Scientific Research on the TM field effects: 40 experiments that will change the world…
and have already changed our world.
On this page we tell the incredible story of how 40 TM field effect researches were organised, and how they got more and more impressive over time, combining to form what must be the most successful body of research in the history of social sciences.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof
This is the general consensus in the scientific community. The claims of the TM Field effects (also called the “Maharishi Effect” in honor of Maharishi who first predicted it and made it possible) are definitely extraordinary: A group of people who are transcending practice can “radiate peace” and change the way people think in a more positive direction in an entire city, country or even the entire world. Is the proof extraordinary as well?
Yes it is, and we’ll show you below. Each of the studies we’ll discuss is extraordinary on its own, but the combination of all of them (more than 40) provides a volume of scientific proof that has never been seen before in social studies.
Before we get into the research, however, we need to explain something about the science of probability.
In human sciences it is never possible to be 100% certain that a certain cause (like a new drug) will be the real cause of a certain effect (improved happiness), simply because there are many different factors influencing human behavior.
Can I say with 100% certainty that the improved happiness was due to the new drug? No. Perhaps this person fell in love the next day, or got a promotion at work, or perhaps it was a placebo effect. The chance that it was a coincidence was very high, way too high to make any reliable conclusions.
However if I give this person a pill, and measure his state of happiness for 20 days before and 20 days after, and there is a very big average increase from the moment he starts taking it compared to before, then the chance of coincidence is a lot lower already. If now I give this pill to 100 people, and they all see a big improvement in their happiness (big effect + high consistency) then the chance of coincidence will be very low.
Scientists accept that we can never be 100% certain, but the standard in science is that we have to be at least 95% certain before we can claim a “significant” effect. The chance of coincidence is indicated by a probability, or p-value. A 95% certainty means that the probability has to be smaller than 5 in 100, or p<.05. In many cases the probability of a study is actually far more important than the effect itself, as a 50% improvement is worthless if the chance of coincidence is 50%, but a 10% improvement would be considered highly significant if the chance of coincidence is smaller than 1%.
Each of the studies that we’ll see usually far exceeds the p<.05 value, because there is a very big effect compared to the normal fluctuations and because it’s consistent. One series of experiments, where the effect was created to stop the war in Lebanon in the 1980ies on 7 different occasions, each predicted in advance, had such a significant effect that the chance of coincidence that this could happen 7 times in a row was p=.00000000000000000009, a chance in ten million trillion.
Over all the 40 studies combined you will discover that, yes, the claim is extraordinary…and so is the proof.
Research 1 : Improved quality of life through the Transcendental Meditation Program: Decreased Crime rate
Authors: Candace Borland, Ph.D., and Garland Landrith III, M.A. Research Completed 1974.
Reference: Collected Papers on the Transcendental Meditation technique, Volume 1; (98), 1975
In the early 1970ies, when the first scientific researches came out showing the remarkable benefits of TM, Maharishi and the TM movement became incredibly popular and many hundreds of thousands were learning TM every year. This resulted that by 1973, several cities in the US actually had 1% of their population practicing TM and it gave an opportunity to put Maharishi’s prediction to the test. Two scientists, Candace Borland and Garland Landrith III decided to take up the challenge. They were very well aware that this was not an ordinary study. This was something that challenged just about every paradigm people had about ourselves, so they better did their study in as much detail as they possibly could, because they knew that once they started challenging the established way of things the challenges would come right back to them.
So how to set up a research like this? First of all they decided to pick crime as their research variable. Not only is crime one of the best indicators of social stress, but also the crime statistics were publicly available from FBI publications, so nobody in their right mind could accuse them of meddling with the numbers. Next they found control cities. In the original research the scientists took 11 cities with a population between 25.000 and 50.000 that had 1% of the population practicing TM. To determine that the effect, if any, would really come from TM and not some other variable that is known to affect crime, they found 11 control cities that matched the 11 cities in terms of geographical location, population, and college population. Next they compiled the numbers. How did crime change in 1973 compared to 1972? The result looked like this.
Whereas the control cities had an average increase in crime levels of 8.3 percent, the 1% cities had a decrease in crime of 8.2 percent, so the relative decrease was 16.5%. Could this be a coincidence? Yes it could be, but the chance was not very big, the study had a p<.001, one in a thousand, 50 times smaller than the norm for which a social study is considered viable (p<.05). This effect would not normally be expected by chance alone.
Could it be that the effect appeared to be there simply because they picked particular control cities that happened to have had an increase in crime? To answer that question the researchers looked at the average crime increase in all cities in the same population range in the US, 460 cities in total, and found that the average increase was 9.6%, so even bigger than the control cities.
Could it be that these cities simply happened to have a trend of decreasing crime that had already started before people learned TM? Maybe something else influenced it? To answer this question the researchers looked at the trends of the growth of crime rate of both control cities and 1% cities. The result looked like this.
The solid line represents the average crime rate in 1% cities, the dotted line in control cities. As we can see until 1973 both groups had a trend of increasing crime, as did the national average of all cities, and the increase was even stronger in the 1% cities than in the control cities. In 1973, however the trend of the 1% cities reversed, while the trend in control cities continued. So whatever was happening in the 1% cities, it was not due to any kind of trends. Or was it? One interesting thing was that the increasing trend of crime in the 1% cities already seemed to stop before 1973. The graph shows that from 1971 to 1972 the crime increase stopped. How can this be explained? Well, the researchers had to study one variable so they picked changes from 1972 to 1973, but this was far from a perfect study. They had to take the cities that had 1% of the population meditating, but not all cities reached that threshold at the same time. The next graph shows the 1% cities, with the line turning solid from the moment the 1% threshold is reached.
What this graph shows is that out of the 11 cities, 3 already had 1% by the end of 1971, so there the crime already decreased in 1972, averaging out with the other cities to already stop the trend of increasing crime from 1972 to 1973. This shows that the study really underestimated the true effect of TM. If citizens in all cities would have learned TM all at the same time the effect would have been much stronger.
Nevertheless the study was already impressive enough. The strong effect, the low probability and the reversal of trends showed that something really interesting was going on.
Research 2: Influence of the Transcendental Meditation program on crime rate in suburban Cleveland
Author: Guy Hatchard
Research completed April 1977
Reference: Collected Papers on the Transcendental Meditation technique, Volume 2; (166)
This is a replication and extension of the original study by Borland and Landrith, which found a highly significant correlation between percentage of the population practicing TM and the crime rate for 4 suburbs of greater Cleveland, Ohio over 3 consecutive time periods (1973-74 p<.001, 1975, p<.01 and the first half of 1976 p<.001).
One interesting detail this study found was that there seemed to be an equally high correlation between median income and crime rate, which would seem highly logical. However what was found was that this high correlation was in fact due to the high correlation between median income and TM program participation (meaning those with a higher income were more likely to learn TM). With the TM program participation partialed out, the correlation between mean income and crime rate became insignificant. Also it was found that before 1973, before the TM field effect, the median income did not predict decreased crime. So basically we can say this study controlled the 1% effect research for the median income variable.
Research 3: The Transcendental Meditation program and crime rate change in a sample of 48 cities
Authors: Garland S. Landrith III, Michael C. Dillbeck, and David W. Orme-Johnson
Research completed 1981
Reference: Journal of Crime and Justice vol. 4, 1981, pp 25-45
This study expands the range of cities of the first research to include those from ranges 10.000 to 25.000 population, on top of the cities in the ranges from 25.000 to 50.000 population and studies, bringing the total to 24 cities, rather than the 11 of the original research. The study also observes the effect during a longer term, from 1972 to 1977. If the result still shows with both the increase in number of cities and a longer time frame it would give much more reliability to the claims of the 1% effect. The control cities were chosen, matching for the same categories as in the first study, population, college population and geographical region. This time, to ensure maximum objectivity, the selection of control cities was supervised by an independent investigator from another university. Next the FBI data was requested for all 48 cities for the years 1967 till 1977.
Rather than directly comparing the crime rates of experimental and control cities the researchers used the previous trends to calculate an estimation of what the crime rate would be without the 1% effect. Since we have seen that in 1972 some of the cities already had their 1% effect, calculating the average trend over 5 years would give a more reliable conclusion of the true effect size of the 1% effect. For the control cities the estimation of what the crime rate would be based on trends over the last 5 years was more or less correct, with the actual crime rate being 2% higher than the predicted value based on previous trends. For the one percent cities, on the other hand, the actual crime rate was 22% lower. Also, over the longer term it was found that the growth of crime rate in the one percent cities decreased by 89.3%. From 1967 to 1972 the FBI statistics showed a yearly increase of 4.30 crimes per 1000 population, which decreased almost 90%, meaning there was virtually no increase in crime over the years 1972 to 1977. In the control cities on the other hand, the crime rate growth increased by 53.9% during the same years. The crime rate grew more rapidly than would be predicted from the 1967-1972 baseline trends. The United States as a whole also showed an increase in crime rate growth.
