press.Google Scholar
  14. Hagelin, J. (1987). Is consciousness the unified field: A field theorist's perspective. Modern Science and Vedic Science, 1 29-87.Google Scholar
  15. King, M. L., Jr. (1970). Letter from Birmingham jail. In G. Ducas (Ed.), Great documents in black American history. New York: Praeger Pub.Google Scholar
  16. Kohlberg, L. (1973a). Continuities in childhood and adult development revisited. In L. Kohlberg (Ed.), Collected papers on moral development and moral education. Cambridge, MA: Center for Moral Development, Harvard University.Google Scholar
  17. Kohlberg, L. (1973b). Stages and aging in moral developmentsome speculations. Gerontologists, 13 498-502.Google Scholar
  18. Kohlberg, L., & Power, C. (1981). Moral development, religious thing, and the question of a seventh stage. In L. Kohlberg (Ed.), Essays on moral development: Vol. one. The philosophy of moral development. New York: Harper and Row, Pub.Google Scholar
  19. Kohlberg, L., & Gilligan, C. (1971). The adolescent as philosopher: The discovery of the self in a postconventional world. Daedalus, 1051-1086.Google Scholar
  20. Kohlberg, L., & Ryncarz, R. (1990). Beyond justice reasoning: moral development and consideration of a seventh stage. In C. N. Alexander & E. J. Langer (Ed.), Higher stages of human development. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Levine, P. (1976). The coherence spectral array (COSPAR) and its applications to the study of spatial ordering in the EEG. Proceedings of the San Diego Bio-Medical Symposium, 15 237-247.Google Scholar
  22. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1969). Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad-Gita: A new translation and commentary, Chapters 1-6. Baltimore, Maryland: Penguin.Google Scholar
  23. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. (1972). The Science of Creative Intelligence. Los Angeles: International SRM.Google Scholar
  24. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. (1977). Inaugural address. In First World Assembly on Law, Justice, and Rehabilitation. Rheinweiler, W. Germany: MERU Press.Google Scholar
  25. Maslow, A. H. (1964). Religions, values and peak-experiences. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Nidich, S. (1975).Astudy of the relationship of the Transcendental Meditation program to Kohlberg's stages of moral reasoning. Dissertation Abstracts International, 36 4361-4362.Google Scholar
  27. Nidich, S., & Nidich, R. (1983a). The Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program and moral development. In R. Chalmers, G. Clements, H. Schenkluhn, & M. Weinless (Eds.), Scientific research on Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program: Collected papers, vol. 3 (pp. 2034-2037). Vlodrop, The Netherlands: MERU Press.Google Scholar
  28. Nidich, S., Ryncarz, R., Abrams, A., Orme-Johnson, D. W., & Wallace, R. K. (1983b). Kohlbergian cosmic perspective responses, EEGcoherence, and theTMand TM-Sidhi program. Journal of Moral Education, 12 (3), 166-173.Google Scholar
  29. Orme-Johnson, D. W. (1977). Coherence during Transcendental Meditation. Electroencephalopgraphy and Clinical Neurophysiology, 43 581.Google Scholar
  30. Orme-Johnson, D. W., & Farrow, J. T. (Eds.) (1977). Scientific research on the Transcendental Meditation program: Collected papers, vol. 1 (pp.705-712). Rheinweiler, W. Germany: MERU Press.Google Scholar
  31. Orme-Johnson, D. W., & Haynes, C. T. (1981). EEG phase coherence, pure consciousness, creativity, and TM-Sidhi experiences. International Journal of Neuroscience, 13 211-217.Google Scholar
  32. Rest, J. R. (1974). Manual for the Defining Issues Test: An objective test of moral judgment. University of Minnesota.Google Scholar
  33. Sklar, B., Hanley, J., & Simmons, W. W. (1972). An EEG experiment aimed toward identifying dyslectic children. Nature, 240 414-416.Google Scholar
  34. Warner, T. (1986). Transcendental Meditation and developmental advancement: Mediating abilities and conservation performance. Dissertation Abstracts International, 47 3358.Google Scholar
  35. Zigler, R. L. (1994). Reason and emotion revisited: Achilles, Arjuna, and moral conduct, Educational theory, 44 (1), 63-79.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sanford I. Nidich
  • Randi J. Nidich
  • Charles N. Alexander

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations