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University students brain study by Dr Fred Travis - Meditation London

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Uploaded on Jun 28, 2011

Dr Fred Travis, world renowned brain scientist, explains the results of research on American University students practising Transcendental Meditation.

Dr Travis: So at American University we looked at 50 students and we looked in a random assignment design what was the effect on Transcendental Meditation on these students experience during a semester of college. We looked at the beginning of the semester and then we looked at the end of the semester just before finals week when it was highest pressure, highest tension. What we found is that this two and a half months of Transcendental Meditation practice provided a buffer for the students from the stress of college.

[Speaking to student] "This is your meditation, this is your eyes close--just want you to get a feel". We found the meditating students would be able to respond less to stressful stimulus. They found that if they respond more to the stressful stimulus as we found in the non-meditating control groups its associated with being more anxious, more worried, less able to keep the attention on task. We also found that Transcendental Meditation practice allowed the students to be more awake. They had less chances of dosing in different situations and sleepiness is the greatest enemy to learning because when you sleep the frontal lobes go offline and you can't take in information. The last thing we found is how the brain actually functioned fundamentally changed. We found that the frontal areas, that part of your brain, this part of your brain, which is the executive processing part of the brain was more coherent. It showed greater coordination of the executive system. We found that the brain had more diffuse alpha activity during tasks and this is a sign, an indication of greater inner-directedness of activity. less absorbed in the outer details the fragmented parts of experience. Last we found that the brain began to call up resources when it was needed as the task demands were there.

So we found the Transcendental Meditation practice fundamentally changed how the brain functioned in a positive way, in a way that now the brain is able to support greater breadth of vision being able to deal with stress the demands of the college time.

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