The probability that immediate and long term changes could occur by chance was again smaller than one in a thousand (p<.001) for both variables, so even with a larger sample of cities and a longer time frame, the results were consistent.
Next the researchers went into more a detailed statistical investigation whether other factors known to influence crime could have played a role in this result. Apart from the factors already controlled for they did a covariance analysis of 7 other factors known to be correlated to crime rate. These were:
- Median years education
- Percent in same residence after 5 years
- Percent unemployed
- Percent in age 15-29
- Percent below poverty level
- Population density
- Per capita income.
Statistical analysis revealed that none of these could have accounted for the decrease in crime rate and decrease in crime rate growth. If the decrease in crime rate was due to a factor other than the TM field effects, it wasn’t any of these. The study was now controlled for all these factors.
In a first major breakthrough for the scientists involved, this paper was reviewed by other scientists and eventually accepted for publication by the journal Crime and Justice. As unorthodox as the study was, the research methodology was approved by the scientific community. They could not find any flaws in the study.
Research 4: The Growth of coherence in society through the Maharishi Effect:Reduced rates of suicides and auto accidents (CP vol. 4, 317, pp 2479-2486)
Authors: Garland S. Landrith III and Michael C. Dillbeck
Research completed May 1983
Reference: Collected Papers on the Transcendental Meditation technique, vol. 4, 317, pp 2479-2486
This study takes the same one percent cities and control cities as research no.3 but this time examines the decrease in suicide rate and car accidents. In the end the researchers were not making claims only related to crime rate, the claim was that if 1% of the people practiced TM, this would show on the society as a whole, with every negative trend decreasing as a result of the rise of the level of the collective consciousness. The researchers believed that a decrease in suicide rate and car accidents were 2 other powerful indicators of an increase of harmony in society. Also if data coming from completely different sources showed the same trends as the crime rate, this would be another powerful verification of the original research, since it would make the element of chance or any other factor creating the influence a lot smaller.
The number of suicides in each city for each year from 1967 to 1977 was obtained from the US Public Health Service publication: Vital Statistics of the United States, while the number of total auto accidents was obtained from each city or state police department.
As with the crime rate, both variables have seen a continuous rising trend in the base period from 1967 to 1972. The examined data from 1973 to 1977, however, showed a reversal of the trend for the one percent cities, both suicides and car accidents going down, while the rising trend continued as expected in control cities. Just like in the previous study the researchers controlled their study for other factors that might have an influence on these variables, such as age, median income, and unemployment. Decreases in suicide rate and car accidents in comparison to the control cities were again both significant at the p<.001 level.
Research 5: The Transcendental Meditation program and a compound probability model as predictors of crime rate change
Author: Michael C. Dillbeck Ph.D.
Research completed 1978
Reference: Collected Papers on the Transcendental Meditation technique, vol. 4, 319, pp. 2496-2514
This particular study studied the 1% effect in 3 cities in the Kansas city metropolitan area, in the 2 subsequent years after the 1% threshold was reached, in July 1975. As with earlier studies, before this point the crime had been steadily rising. In the 2 years after July 1975, however, the 3 cities had an average decrease in crime of 17.3%, while control cities had an average increase of 12.8%…a difference of 30% in total.
However since all 3 of these cities belonged to the same county within the larger Kansas City Metropolitan area, Johnson County, which was a very affluent county, Dr. Dillbeck also compared the 3 cities to the subsection of all cities within Johnson County. Al these cities had roughly the same socioeconomic parameters so this closer comparison would provide a more accurate control for all other variables know to influence crime. It turned out that the crime rate increase in the other cities of Johnson county was even larger than Kansas City as a whole, with an average increase of 19%, vs. a decrease of 17.3% for the one percent cities. Both differences in crime rate were significant to the p<.001 level.
The research was controlled for following variables: Percent families in poverty, percent in ages 10-29, percent in same residence after 5 years, median years education, per capita income, percent change in population, percent change in density, percent change in police coverage, slope of crime trend in 1971-1974.
This research was presented at the Midwest sociological society meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. Whenever a researcher is invited to present his paper before a community of scientists, this is also an indication that the research methodology is approved by the scientific community.
Research 6 : The Transcendental Meditation program and crime rate: a casual analysis
Michael Dillbeck, Garland S. Landrith III, Craig Polanzi, and Sheldon R. Baker
Research completed August 1982
Reference: Journal of Mind and Behavior, vol. 8, 1987, pp. 67-104
This study was done in cooperation with the center for study of crime, delinquency, and corrections of the southern Illinois University, Carbondale, USA and the Educational Psychology department of the West Virginia University, Morgantown, USA.
The study involves a statistical method called crosslagged panel correlation (CLPC) over a random sample of 160 cities to determine whether the TM Effect was really at the cause of the measured changes in society. Even though every other known cause has been statistically controlled for, there was still the possibility that some other 3rd unmeasured variable would be at play. While going into details of the specifics of the analysis might be a little beyond the scope of this book, (those who are interested in the specifics can find the research in the Collected Papers), basically the study simply looks at the causes and the effects. If there is a cause (high percentage of TM meditators) does the effect (reduced crime) also show? If there is no cause, is there also no effect, or is the effect there even though the cause is not etc. Like this the study goes on to make a series of correlations, (each with a calculated statistical probability). The final correlations between cause and effect were high enough so that it could now be said with a high statistical reliability that the TM effect could indeed be seen as the cause of the decrease in crime rate. This study was replicated with another random sample of 80 larger metropolitan areas, with similar results.
This study was eventually published as part of a larger paper involving one other research in The journal of Mind and Behavior, although it would take another 6 years before the editors would publish it.
Research 7: The Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field and Reduction of Armed conflict: A comparative, longitudinal study of Lebanese villages (CP vol. 4, No. 331 pp. 2623-2633)
T.M. Abou Nader, C.N. Alexander, J.L. Davies
Research completed July 1984
After all the studies on the 1% effect in US cities the scientists wanted to create a real prospective experiment, where they would select a particular town in advance and really create a 1% effect there, rather than simply study it in retrospect. This would allow them to predict the effects in advance.
For this particular study, however, the researchers wanted to test the 1% effects in circumstances that are much worse than what could be found in the average US cities. If the 1% effect could decrease stress and tension in society to the extend that crime rate and car accidents would go down, what would it do for a town where a full-scale war was going in?
For their new experiment the researchers chose Lebanon, where a fierce civil war had been raging for years. As their village of choice they wanted to select a village with a population of around 10,000, in a strategic location and comparable to neighboring villages suitable as controls (in other words, one of a group of villages caught in the focal region of the civil war) but still within reach of the TM teachers involved (who were active in Beirut). They found their village in Baskinta, a small town in central Lebanon at the base of Sannine Mountain, the summit of which is a very strategic point dominating the region. As such the area was a focus of continuing battles between opposing forces throughout the period of study (1978-1984). 4 neighboring villages of similar population and circumstances were serving as controls.
In May 1981 predictions were made that the hostilities would come down, both compared to previous levels in Baskinta itself and compared to the 4 neighboring villages. 2 Lebanese TM teachers went to Baskinta and started giving public introductory lectures on TM. Those people that wished to learn were taught (for free). By June 1982 one percent of the village population had learned TM and 5 individuals had also learned the advanced TM-sidhi course. From this moment the experimental period began. The people of Baskinta were not informed about the project. They just started TM for their own benefits, but had no idea they were part of a larger social experiment, nor did anyone else in the village.
For the purpose of the study, 3 variables were measured; The number of incoming shells, number of casualties, and amount of property damaged. The primary source of data was Al Nahar, the most widely distributed and generally considered the most objective newspaper in Lebanon.
When the researchers had compiled their data, the results were simply astounding. Whereas the level of hostilities was worse in Baskinta than in the neighboring villages in the years before the 1% threshold was reached, the hostilities completely stopped from the moment 1% of the village had learned TM. Throughout the entire experimental period, from June 1982 till March 1984, there were zero incoming shells, zero casualties (even zero wounded) and zero property damage. The hostilities in the neighboring towns on the other hand had shown a strong increase, much more incoming shells, casualties and property damage then before the experimental period. The chance that the difference between Baskinta and neighbouring villages was due to coincidence was smaller than 1 in 100.000 (p<.00001).
