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UNBIASING THE BRAIN: THE EFFECTS OF MEDITATION UPON THE CEREBRAL HEMISPHERES

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Abstract:

Twenty males with a strong right hand preference underwent 120 simple reaction time trials to a 500 hz auditory stimulus presented to right, left and both ears. Ten Transcendental Meditators served as their own controls in twenty minute meditation and relaxation conditions and were also compared to a ten Non-Meditator control group who relaxed only in two 20-minute conditions. The reaction time trials were administered after the conditions. When the ears were compared to each other a significant right-ear (left hemisphere) advantage (REA) occurred in all relaxation conditions of the Meditator and Non-Meditator control groups. However, no REA emerged after meditation conditions of the Meditator group. The Meditator group after meditation compared to their own baseline relaxation condition showed a significant suppression of reaction time latencies to stimulation delivered to the left hemisphere and a significant facilitation to stimulation delivered to the right hemisphere. The meaning of these findings suggest Transcendental Meditation is an attentional strategy that disrupts the usual biases of the brain which also has implications as a clinical method. A neuropsychological explanation of the results suggest a comprehensive theory of Transcendental Meditation.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1983.11.1.65

Publication date: 1983-01-01

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