It [the Maharishi Effect] reports six discrete replications of the same social experiment — assemblies practicing TM, all of which coincided with positive effects, not merely statistically significant but substantively significant effects, on a variety of indicators of conflictual and peace-making behaviors in Lebanon. – Ted Gurr, emeritus Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland1

The idea that human consciousness has an influence at a distance, without direct interaction between individuals, is challenging. Therefore, we list 16 reasons for suggesting that Transcendental Meditation practice and its advanced programs are not only at the forefront of developments in achieving personal balance and peace but are also responsible for beneficial changes in society, as researched by science.

1. Research results have been replicated with over 150 outcomes

Studies on the Maharishi Effect have been repeated at different times and in different geographical locations: from the UK to India and from the US to the Philippines.  They have used publicly available data such as international terrorism data from the Rand Corporation, FBI crime statistics and US gallop polls, on normally unconnected social variables. All these studies have demonstrated measurable benefits to society. Thus, they should be given serious academic consideration.

2. Research has been published in peer-reviewed journals

These journals include Social Indicators Research; The Journal of Mind and Behavior; The Journal of Crime and Justice; SAGE Open Journal; Psychology, Crime & Law; Journal of Offender Rehabilitation; Journal of Conflict Resolution; and the Journal of Social Behavior and Personality.

The process of review employed by the above journals prior to publication provides independent confirmation that the research meets normal standards of scientific rigor. Twenty studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals and describe many of the more than 50 demonstrations of the Maharishi Effect; others have been presented at academic conferences, including the American Statistical Association, American Political Science Association and American Psychological Association.

3. The research has been checked by independent experts

Dr Juan Pascual Leone, Professor Emeritus of York University in Ottawa, Canada, wrote, “The possibility is that we have made one of the most important discoveries of our time.”2 David Edwards, Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin, commented: “The claim can plausibly be made that the potential impact of this research exceeds that of any other ongoing social or psychological research program. The research has survived a broader array of statistical tests than most research in the field of conflict resolution. I think this work and the theory that informs it, deserve the most serious consideration by academics and policy makers alike.”3  Other independent experts have made similar statements. Ted Gurr, Emeritus Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, stated: “In the studies I have examined on the impact of (the Maharishi Effect) on conflict, I can find no methodological flaws and the findings have been consistent across a large number of replications in many different geographical and conflictual situations.”4

And Ken Pease, formerly Professor of Criminology at the University of Huddersfield and a member of the British Home Office National Crime Prevention Board 1993–96, summed up the research as follows: “I was initially skeptical, but having studied the research completed to date, I have concluded that these studies on the (Maharishi Effect) have subjected theory to proper empirical tests. They have shown sound results that demand serious interest. This method should be applied more widely in programs to reduce crime.”5

Since these comments were made, more research has strengthened the initial findings.

4. Over 30 scientists have been involved in the Maharishi Effect research

Research on Transcendental Meditation practice has involved over 400 different researchers at 200 diverse universities and research institutes in more than 30 countries, many of whom did not themselves practice the Transcendental Meditation program. Research on the Maharishi Effect has involved 30 researchers, working in teams, including one researcher from a US city police department who again did not engage in Transcendental Meditation practice. Moreover, in two major studies on the Maharishi Effect, an independent review board monitored the experiments from start to finish and was able to examine experimental design, data collection and analysis of results.

5. Maharishi Effect researchers are experts in their field

Maharishi Effect researchers have degrees from universities such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, the University of Washington, Purdue, London University, Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Maryland, American University of Beirut, George Washington University, Macquarie University, Australia, University of Sydney, Memphis State University, Southern Illinois University, University of Crete and the University of Twente, Netherlands.

6. The measured changes were predicted in advance

The results of these studies have used public data and were often predicted in advance, adding to the rigor of the research methodology. Predictions of the results have occasionally been published in the press and/or given to an independent review board of experts before studies occurred.