Research 8: Maharishi’s global ideal society campaign: Improved quality of life in Rhode Island through the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program (vol.4, no.321 pp. 2521-2531)
Michael. C Dillbeck. Andrew Foss. Walter J. Zimmerman
Research completed September 1983
Reference: Journal of Mind and Behavior, vol. 8, 1987, pp. 67-104
In the summer of 1978, Maharishi had elaborated his plans to create World Peace in more detail. He wanted one single city or state would serve as an example in 108 different countries. In this one state enough people should learn TM so that the 1% effect would be permanently established, and this city would then show such a clear effect that it would inspire the rest of the country to create the effect for their own cities or states. The program was called “Global Ideal Society Campaign”.
Around that time there were already quite a few TM teachers trained in the TM-Sidhi program and Yogic Flying, the advanced program that Maharishi had announced in 1976. As part of this campaign, 300 of these advanced TM practitioners, (we’ll call them Yogic Flyers from now on) went to the state of Rhode Island to make this their “model province” for the USA. The idea was simple. Move there for a period of 2 months and teach TM to as many people as possible, until the 1% threshold is reached. The teaching was to be done completely for free. Anyone that wanted to start could just come and learn without having to pay anything. At the same time just the presence of these 300 advanced TM practitioners during the 2 month campaign, doing their TM-Sidhi and Yogic Flying practice together in one group, should already create the effect.
As explained in the main Field Paradigm text, when people do this advanced practice together in one group, it is like they hold hands and jump in the lake together. The individual waves each of the participants would make now add up to one big wave, but the power of that wave (the area it can influence before it dies out) increases with the square of the participants. So instead of 1% of the population practicing TM, only the square root of 1% is needed if they practice the advanced TM-sidhi program.
Rhode Island had a population of around 1 million in 1978, of which 1% is 10.000. The square root of 10.000 is 100, so with 100 of these advanced TM meditators in one group they could create the effect.
To measure this effect this time the scientists went a lot further than merely examine the crime rate. They chose to pick a large number of variables at once, each of which would show a clear indication of decreased social stress and rising positivity in society. All these were joined together in one large index, which they named the Ideal Society Index. The following variables were included, both for Rhode Island and Delaware, which served as a control for their study:
- Crime (FBI)
- Deaths (Vital statistics of the United States, US Bureau of Census, National Center for Health statistics)
- Vehicle Fatalities (Department of Transportation, Rhode Island and Delaware
- Auto accidents (Department of Transportation, Rhode Island and Delaware)
- Unemployment (Department of Employment security, Rhode Island, Department of Labor, Delaware)
- Pollution (particulates) (Department of Environmental Management, Rhode Island, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental control, Delaware)
- Barrels of Beer Taxed (United States Brewers Association, Washington D.C.)
- Packages of Cigarettes Taxed (Tobacco Tax Council, Richmond Virginia)
Like in previous experiments all their data was coming from objective sources, governmental institutions that make their data publicly available for anyone. This is far more reliable than social experiments where researchers gather their own data. If this would be a hoax, all these government institutions would have had to participate.
Next the scientists ran their data through a sophisticated statistical analysis called Time Series Analysis. In very simple terms you could say that what this does is analyze a series of data over time. It is a sophisticated analysis that controls for the parameter of seasonal and yearly trends as well as any other factor that might influence the effect. After this analysis the effective influence of the TM field effects can be estimated with a much higher degree of certainty. For example, if we say that car accidents went down during this summer of 1978, that is great, but what if this is due to a simple seasonal trend? Perhaps car accidents go down every summer, simply because there are fewer cars on the road. Time Series Analysis controls for these factors, as well as any other possible factors. Also a wide range of variables will provide a strong control for any particular variable. Fewer cars on the road might account for fewer road accidents, but will usually not correlate with fewer cigarettes smoked etc. If all factors researched improve simultaneously then this would provide convincing evidence for the researchers hypothesis that all these improvements were due to a common factor or rising collective consciousness.
In order to be able to sum up all of these variables they converted all the individual data in terms of “standard deviations”. It is common in scientific experiments that the final results are shown in terms of a particular number plus a standard deviation, which is calculated based on the quantity of data and the variability within the data. For example if there are 100 experiments which all reveal a final outcome within 80 and 90 then the final average might be around 85 and the standard deviation will be quite small, perhaps having a value of 5, meaning that scientists can say with a high degree of certainty that additional research will not change the final outcome between 85+5 or 85-5. On the other hand if, with the same number of experiments, the final outcomes will widely fluctuate between 40 and 130, the standard deviation will be much bigger, the final average might also be 85 but now the standard deviation might be something like 30, indicating that the researchers can say with a high degree of certainty that the final outcome will be inside the range of 85-30, 55 and 85+30, 115.
If scientists want to calculate an average change in a number of different variables, like crime and amount of cigarettes smoked, it is common to work in terms of standard deviations. For statistical purposes working with standard deviations allows them to add apples to oranges, so to speak. For example a drop in alcohol consumption of 10% might not be super spectacular if the standard deviation is 20%, so the actual drop would only be ½ of a standard deviation. But a drop in car accidents of 10% might be very impressive if the standard deviation would only be 5, since it would move way out of what normally happens, and would represent 2 times a standard deviation.
So what the researchers did is simply calculate every single standard deviation of every single factor involved in their Ideal Society Index, averaged every 3 months for a period of 4.5 years before the experiment and 2.5 years after. All these 8 standard deviations for every 3 month period were then averaged again into one final standard deviation. The results were then plotted on this chart, one dot for every 3 months.
As we can see the experiment was highly successful. Before the campaign period the standard deviations had a mean of –0.42, meaning all factors, on average, were deteriorating over the years. During the campaign period there was suddenly a standard deviation value of +1.5, indicating a strong improvement over all factors, which, on average, was 1.5 times as big as the normal range of fluctuation for the 8 independent factors. So we have 8 different factors all at once improving way beyond their normal fluctuations, I guess one could call that a success. For 2.5 years after the campaign period the values remained positive, with a means of +70. While the group of governors left after 3 months the results of the goal of the campaign, to teach TM to 1% of the population, ensured a continuous positive trend in Rhode Island.
Neither trends during or after the campaign were found in control state Delaware.
As in the case of the Lebanon research, this research was far more powerful than the 1% studies due to the fact that this time public predictions on the TM field effects were logged in advance of the research period, where and when it would take place, and how it would be measured.
Like Dr Dillbeck’s earlier paper this research was eventually accepted for publication (although not until 1987) in the Journal of Mind and Behavior, as part of a larger paper combining several researches.
Research 9: An experimental analysis of the application of the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field in Major world Trouble-spots: Increased harmony in international affairs. (CP vol. 4 no. 322 pp. 2532-2548)
David W. Orme-Johnson, Michael C. Dillbeck, Jean G. Bousquet, and Charles Alexander
Research completed july 1979, revised jan 1985
The experiment in Rhode Island and the newfound discovery of the far more powerful effect of the advanced TM sidhi program inspired Maharishi to set up a few more experiments. At the time (1978) there were several spots in the world that were in serious trouble; the middle east, central Amerika, Southeast Asia and Southern Africa, areas where ethnic and political tensions were causing continuous violence and warfare. This has been going on for years and some of these stress hotspots were part of the cause of the ever mounting tensions between the worlds superpowers, the US and Russia. The hypothesis was that when coherence would be created and stress would be neutralized in these most tense areas in the world it would not only create progress towards peace in the areas themselves but also enhance cooperation in international relations throughout the entire world.
1400 Yogic Flyers volunteered to participate in the new experiment, which took place from early October to late December 1978 and was called the “World Peace Project”. They were sent to different trouble-spots in the world, either at the spots themselves or, if this was not possible for safety reasons, to neighboring countries;
- Middle east: The major trouble-spots in the middle east at that time were the unstable situation in Iran and the continuous war in Lebanon. 206 Yogic Flyers were sent to Iran to ease tensions there. To create the effect for Lebanon 100 more Yogic Flyers went to Syria and Cyprus and a TM sidhi-course with 400 participants was organized in Israel near the Lebanese border.
- Southeast Asia: 260 Advanced TM participants and Yogic Flyers went to Thailand to ease the tensions that were causing the conflict in Kampuchea (formerly Cambodia), and to prevent the conflict from spreading to Thailand, as was widely feared.
- Central America: 140 Yogic Flyers were sent to Nicaragua, where a bloody civil war was going on that had killed 1200 people in September ’78 alone. 160 more went to surrounding countries of Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala and El Salvador.
