What Is Meditation Research

Meditation involves careful attention and allied psychological skills such as relaxation that can be learned and cultivated. There are many ways to meditate, with meditative and other contemplative practices ranging from traditional styles transmitted through unbroken lineages of teachers to modern approaches derived from older traditions or developed independently. Our meditation research explores this broad range of styles in order to identify psychological transformations that arise with meditation. Because psychological science has lacked the means for such broad-based investigation, we have pioneered new methods for conducting empirical studies of multiple styles of meditation.

This research draws inspiration from personal meditative experience to more fully address contemplative life. Individual interviews and focus groups provide insight into the complex nature of progressing along a personal path of meditation. We investigate motivation, intention, technique, amount and distribution of meditation over time, experience during meditation, influences on meditation, and effects due to meditation. Through content analysis, qualitative verbal data are rendered into a quantitative framework, thereby allowing statistical testing of significance for observed patterns.