New research shows Transcendental Meditation improves standardized academic achievement

March 21, 2011
This graph shows the increased math achievement in meditating students. Credit: Maharishi University of Management

The Transcendental Meditation technique may be an effective approach to improve math and English academic achievement in low-performing students, according to a new study published in the journal Education.

The study was conducted at a California public middle school with 189 students who were below proficiency level in English and math. Change in was evaluated using the California Standards Tests (CST).

"The results of the study provide support to a recent trend in education focusing on student mind/body development for academic achievement," said Dr. Ronald Zigler, study co-author and associate professor at Penn State, Abington. "We need more programs of this kind implemented into our nation's public schools, with further evaluation efforts."

Students who practiced the Transcendental Meditation program showed significant increases in math and English scale scores and performance level scores over a one-year period. Forty-one percent of the meditating students showed a gain of at least one performance level in math compared to 15.0% of the non-meditating controls.

This graph shows the increased English achievement in meditating students. Credit: Maharishi University of Management

Among the students with the lowest levels of academic performance, "below basic" and "far below basic," the meditating students showed a significant improvement in overall academic achievement compared to controls, which showed a slight gain.

"This initial research, showing the benefits of the Quiet Time/Transcendental Meditation program on academic achievement, holds promise for public education" said Sanford Nidich, EdD, lead author and professor of education at Maharishi University of Management. "The findings suggest that there is an easy-to-implement, value-added educational program which can help low-performing begin to close the ," said Dr. Nidich.

The middle school level is of particular concern to educators because of low nationally. Sixty-six percent of eighth-grade students are below proficiency level in math and 68% are below proficiency level in reading, based on 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress data.

Faculty surveyed as part of the project reported the Quiet Time/ program to be a valuable addition to the school. They reported the students to be calmer, happier, and less hyperactive, with an increased ability to focus on schoolwork. In terms of the school environment, faculty reported less student fights, less abusive language, and an overall more relaxed and calm atmosphere since implementation of the program.

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not rated yet Mar 21, 2011
Is this the same as neural programming?
not rated yet Mar 21, 2011
TM is a type of neural programming but not the only type. Any technique(s) used to rewire neural circuitry is neural programming because the programming is in the circuitry. On a somewhat-related note, Robert Anton Wilson often professed the belief that yoga was a system of cognitive development honed by centuries of trial and error.
not rated yet Mar 21, 2011
I think it would be funny to see the reaction from various religious types if these studies' practical implications (vis a vis teaching TM in schools) were ever realized. I can just imagine my own Southern Baptist thinking this means the introduction of demon possession (induced by TM) into the curriculum.
not rated yet Mar 21, 2011
More than 600 scientific studies verifying the
wide-ranging benefits of the Transcendental
Meditation technique have been conducted at 250
independent universities and medical schools in 33
countries during the past 40 years. Journals include Scientific American, American Journal of Cardiology, Lancet, Science, and Hypertension (American Heart Association).
3 / 5 (2) Mar 21, 2011
Does this mean that the time honoured method of getting extremely drunk three times a week will no longer be used?

Surely this madness will not effect the philosophy department...

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