- South Africa: Like in Nicaragua, more than a 1000 people have died during the War in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) in September ’78 alone. 121 Yogic flyers went to Zambia and Rhodesia.
This was the World Peace Project, 4 large-scale demonstration of the TM Field effects to halt open warfare. Quite naturally the Yogic Flyers did not engage in any social activities during the project. They just flew in, flew when they were there, and flew out again. As with the previous experiment in Rhode Island, the 4 demonstrations were publicly announced beforehand. The researchers publicly logged their predictions that tensions would ease, warfare would diminish and substantial progress towards peace would be made. The changes would be most dramatic in the trouble-spots themselves, but also would result in a more positive atmosphere in the world as a whole. That was the prediction. In none of the 4 cases anyone would have expected any dramatic positive change based on the trends where things were going.
But the changes were there, and they were dramatic. There are many spectacular individual stories in each of the 4 trouble spots, in each case showing a remarkable decrease in violence and an increase in peace and harmony from the moment the Yogic Flyers arrived, while the situation reversed again when they left again. Let’s look at them in more detail.
South Africa (Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Zambia).
This was an interesting experiment in the sense that it involved 2 different experimental periods. During the first period (from 5 to 14 november 1978) the 121 Yogic Flyers that had traveled to South Africa were together in one location in Salisbury (Harare), while for the second period (from 15 to 27 november) the group was split up in 2 smaller groups. It was found that one big group was much more powerful then 2 smaller groups, as would have been expected from the constructive interference phenomena we discussed earlier (one big group jumping in the lake will have a far more powerful effect than 2 smaller groups). During the previous months more than 1000 people were killed in the war, and the Rhodesian generals had predicted that heavy fighting would continue. But that was not what happened. On the contrary, the number of war deaths, as reported by the Rhodesian Chronicle, decreased markedly during the first intervention period, from an average of 16.1 per day to only 3 per day when the Yogic Flyers arrived. When they split up in 2 groups the number of war deaths increased but still not nearly as high as before. On November 27th the International Herald Tribune reported Bishop Abel Muzorewa, who would later become Zimbabwe’s prime minister, saying: “Peace has at last taken hold of our war-torn society” But it wouldn’t last for long. The next day the Yogic Flyers left and violence immediately went back to the levels before the experiment.
Southeast Azia (Thailand and Kampuchea (formerly Cambodia)
When the first group of 150 Yogic Flyers arrived in Thailand on Nov 11 there was a growing social instability and a great concern that the conflict in neighboring Kampuchea would spread to Thailand, and even that the country might be invaded. The feared escalation of violence did not occur, and Thailand remained secure.
Central America (Nicaragua)
As in Zimbabwe a civil war was going on in Nicaragua, which showed no signs of improvement with the period before the experiment being especially bloody. Nevertheless when the Yogic Flyers arrived on Oct 11, tensions immediately began to ease. President Somoza suspended the state of military siege, began to eliminate radio and TV censorship, and granted unconditional amnesty to political prisoners and exiles. He said that: “…due to the tranquility in the country after the events of September, we have been able to stop the censorship of the press, and this has produced a better climate of communication…” (Nove Dades, Dec 8, 1978). The president also agreed to a public referendum on whether he should stay in office, saying: “I am not afraid of a vote, what I really want is peace for Nicaraguans” (International Herald Tribune, Dec 2, 1978). However, when the Yogic Flyers left late December, president Somoza suddenly rejected the referendum. Negotiations broke down, and violence once again erupted in the country.
Middle East (Iran and Lebanon)
On 17 October the group of Yogic Flyers arrived in Teheran, capital of Iran. 4 days later the BBC commented on the sudden peaceful turn in the demonstrations. They said this was a remarkable illustration of changed conditions. On 4 December Time Magazine reported that the country was relatively calm; Oil strikers had returned to work, and 477 political prisoners were released. When the Yogic Flyers left again in mid-december, the violence once again broke out.
In Lebanon the situation was much more dramatic still. The period prior to the World Peace Project in 1978 was characterized by almost continuous armed conflict. To give an idea of the situation, here are a few quotes from the Washington Post: “a new crisis” (June 15), “war of vengeance” (June 23), “Beirut’s hopes for a normal life fade” (July 12), “Artillery barrage in Beirut” (July 26), “32-65 reported killed” (Aug 8), “hundreds of deaths” (Aug 31), “New fighting flares in Beirut” (Sept 8), “220 die in Lebanon before guns still” (Oct 1), “barrage intensifies in Lebanon” (Oct 3). This period was described as having some of the heaviest fighting since 1976, Lebanese leaders had foreseen total economic collapse (Christian Science Monitor) and Lebanese merchants were leaving the country.
The first group of Yogic Flyers arrived in the area on Oct 23rd, with other groups arriving later. Whereas before the World Peace Project, any cease-fires would never last beyond a few days, the cease-fire that started before Yogic Flyers arrived lasted for more than 2 months, until the end of December (when they left again). During this time refugees began to return to their neighborhood in Beirut (New York Times, Nov 14), the Lebanese army, the Arab League forces, and local security units formulated a security plan which was subsequently discussed by the Lebanese Government (Lebanon News, Dec), and the Lebanese began to rebuild (New York Times, Dec 6).
When the Yogic Flyers left again at the end of Dec 1978 and early Jan 1979, heavy fighting erupted once again in the “worst onslaught since October” (Lebanon News, Feb 1979)
On the international scale several noticeable improvements took place too. For example on Nov 18, 1978 the International Herald Tribune quoted US President Carter, saying: “I think that in recent weeks there has been an alleviation of tension between us (U.S.S.R and USA), and I would like to see it continue. I can’t say why there has been an improvement in US-Soviet relations.” A week later Newsweek reported that Soviet Premier Brezhnev observed the reduction in tension too. Newsweek also reported Premier Brezhnev saying to US senators “What we want is world peace”(Nov 28), as well as commenting that “US-Soviet relations have improved substantially since last summer”, while quoting President Carter: “the remaining differences are minor compared to what they were a year ago (Dec 18). Time reported that “At the same time that Washington and Moscow are maneuvering against each other at a number of the world’s hot spots, they are also sitting amiably around negotiation tables discussing myriad projects and possibilities” (Jan 22, 1979). Also it was reported that fighting in Uganda, Africa was virtually over (BBC, Dec 9), while non violent elections in Namibia “appeared to be a turning point for Southwest Africa” according to the International Herald Tribune (Dec 9). The Far Eastern Economic Review reported that Thailand and Malaysia vowed to work for peace in Southeast Asia. Newsweek reported that Japan and China ratified a Treaty of Peace and Friendship (Nov 6), The Soviet Union and Vietnam signed a Treaty of Friendship (Nov 13), China reopened its doors to trade with the west (Nov 20) and the US announced that full diplomatic relationships would be established with China (Newsweek, Time Dec 25).
The mood of the world at the height of the World Peace Project was accurately portrayed by a leading US Midwestern newspaper, saying; “No nations are actively engaged in open warfare at the moment, a history rarity” (Des Moines Register, Nov 30).
It seems like the strategy to focus the attention on exactly those places where the tensions were most intense worked. The groups were able to create a remarkable influence….Unless it would all have been coincidence, of course.
The fact that the effects were predicted beforehand would not make that very likely, especially since not a single politician would have dared to make predictions about peace given the situation in the summer of 1978, but still. Would there be a way to objectively verify that peace had indeed broken out in the trouble-spots and in the world as a whole, rather than just a few instances here and there? After all, the news media report so many stories every day, perhaps some people have simply been busy to collect those precious few positive stories to prove their point. So the researchers examined if the effects were really noticeable through a purely objective source.
The Conflict and Peace Data Bank (COPDAB) is the largest data bank in the world that is keeping a daily record of conflicts in international affairs. They use more than 70 major public sources (newspapers, weekly news reports etc.), specifically selected to represent different views of the various population regions of the world in order to provide a balanced summation of world events. Only “newsworthy” events were recorded, not routine transactions between nations. Between 1948 and 1978, the database had already collected app. 415,000 records of daily international and domestic events from 135 nations and worldwide organizations such as the United Nations. During the time of research from okt till dec 1978, the COPDAP file contained 14,567 events while from 1968 to 1977 there were 172,938 recorded events, more than enough to create a thorough statistical time series analysis for the purpose of this research.
