Effect of Transcendental Meditation versus resting on physiological and subjective arousal

Author: Holmes DS//Solomon S//Cappo BM//Greenberg JL
Conference/Journal: J Pers Soc Psychol
Date published: 1983
Other: Volume ID: 44 , Issue ID: 6 , Pages: 1245-52 , Word Count: 156

On four successive days, 10 highly trained and experienced meditators were asked to relax for 5 minutes, meditate for 20 minutes, and then relax for 5 minutes. In contrast, 10 other subjects who had no training or experience with meditation were asked to relax for 5 minutes, rest for 20 minutes, and then relax for 5 minutes. Physiological arousal (heart rate, skin resistance, respiration rate, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure) and subjective arousal (cognitive, somatic, relaxation) were measured throughout the experiment. Results indicated that (a) prior to meditating or resting, meditators tended to have higher heart rates and diastolic blood pressure than did nonmeditators, (b) meditation was associated with generally reduced arousal, but (c) while meditating, meditators did not evidence lower levels of arousal than nonmeditators did while resting. This investigation employed controls, which were not used in previous investigations, and the results place qualifications on previously reported results. The results have implications for the study of personality functioning, stress management, and psychotherapy.