The Impact of Meditation on Twin Hearts on Psychological Functioning and Quantitative EEG: A Comparison of Experienced and Non-Meditators

Presenters: Jeff Tarrant PhD –Columbia, Missouri USA, Neus Raines PhD – San Diego, California USA, Wayne Blinne, MA – Columbia, Missouri USA

Objective: To examine the impact of the Meditation on Twin Hearts (MTH) on quantitative EEG, psychological and cognitive functioning in experienced meditators and non-meditators.

Study Design:  A 19 electrode Quantitative EEG recording was conducted before, during and after the MTH meditation.  Pre and post assessments included a specific electroencephalogram (EEG) component using P300 metrics to assess brain cognitive functioning (speed and power of brain response to an external stimului) as well as a behavioral reaction time test.  Psychological functioning was assessed before and after the MTH using the Brumel Mood Scale and the State Anxiety Inventory.  Between group comparisons were completed using questionnaires including the Coping Self-Efficacy Scale and the 5 Factor Mindfulness Scale.  Subjects included both experienced meditators (n = 12 with over 1,000 hours of MTH) and non-meditators (n =12).  

Result: The comparative study to evaluate the effect that MTH has on experienced meditators (EM) and non-meditators (NM) showed the following: (1) EM showed levels of anxiety that were significantly lower than NM at baseline; (2) EM showed higher positive emotional traits (happiness and calmness) compared to NM at baseline; (3) All subjects showed decrease anxiety immediately after MTH, with NM showing the strongest response; (4) NM happiness scores increased significantly after MTH.  (5) EM had significantly faster reaction times than NM at baseline. (6) EM had significantly faster brain responses than NM at baseline; (7) P300 values in NM changed significantly after MTH suggesting stronger brain response after meditation; (8) EM had significantly more gamma waves at pre- and post-tests compared to NM suggesting increased integration and activation of key brain regions; (9) Parietal and occipital alpha waves in NM showed large increase after MTH suggesting a quieting of brain activity; (10) Patterns of gamma and alpha brain wave changes in the anterior and posterior cingulate cortex during the MTH suggest that EM modulated their attention and staying alert and present while NM became progressively relaxed with an open attention.

Conclusion: This study revealed immediate benefits for non-meditators including decrease in anxiety and stronger P300 responses reflecting improvement in cognitive function. The results also suggest that long-term practice of MTH results in different brain activation and additional long-term benefits on reduced anxiety, happiness, coping self-efficacy and improved reaction time.