Each of the events in the COPDAP files are “rated”, they are placed in one of 15 different Conflict Scale Categories, divided in 3 larger categories;
- Cooperative Events: category 1 through 8, ranging from “voluntary unification into one nation”, and “military, economic, or strategic support”, to “mild verbal support or exchanges of minor officials” or “neutral acts”
- Verbal hostilities: category 9 and 10, mild and strong verbal hostility
- Hostile acts: 11 to 15, ranging from “hostile diplomatic-economic acts” (troop mobilizations, recall or expulsion of ambassadors, termination of major agreements etc.) to “full scale war”
It seems both the quantity and the quality of these records were ideal for the TM researchers to do their research. Since, all the event were just classified as a number, ranging from 1 to 15, the higher the number the worse the situation would be, the researchers just had to collect the numbers and run them through their statistical analysis tools. It was a research that could be done relatively easily and it would provide a strictly objective confirmation. If events in either category 2 or 3, Verbal Hostilities and Hostile Acts, would decrease in favor of more cooperative events, this would be a strong objective confirmation that something positive was indeed happening in the world.
To make their study as thorough as possible the researchers ran their number through 2 different kinds of statistical analysis. One is called a Contingency Table analysis, comparing the effects of the “intervention period”, the period when the Yogic Flyers were there, with a baseline period of the same length immediately before the intervention, as well as with the same period of the year over a period of 10 years. The researchers would then be able to calculate the probability that this effect could have happened by chance. The second analysis was called an “autoregressive integrated moving average” (ARIMA) Time Series Analysis, to see if seasonal effects could have been a cause for any of the changes, or if the changes could be predicted any other way. They examined both the data from the trouble spots themselves and data from the international relationships around the world as a whole.
Let’s look at the Contingency Table Analysis for the trouble spots themselves first. All the events involving the 4 chosen locations, either within the locations or involving neighboring countries, were requested from the COPDAB database, along with their ratings. Since there wasn’t enough data (in terms of number of events) available to make a statistically significant conclusion for each of the 4 trouble spots separately, the 4 were taken together, which was scientifically plausible since they were testing the TM field Effects in general, rather than one specific location. The results are shown below:
|World Peace Project
As we can see there is a marked shift from hostile acts to cooperative events. The percentage of hostile acts in all events decreased by app 30%, while the percentage cooperative events showed an app. 30% increase, documenting a highly significant decrease in tension within the trouble spots. Hostile acts changed to either more mild verbal hostilities or even cooperative events. Statistical analysis revealed that such a marked change would have occurred by chance only once in 10.000 times. (p<.0001).
For all international events around the world as a whole the same analysis was done, with equally remarkable results.
|World Peace Project
On the international scale, all events throughout the world as a whole, both hostile acts and verbal hostilities decrease in favor of cooperative events. The percentage of hostile acts in all events decreased by 60%, 5.6% during the World Peace project as opposed to 14.0 % in the 10-week baseline period before the project. Again statistical analysis reveals a significance to the p<.0001 level.
To see if this decrease wasn’t due to simply the time of the year or seasonal trends the researchers did 2 analyses, one more contingency table analysis, comparing the period of the World Peace Project to the same period over the past 10 years (for events around the world as a whole), and their Time Series Analysis. The first analysis revealed the following:
|World Peace Project
This research confirmed that both hostile acts and verbal hostilities decreased by 30% in favor of cooperative events, while the chance of coincidence remained below one in 10.000 (p<.0001). If the researchers involved in this project were lucky, they would have to have been really, really lucky.
While this analysis can give some idea about the seasonal trends, Time Series Analysis is much more detailed in this matter, controlling for weekly, monthly and yearly cycles, or anything else that would otherwise predict a change. Moreover, Time Series Analysis also filters out the aspect of what is called “noise”, random fluctuations due to chance. As such it would give an accurate idea on how the situation would have been if it weren’t for the World Peace Project, so that a true effect size can be calculated. I’ll spare you the details, (those who are interested in the maths can check out the full research on the website) and just jump to the results.
Consistent with previous analyses, both hostile acts and verbal hostilities decreased highly significantly in favor of cooperative events (p<.007), even when all seasonal trends and the element of random fluctuations are controlled for. This analysis could unfortunately only be made for the international events as a whole, not with the events in the trouble spots. There is no use comparing the situation there with the situation in the previous 10 years, since in every case the conflicts were temporary.
The research wasn’t completely flawless, but this was simply due to circumstances. In an ideal situation all the groups would have arrived in the trouble spots at exactly the same time, and would have left at the same time. Ideally, they should also be stationed right in the heart of the battlefield, since there the effect would have been the strongest. However, “safety first” has always been Maharishi’s policy, so the Yogic Flyers simply went as close or as far as was considered wise for their own safety.
Of course, even more ideal would have been that the Yogic Flyers could have stayed at these trouble spots. Most of the Yogic Flyers involved, however, were volunteers, people who really believed they could make a difference (and were crazy enough to risk flying to Lebanon or Iran, at a time of great instability or even full-scale war) but who had their own lives also, having a job and/or supporting a family. They usually took time of from their day jobs to participate in the program. The movement also didn’t have the funds to keep funding these projects. The only way this project could have continued was if governments would support professional groups of Yogic Flyers, which has been the aim of Maharishi from the start.
Research 10: The Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field and improved Quality of Life in the United States: A study of the first World Peace Assembly, Amherst, Massachusetts, 1979 (CP vol. 4, no. 323, pp 2549-2563)
J.L. Davies, and C.N. Alexander
Research completed March 1983, revised June 1984.
In 1979 a new experiment was organized in Massachusetts to test whether the TM Field effects would create a positive change over a number of different variables across the US as a whole. It was calculated that the square root of 1% of the US population (234 million at the time) was 1,530 people, so a large assembly was organized during the summer holidays of 1979, where volunteer Yogic Flyers could attend. (Volunteers had to pay for their own travel and room and board, as the TM organisation simple did not have the funds to pay for all this). The assembly, the first in a series of World Peace Assemblies, was held from July 9th till Aug 20th, 6 weeks in total. The number of participants varied between 1,570 and 2,770.
As before, the experiment was publicly announced beforehand, and predictions of the effects were logged; Significant improvements in a number of different variables (normally considered unrelated) would occur simultaneously all over the US, although it was predicted the improvements would be stronger in Massachusetts, since that is where the assembly was taking place. Like with the Rhode Island study they chose different variables, which would:
- represent the most clear or extreme expressions of societal stress (those involving death from external causes or criminal violence)
- could be quantified on at least a monthly basis nationally and regionally from a publicly available data source; and
- Were considered reliable and normally considered unrelated to each other according to the various data collection agencies
Meeting these criteria for the purpose of this study were violent crimes, motor vehicle and air traffic fatalities, and 14 different categories of fatal accident, homicide, and suicide as assessed for the US by the National Center for Health Statistics.
Also as a new element for the studies on the TM field effects, the Standard and Poor’s composite 500 and Dow Jones industrial indexes of stock prices were included in the research, to see if the increased coherence in society would result in an increased economic confidence, manifesting in an increase in stock prices. It was predicted that improvements would be noted across all variables researched.
And that is exactly what happened. Compared to the same period on the basis of trends over the year 1973-1981 violent crimes decreased 3.4% (a smaller decrease than in other studies, but we are talking about a much bigger region now, the decrease was still significant to the p<.02 level), vehicle fatalities decreased 6.5% across the US (p<.0001), air transport fatal accidents decreased by 20.8% (p<.05). In addition all 14 major independent categories of fatal accidents decreased, the mean decrease being 4.0% (p<.005). Throughout the 6 week period the Standard and poor’s composite 500 index rose by 5.2 points, while the Dow Jones index rose by 40.3 points. (p<.05).
Also as predicted, the improvements were significantly greater in the state of Massachusetts, than in the US as a whole, with an 18.9% decrease in motor vehicle accidents, (p<.05 in comparison to changes in the US as a whole) a 10.1% decrease in violent crimes (p<.00001, once in a hundred thousand) and an 83.3% decrease in air transport fatalities (p<.001).
Research 11: Sociological effects of the group dynamics of consciousness: decrease of crime and traffic accidents in Holland (CP vol. 4, no. 325, pp 2566-2582)
W.H.P.M. Burgmans, A.T. Van Den Burgt, F.P. Th. Langenkamp, and J.H. Verstegen.
