Effects of Transcendental Meditation practice on brain functioning and stress reactivity in college students

Int J Psychophysiol. 2009 Feb;71(2):170-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2008.09.007. Epub 2008 Sep 30.


This randomized controlled trial investigated effects of Transcendental Meditation (TM) practice on Brain Integration Scale scores (broadband frontal coherence, power ratios, and preparatory brain responses), electrodermal habituation to 85-dB tones, sleepiness, heart rate, respiratory sinus arrhythmia, and P300 latencies in 50 college students. After pretest, students were randomly assigned to learn TM immediately or learn after the 10-week posttest. There were no significant pretest group differences. A MANOVA of students with complete data (N=38) yielded significant group vs treatment interactions for Brain Integration Scale scores, sleepiness, and habituation rates (all p<.007). Post hoc analyses revealed significant increases in Brain Integration Scale scores for Immediate-start students but decreases in Delayed-start students; significant reductions in sleepiness in Immediate-start students with no change in Delayed-start students; and no changes in habituation rates in Immediate-start students, but significant increases in Delayed-start students. These data support the value of TM practice for college students.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods
  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Event-Related Potentials, P300 / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Galvanic Skin Response / physiology
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meditation / methods*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Stress, Psychological / pathology*
  • Stress, Psychological / rehabilitation*
  • Students
  • Time Factors
  • Universities
  • Young Adult