7. The research design used publicly available data

The results of these studies were based on public data. According to researcher David Orme-Johnson, “Assessor blinding is built into research on such measures because the data are routinely collected by governmental and other public agencies without any knowledge of the experimenter.”6

8. The research results are statistically significant

The probability that the result could have happened by chance must be less than 1 in 20 for a scientific finding to be taken seriously. Regarding the Maharishi Effect, the probability of chance has on occasion been much less than 1 in 100,000. Statistical significance, of course, cannot be looked at in isolation but must be examined in the context of experimental design.

9. The experimental designs are stronger than those of other international conflict research

Research on the Maharishi Effect has employed a range of experimental designs beginning with retrospective studies and moving forward to prospective studies where the research program was established before the events took place.

A randomized experiment would be the ideal for a prospective study, and one study (see chapter sixteen) was virtually randomized due to the arbitrary fluctuation of numbers within the experiment, which created numerous experimental periods that could be contrasted to a control period. The quote at the start of this chapter, incidentally, is referring to this study: the only problem from a methodological perspective was that the randomization was not under experimenter control.

The Maharishi Effect research can only be compared with whatever is the current norm for research in the field of conflict resolution. For instance, in international conflict, experiments outside the confines of a laboratory are virtually unheard of, let alone randomized. “We found,” writes David Orme-Johnson in connection with the International Peace Project in the Middle East (IPPME), “that in the 98 studies appearing in JCR (Journal of Conflict Resolution) from 1984 to 1990 that 40% were on international conflict and that none of these had a true experimental design or even quasi-experimental design.  Viewed in this context, our 1988 paper would appear to be the strongest methodology of any paper ever published in JCR in that period…  How many experiments on international conflicts are there, that anyone can cite, in which the hypotheses were lodged in advance with an independent project review board, in which the data was public data, in which there was an intervention predicted to decrease international conflicts, which worked, and which has been replicated dozens of times in prospective studies in different contexts?7 (italics added) Researchers investigating the Maharishi Effect have not found any such studies.

10. In some studies, different methods of selecting control groups were used

In the first peer-reviewed study, an independent researcher from another university selected control cities. In another study, a sample of cities and metropolita

11. In some studies, different methods of selecting control groups were used

The studies examined diverse and normally unconnected variables.

Homicides, suicides and car accidents, typically found to decrease with the Maharishi Effect, would not normally be related to each other since they would typically show independent patterns of increase and decrease. Nonetheless, repeated research has found that unrelated variables can simultaneously change in a direction indicative of reduced tension and stress due to the Maharishi Effect. Unsurprisingly, a reduction of stress and an increase of positivity in collective consciousness responsible for all these changes are reflected in higher quality of life indices.

12. The studies have shown a dosage effects

Changes in the size of a group have allowed researchers to detect the existence of a dosage effect. Researchers have found that the larger the number of meditators, the greater the effect on social variables such as crime, quality of life and war fatalities.

13. Studies have controlled for or investigated other explanations for changes

Scientists have controlled for numerous other potential explanatory factors such as population density, median years of education, percentage of people in the same home after five years, per capita income, percentage of people in the age range 15 to 29, percentage unemployed and percentage below the poverty line, percentage of people over 65, the ratio of police per population, weather, holidays and political events.

14. The research has utilized a variety of experimental contexts

The Maharishi Effect has been demonstrated in 14 countries, on different continents and at different times of the year.

15. The research utilized time series analysis and seasonality

Researchers have made use of time series analysis, a rigorous statistical tool that analyzes data of events that have occurred at regular time intervals. Furthermore, it controls for previous trends and cycles such as seasonal variations. The time intervals examined in Maharishi Effect research include yearly, monthly, weekly, or daily.

16. Selection of the statistical model reduces risk of biased

Researchers have used objective methods of model selection to reduce the risk of subjective bias or false correlations: for example, Time Series analysis, Linear transfer function analysis and the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) approach, which utilizes a mathematical criterion to compare statistical models.


The sixteen reasons documented here suggest that Transcendental Meditation practice is at the forefront of a new paradigm. Moreover, the distinctive results of points 11–13 are a recognizable signature of the Maharishi Effect and give confidence that it is not merely a chance statistical correlation.