Research completed May 1982, revised April 1983
This was another retrospective study to test if crimes and traffic accidents with injury decreased over Holland as a whole during 3 periods when the square root of 1% of the population of Holland was reached (376 people). Data from these periods, one month long, in Jan 1979, Aug 1981 and Dec 1981, were compared to data from all other months from 1971 to 1981. 2 of these 3 periods were intentionally organized by the Dutch TM movement and again predictions were made beforehand, which were widely publicized in a number of newspapers before and during the experimental periods. During the third period there were actually 2 large assemblies in 2 different locations in Germany, but they should have been large enough to include Holland in its radius of coherence. The assemblies had 950 and 500 participants respectively, so the radius of influence could theoretically be calculated as (5002 + 9502) * 100 = 115,250,000 people, enough for most of Northern Europe to be included. As with the studies in the US, the data for the 3 periods was gathered from public sources in Holland.
It was found that during the 3 periods, (calculated monthly,) there were significant reductions in traffic accidents with injury (-31%, -13%, and -20% respectively, p=.004), whereas examination of the monthly data for every month from 1971 to 1981 (132 months) revealed only one other month where a significant reduction was found, july 1971. Crime rates decreased during the 3 experimental periods by -12%, -8%, and -5% respectively (p=.001). No significant decreases were found during any other month from 1971 to 1981.
Researh 12: The effect of the group dynamics of consciousness on society: Reduced crime in the union territory of Delhi, India (CP vol. 4, no. 326, pp 2583-2588)
Michael C. Dillbeck, Kenneth L. Cavanaugh, and Willem P. Van Den Berg
Research completed in June 1983
The opportunity for yet another new large scale research presented itself when Maharishi organized a course in Vedic Science in New Delhi, India, from Nov 6 1980 to early april 1981. It was calculated that 245 Yogic Flyers would need to be together in one group to have an influence over the 6,000,000 people of the Union Territory of Delhi. For the first month of the course 3,000 people actually attended, but most left again after this first month was over. 250 people stayed until the end of the course, enough to make a nice, long term statistical analysis of the crime rates over a period of 5 months.
The researchers used their ARIMA Time Series Analysis model to calculate the trends of the crime rate in periods before and during the intervention (for full details again see the complete paper on the website). It was found that, over the 5-month period, crime dropped by 11%. Again the odds that this could have occurred by chance were smaller than one in ten thousand (p<.0001). The decrease could not be accounted for by seasonal trends, nor was there any other alternative explanation. An Indian police official did investigate any other plausible explanations in relation to this experiment (Rana 1981), such as changes in local police activities, and governmental policies. He found none that could have accounted for such a large change. He also compared the changes in crime rate for the periods July to October and November to January, averaged over the years 1976 to 1980 and found they normally differed by less than one percent (compared to 11% during the course). After the course was over the crime rate returned to its former level.
This was the second study that was accepted for publication as part of a larger paper in the Journal of Mind and Behavior.
Research 13: A Time Series Analysis of the effect of the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field: Reduction of Traffic Fatalities in the United States. (CP vol. 4, no. 327 pp. 2589-2599)
Michael C. Dillbeck, Wallace E. Larimore, R. Keith Wallace
Research completed July 1984.
I guess you could imagine that a lot of people involved in all these researches were very motivated by the results of them but what was far more motivating than all these researches was the actual experience of Yogic Flying within a large group. You could probably imagine that a wave of positivity and coherence that is so strong that it influence an entire country, must be something quite special. And it was, participating in these large groups of Yogic Flyers was one incredibly exhilarating bliss-fest. As such a lot of the Yogic Flyers involved in the previous experiments really started to like the idea to be able to meditate and fly in such a large group every single day, rather than only on these special courses and assemblies. As a result quite a few of them decided to move so they could go live together. The location most suited for this seemed to be Fairfield, Iowa. A few years earlier, the TM movement had bought the entire campus of the then bankrupt Parsons college and decided to move their university, then called Maharishi International University, (currently Maharishi University of Management), to this new location. In 1981 around 900 people on average were already practicing the Yogic Flying program together in the large meditation halls, the Golden Domes, every single day. In 1982, as a result of new students joining the university as well as people simply moving to Fairfield to go live there, that average jumped up by 550 people. Now on average 1450 people were practicing their TM, TM-Sidhi and Yogic Flying programs together every day, which was almost enough for the square root of 1% for the US population (1,520) to be reached. What was interesting in this regard was that, while the 1982 average was still below the threshold level, the numbers would fluctuate quite a bit, sometimes they would be a little lower, at other times they would be higher. As such on 17 different occasions, ranging from 1 to 37 consecutive days, the threshold number of 1,520 Yogic Flyers was exceeded. In total these 17 occasions accounted for 125 days during 1982, almost one third of the year. On top it was calculated that the threshold number to include Canada in its radius of influence, it would take only 1600 people. This number was exceeded 10 times during 1982, for a total of 41 days.
The researchers examined whether these numbers would have an influence on traffic fatalities over the US as a whole. They gathered daily numbers for a period ranging from 1975 to 1982 from the US Department of Transportation. This is what they found:
- The total number of car accidents decreased by 14.4% in 1982 compared to 1981, whereas from 1975 to 1980 the numbers were continuously increasing.
- The numbers showed a much sharper decrease when the threshold of 1520 was passed in comparison to the days when it was not.
- The decrease was even more pronounced when the threshold of 1600 was passed.
- The decrease was much stronger in and around the state of Iowa in comparison to states further away, consistent with the hypothesis. No other plausible explanation could be found for this.
- When there was a sudden large increase in the number of people practicing Yogic Flying together in the Golden Domes, a jump of more than 100 people, there was a correlating large decrease in traffic accidents.
Other scientists had noticed too that the rising trend of traffic accidents was suddenly reversed in 1982 and tried to form their own explanations for this (not knowing about the TM Field effects). The research paper deals with these explanations in detail and shows how they don’t make much sense, perhaps explaining a part of the decrease but certainly not everything. On top the alternative explanations predicted a new increase in 1983, whereas in reality traffic fatalities decreased even more, by another 6.3%. (which, consistent with the TM researchers’ hypothesis, can be attributed to even more Yogic Flyers being in the Golden Domes in 1983).
Research 14: Reduction in Homicide in Washington D.C. through the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field, 1980-83: A Time Series Analysis (CP vol. 4, no. 328, pp 2600-2608)
Audri Gordon Lanford
Research completed June 1984
Washinton D.C. is one of the most violent cities on the planet. In 1982 there were 30.74 homicides per 100,000 population, or roughly one per 3000, 3.38 times the national average. Because Washington DC has such an important political role to play in the state of affairs of the world that Maharishi wanted to create a large group of Yogic Flyers there, so that the social stress, which would influence the clarity of thinking of the government, could decrease. So Maharishi asked all the local Sidhas to form a group in DC.
Time Series Analysis over a period of 135 weeks, from August 1980 trough November 1983, showed that, whenever the threshold number for the Washington D.C area (400 yogic flyers) was reached (38 weeks in total), crime would decrease by 22% (p<.02). Alternative explanations such as seasonal variations, weather patterns, changes in police coverage, increases in neighborhood watch programs and demographic shifts, were controlled for. Also an alternative explanation would not sound very plausible based on simple common sense. The periods where the 400 threshold was reached had occurred randomly over 6 separate intervals, each ranging from 1 to 28 weeks. It would be highly unlikely that a third variable causing a reduction in homicides would coincide so precisely with these particular periods.
Research 15: The effect of the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field on stock prices of Washington, D.C. area based corporations 1980-83: A Time Series Analysis (CP vol. 4, no. 329, pp 2609-2615)
Audri Gordon Lanford
Research completed June 1984
In order to research something on a happier note than homicides, the same researcher also decided to investigate the stock prices of 30 corporations that were based in the Washinton D.C area, and see how the stock prices behaved when the threshold of 400 Yogic Flyers was reached for the area. A composite index of these 30 corporations was easily obtained from Johnston-Lemon and Company, inc, so the research was relatively easy to complete. He found increases that were highly significant, to the p<.001 level.
Research 16: The group dynamics of consciousness and the UK Stock Market (CP vol.4, no. 330, pp 2616-2622)
M.S. Beresford and G. Clements
Research completed Dec 1983
Inspired by the research in the US, researchers in the UK wanted to see if it worked in their country too. The Financial Times Actuaries (FTA) index is a measure of the current market capitalization of the 750 largest companies in Great Britain. It is a reliable indicator of the degree of optimism and confidence in British business and industry.
The researchers studied the index over a 17 month period, from Jan 1982 to May 1983, during which several large courses were held, with at least 250 Yogic Flyers participating. Although this is not enough to create an effect on a national level, the researchers were wondering if the effects could still already be noticeable.
It was found that the mean percentage daily increase in the FTA index during the seven day periods during and immediately following periods where the threshold number of Yogic Flyers was reached, was significantly higher than both the mean daily increase of the remainder 17 month period (p<.01) and the mean daily increase in the 7-day periods immediately before and after the experimental periods (p<.05).
