Myth or fact? Meditation lowers crime rates


A transcendental Meditation study suggests group practice could reduce crime rates in the United States. 

A seventeen-year study published in the peer-reviewed World Journal of Social Science suggests that transcendental meditation can have a positive impact on lowering crime rates on a national level.

The analysis suggests that meditation might have a powerful, positive influence on society once enough individuals engage in the practice, through what is known as the  Maharishi Effect

Meditation is easy to practice, and readily available online to study and learn. Past studies have shown the benefits of transcendental meditation for lowering stress. 

We all need ways to learn to slow down and de-stress

Crime rates supposedly dropped when more people meditated

For this research, the study authors performed an analysis o 50 studies to find a correlation between meditation and various types of crime in the United States population. The analysis was performed among studies that looked at the numbers of individuals practicing Transcendental Meditation (™) and rates of murders, rapes, and child accidents and injuries from the years 2000 to 2006 when student meditation at  Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa had increased to √1% of the United States Population. 

During the years 2007 to 2011, the same number of students, which was 1725 remained in the program. 

Below is a graph, credit Maharishi International University, showing the decrease in crime rates during the demonstration periods. 

When the size of the meditation group decreased, crime rates began trending upward, according to the graph - that is when less than √1% of the U.S. population were not practicing Transcendental Meditation. 

What does the analysis really mean?

Well, the study authors say there were no other explanations for the drop in crime, even considering political, policing, and economic factors. 

Some skeptics challenge the entire Maharishi Effect that subscribes to the theory that positive changes can occur through collective consciousness. In other words, there is a correlation only and no hard evidence that Transcendental Meditation actually caused crime rates to decrease. The evidence is still open to interpretation, but this newest analysis builds on what the authors seem to hope might change the opinion of those skeptics. 


"Field-Effects of Consciousness: A Seventeen-Year Study of the Effects of Group Practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Programs on Reducing National Stress in the United States.”
World Journal of Social Sciences, vol. Vol 9, No 2 (2022), Accessed 2022.