Research 17: A Time Series Analysis of the relationship between the group practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi program and Crime Change in Puerto Rico (Collected Papers Vol. 4, no. 334, pp. 2679-2687)
Michael C. Dillbeck, Vicki Mittlefehldt, Alcine Potts Lukenbach, Dinah Childress, Ann Royer, Lyn Westsmith, and David W. Orme-Johnson
Research completed November 1984
In the 1980ies a new research opportunity arose when a new TM academy was opened in Puerto Rico and a permanent group of Yogic Flyers was established there. Monthly courses were organized and the numbers of participants was rising steadily until the required number to have a superradiance effect for all of Puerto Rico was reached in april of 1984, 185 Yogic Flyers for a national population of 3.4 million. In may and June the numbers remained between 60 and 80% of the required number but towards the end of june the permanent group left to join a large course in Fairfield.
A Time Series Analysis crime rate model was calculated based on monthly police data from January 1969 till September 1984, providing a series of 189 data points (189 months). It was found that the crime rate did indeed decrease significantly (p<.025) in April through June 1984 (the paper only specified in terms of p value, not in percentage decrease), and increased again in July 1984 (again p<.025).
Some other possible causes for the decrease in crime were examined in the paper, but none were found to be plausible.
Research 18: Consciousness as a field: The Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program and changes in Social indicators. (CP, vol. 5, no. 401, pp. 3151-3171)
Michael C. Dillbeck, Kenneth L. Cavanaugh, Thomas Glenn, David W. Orme-Johnson, and Vicky Mittlefehldt.
Published in the Journal of Mind and Behavior, vol. 8, 1987, pp. 67-104.
This paper gathers some of the earlier researches in Rhode Island, New Delhi and Puerto Rico and adds 2 more comprehensive studies in Manila, Philippines.
The first one of these new studies took place from Dec 1979 to the Dec 1981. 400 people were instructed in the TM-sidhi technique as part of a new experiment to create a large group of Yogic Flyers in connection with a business venture. The Yogic Flyers, who were all working in the same company, would simply meditate and fly together morning and evening and continue their normal jobs throughout the day. The interesting aspect about this research is that the group formed all of a sudden in Dec 1979, but then gradually became smaller for external reasons, until only half of the group remained by the end of 1981. The researchers investigated the crime rate in Manilla as well as foetal and other deaths for the nation as a whole. (those were the only unambiguous indicators of quality of life for which data was highly reliable). The results showed a significant improvement at the onset of the group (p<.025) and a gradual decay of the effects coinciding with the decline of number of Yogic Flyers (p<.001) Other possible causes were investigated in the research paper but none found to be plausible.
The second study in the Philippines came a few years later, in August 1984. President Marcus and the Philippine government were sufficiently impressed with the TM research to set up a large scale program to introduce TM in both schools and prisons. As such a large course was organized and 1500 TM teachers from all over the world were invited to join (my mother was one of them). The project lasted until Jan 1985, but a large part could only stay for the first month. The number required for the phillipines as a whole, 750 Yogic Flyers, was exceeded for a large part of the studied period, but due to circumstances the Yogic flyers had to be in different groups. They were staying in different hotels and could not form one big group. The largest group was about 250, which would be sufficient for the effect to be consistently predicted for the region of Manilla, but it would be more difficult to predict effects for the Philippines as a whole. As such the researchers decided to simply focus on the variable of crime for the region of Manilla only.
They obtained the numbers from the Police Headquarters in Manilla, a weekly time series starting from Dec 1982 till March 1985. The experimental period was from Aug 17 1984 until jan 24 1985, when the largest remaining group of Yogic Flyers left. The total period studied gave them 114 data points, weekly crime data from 114 weeks, to build their Time Series Analysis model. During the experimental period crime decreased by 12.1 %, which was significant to the p<.005 level.
In scientific research the more several independent studies can confirm a particular effect, the smaller the chance that this effect will be due to coincidence. What would the probability be that these experiments, each predicted in advance, each with a highly unlikely probability, could be replicated 4 times, in 4 distinctly different locations around the world (US, India, Puerto Rico, and Philippines). This was statistically calculated and the combined p value was smaller than .000001, one in a million.
However, as spectacular as the numbers were, so far no major scientific journal had been willing to risk its reputation by publishing any of the researches. One of the first researches on the 1% effect was published by the Journal of Crime and Justice but nobody had been willing to publish any researches on the effect of advanced TM practitioners, with the square root of 1% practicing Yogic Flying in one big group.
Dr Dillbeck decided to give it another try and this time combined the 5 studies mentioned above in one large paper, which he sent to the Journal of Mind and Behavior. The editor of the journal, Dr Raymond Russ, professor of Psychology at the university of Maine, was immediately intrigued by the paper. “on one hand the paper was based on an extremely unconventional idea” Dr. Russ said, “On the other hand, this idea was backed up by rigorous statistical analysis, a level of mathematical sophistication rarely seen in psychological or sociological studies”. He had submitted his paper for review not only to a number of psychological experts but also to a statistical expert, to see if the statistical analysis was done correctly. He got positive feedback from all sides. Dr Russ said:
“I Decided to publish. The theory being proposed was a complete departure from the norm in either psychology or sociology, but this was a study well-done. The statistical evidence was persuasive. What I had to consider is that judging new ideas in any scientific field is an extremely delicate task. On the one hand, you never want to propound errors. On the other hand, you need to keep the field open for innovation and progress. I’m afraid that many times, new ideas don’t lose out on their merits. They lose out because established people in the field don’t want to see their power eroded by new ideas which threaten their expertise and authority. In any event, Michael Dillbeck had written a strong paper with solid evidence. I didn’t see how I could deny that paper publication.”
Later on the same journal published 2 other earlier researches combined in one paper, the statistical causal analysis on the 1% effect that we saw earlier (research 5) and the first Washinton DC crime study (research 14).
It seemed this publication was only the beginning for a long-awaited wave of acceptance by at least some part of the scientific community. An even more high-profile publication was to follow soon.
Research 19: International Peace Project in the Middle East: The effects of the Maharishi technology of the Unified Field (CP vol. 4, no. 333 pp. 2653-2678)
David W. Orme-Johnson, Charles N. Alexander, John L. Davies, Howard M. Chandler, and Wallace E. Larimore
reference: Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 32, no.4, Dec 1988, pp. 776-812
For this new study the researchers again chose Israel and Lebanon as their primary target. The date was summer of 1983, Aug 1 through Sept 30 to be exact, a time when Israel was heavily involved in the Lebanon crisis, with troops stationed deep inside Lebanon. Again these dates were purposely chosen to organize a specific experiment. The predictions were logged months in advance with independent review boards both in North America and Israel, but were not made public, to control for any societal expectation effects.
The course, taking place in a hotel in east Jeruzalem, was announced to local Yogic Flyers in Israel who were invited to participate for whatever time they could make themselves available. This time the lodgings and board were subsidized, partly through a grant in honor of William Ellinghaus, then president of AT&T. The local Yogic Flyers just had to come in for their morning and/or evening program and could then choose what to do with the rest of their day. Course participants were asked not to discuss the precise nature of the study with non-participants, as to not create any expectation-effects.
The numbers of Yogic flyers that were needed for the following areas were calculated according to the square root of 1% formula:
Jeruzalem, population 429,000: 65 Yogic Flyers.
Israel as a whole, population 5,304,000: 230 Yogic Flyers
Israel and Lebanon combined, population 7,905,000: 281 Yogic Flyers.
This time the formula needed to be adjusted, however. There were already some 38,000 TM meditators in Israel and Lebanon combined, which amounted for 0.51% of their combined populations. So theoretically those medititators should already take “care” of half the population. As such the group in Jeruzalem only needed to be 197, the square root of 1% for the other half of the population to generate the effect for both countries. For Israel, according to the new calculations, the group needed to have 122 people.
The researchers chose to investigate a number of variables from publicly available data for the 3 different regions under examination.
- Crime: total crimes per day, obtained from the Social Research Division of the Israeli Police Department.
- Auto Accidents: total number per day involving personal injury, obtained from the Municipal Government of Jeruzalem
- Fires: Total number of events to which the Fire Extinguishing Service responded per day, obtained from that same service
- Crime: Crimes per day (excluding Jeruzalem), obtained from Israeli Police Department
- Stock Market: Tel Aviv Stock Exchange index of freely traded stocks
- National Mood: Affective tone of the most prominent story (picture story of the front page) of the Jeruzalem Post, scored from 1 (very negative, unpleasant) to 7 (very positive, uplifting). Scoring was blind and used the average scores of 2 raters independent to the project (Israeli college students)
- War deaths: Number of military and civilian deaths due to the Lebanese conflict, as reported in the major daily Israeli newspapers as well as the International Herald Tribune and the BBC World service reports.
- War Intensity scale: A content analysis scaling of the intensity of the hostilities in Lebanon each day as reported in news stories in the Jeruzalem Post. The 5-point scale ranged from 0 (no reported fighting) to 4 (full-scale land battles etc.) Again the rating was blind with regard to dates and events and the analysis used the mean of 3 independent raters.
The variables were both analyzed individually and merged into composite indices, as in the Rhode Island study described before. 3 separate Indices were formed, for Jeruzalem, Israel and Lebanon, and one global overall composite index was computed as the mean of 6 standardized variables: War intensity scale, car accidents and fires in Jeruzalem, stock market and crime in Israel as a whole and national mood. (It was found that both war deaths and war intensity scale in Lebanon and crime in Jeruzalem and Israel as a whole were highly correlated, so there was little use in including these variables separately). This global index first of all would cancel out any random fluctuations, since random fluctuation over 6 variables at once tend to cancel each other out. More importantly, it would almost automatically serve as a control for any other causal explanation of the effects, since no scientist in their right mind would be able to come up with an alternative explanation that would both cause a decrease in war in Lebanon, a decrease of fires in Jeruzalem and an improvement of the performance of the Tel Aviv stock market…But since this research was dealing with the Unified Field, the source of all thoughts, that was exactly the prediction the scientists made: all these variables would improve simultaneously, if the group was big enough.
And it was exactly this variable, the size of the group of Yogic Flyers, which has made this research one of the most interesting ones to date. The researchers were hoping that the numbers of Yogic Flyers would remain relatively stable, but that didn’t really happen. People had to take holidays from their jobs, or take a break from their studies or whatever was the cause, the numbers ended up fluctuating quite a bit. Here is a graph from the number of Yogic Flyers (indicated as Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field (MTUF) Group size):
As you can see the numbers fluctuate quite a bit, mostly ranging between the numbers needed for Israel and Israel and Lebanon combined. It becomes interesting, however, when we plot some of the other variables over this graph, such as daily changes in the war intensity scale:
Quite obvious, no? As the group gets bigger, war intensity goes down. During times when the group was theoretically big enough to influence the war in Lebanon, war deaths dropped by more than 90%, from an average 24,5 per day before the experiment started, to 1,5 per day. Seasonal trends and changes were controlled for in the study.
Like this there are graphs for each of the 6 individual variables studied, showing a remarkable correlation with size of the group. The full data is available in the paper, We’ll stick to the graph of the composite index for all variables here:
Here the correlation is even more remarkable. Normally, if things were left up to random fluctuations, the index would be more or less a flat line, since random fluctuations from different variables generally tend to cancel each other out. The fact that there are such wild fluctuations is by itself remarkable, since it would mean that all of the 6 variables in the study would fluctuate in the same line, and not just mild fluctuations, but fluctuations up to 3 standard deviations. Even one single variable showing such deviations would not likely happen by chance, but now we are talking about a composite index of 6 different variables. As we said earlier, nobody in their right mind would normally make buying decisions on the Tel Aviv stock market based on the number of fires reported in Jeruzalem, but during this 2-month experimental period, an investor would do pretty well if he did it that way.
All the variables are moving in the same direction because they were all being influenced from their common source, the field at the source of our thoughts. This is shown very clearly through the fact that these deviations closely follow the number of Yogic Flyers, which is only a measure of the degree to which the Unified Field was stirred. It is almost like operating a light dimmer, increasing and decreasing the flow of electricity, and watching the light shine more or less bright. The change in circumstances doesn’t follow the change in number of Yogic Flyers as perfectly as a light dimmer – we are still dealing with the human mind and the countless of influences that play a part – but still the correlation is very impressive. This study had different p values for the different variables, but the overall p value was smaller than one in ten thousand, p<.0001.
It was also found, consistent with the hypothesis, that the variables in Jeruzalem were almost continuously influenced, as the group was consistently big enough to influence Jeruzalem, while Israel as a whole showed improvements when the group got big enough to theoretically influence all of Israel and Lebanon was mostly influenced when the group was big enough to predict an influence in Israel and Lebanon combined.
With such a dramatic result of their experiment the researchers, Drs. Orme-Johnson and Alexander, decided to go for the top. They sent their paper to what was considered the leading publication in the field of peace studies, the Journal of conflict resolution, edited at Yale University. The story about the struggle for its publication spans over more than 3 years. Dr. Russett, editor of the journal, didn’t really know what to do with this research, since it was without a doubt the most unconventional one he had ever seen. He decided to send it out to 4 different referees, colleague scientists who examine the scientific methods used in the study, 2 more than he usually used. One referee replied that the study was “logically and methodologically coherent” but advised against its publication anyway, since the idea seemed on its face impossible. Another referee said “the fundamental assumptions of a ‘Unified Field’ and a ‘collective consciousness’ are not within the paradigm under which most of us operate. Yet if one will, for the sake of argument, accept these premises as plausible, then the research conforms quite well to scientific standards.” One other referee, Dr Duval, professor of political science at West Virginia University, withheld his recommendation because he saw a possible flaw in the statistical design. “One may conjecture” Dr Duval said, “that instead of TM-Sidhi techniques influencing conflict in Lebanon, the level of conflict led the participants to hurry down to the hotel and meditate at the first sign of violence across the border”. He hypothesized that if a decline in ware intensity led meditators to race down to the hotel, it would look like the superradiance had caused the decline, whereas it really passed on its own accord. The researchers replied that this would be highly unlikely since most participants actually came from outside of Jeruzalem, staying for a longer period, they weren’t able to just come and go like that. Also even if their participation came as a reaction from news from the war, that still wouldn’t account for all the other changes in the variables studied, the 6 different variables all fluctuating widely in tune with each other. Dr. Duval, however, proposed a stringent statistical test, the use of transfer functions to produce cross-correlations, a statistical tool which would indicate whether the changes in superradiance really preceded the changes in the variables studied, rather than lagging behind them. This type of analysis was a very time-consuming process, which the researchers were hoping wasn’t necessary, since the correlation of the numbers of Yogic Flyers was so strong with so many different variables at once. Dr Duval insisted however, counting on the fact that the analysis would show that the superradiance numbers were indeed lagging behind the changes. So in the end they did start the analysis, taking many months of work, making a detailed transfer function analysis of every single variable under study, as well as all the different indices. The results were clear, there were no indications that the superradiance numbers were lagging behind the variables studied, whereas there were frequent indications of it being the other way around. Mostly the cause and effect were occurring simultaneously, however. This creates “a toss-up, with simultaneous causation” Dr Duval commented, “but, in this case, with daily measures of the independent variables, the TM proponents win the toss-up. News travels fast, but not, I would think, that fast”. In the end Dr Duval, although still doubtful, recommended in favor of publication, saying “The level of exposition and the application of statistical methods for hypothesis testing are commensurate with this reviewer’s standards for scientific research”.
So in the end Dr. Russett had conflicting recommendations, and had to choose for himself. The reviewer who had advised against the publication said he would only accept research on Superradiance if it were done by “an independent body such as the National Academy of Sciences”. Dr Russett pointed out that this was a bit of a catch-22. It is almost impossible to imagine that such an institution would be willing to fund such a research without any previous evidence for the hypothesis, research that will only be done by those scholars who belief that their hypotheses are plausible, who else would do the effort?
In the end Dr. Russett decided to publish but included an unusual ‘editor’s comment’ with the paper in which he said:
The following article presents and tests a hypothesis that will strike most readers (myself included) as, to say the least, unorthodox…Yet the hypothesis seems logically derived from the initial premises, and its empirical testing seems competently executed. These are the standards to which manuscripts submitted for publication in this journal are normally submitted.
And as such the TM researchers got their most high-profile publication yet. One interesting fact is that this research caused quite a bit of reactions from some TM opponents. Until then nobody was even bothering to criticize any of these researches because basically nobody was paying attention to it anyway, and the idea was too crazy for anyone to take it seriously, but now, with such a high profile publication, some opponents really became very critical, proposing that the changes were due to other events or seasonal changes. So the scientists involved did yet another study which was also published in the same journal, demonstrating that other events or seasonal changes could not have caused such a consistent effect on all 6 variables at the same time.