Meditators and Nonmeditators: A Descriptive Analysis Over Time with a Focus on Unusual and Extraordinary Experiences

January 27, 2020
Arnaud Delorme, PhD

J Kim Penberthy, Adam S Hodge, Joshua N Hook, Arnaud Delorme, Marieta Pehlivanova, Cassandra Vieten. (2020) Meditators and Nonmeditators: A Descriptive Analysis Over Time with A Focus on Unusual and Extraordinary Experiences. J Yoga & Physio.; 8(3): 555744. DOI: 10.19080/JYP.2020.08.555744


Background: Some research indicates that meditation increases mindfulness and paranormal experiences of precognition, telepathy, clairvoyance, and synchronicities. There is limited knowledge about the frequency or impact of these experiences in meditators and the general population.

Aims: Aims were to assess frequency and impact of self-reported mindfulness, paranormal experiences and performance on psi tasks in two groups over time.

Method: We explored frequency of mindfulness, psi, extraordinary experiences, abilities in meditation versus non-meditating groups and the impact of such.

Results: 118 participants completed the study. Those in the meditation group reported initial higher levels of paranormal experiences (M = 1.33; SD = 0.17) compared to the control group (M = 1.57; SD = 0.22), t(1,65.11) = 6.02, p < .001, (higher scores indicate fewer paranormal experiences). At post-test individuals in the meditation group (M = 1.63; SD = 0.22) again reported greater paranormal experiences compared to the control group (M = 1.84; SD = 0.19), t (1,107) = 5.16, p < .001. The meditation group reported higher levels of meaning attributed to those experiences (M = 78.10, SD = 17.04) than the control group (M = 64.89, SD = 25.40, p = .002).

Conclusions: The meditation group demonstrated increased mindfulness scores over time and mindfulness levels were positively associated with higher levels of reported paranormal experiences both before and after the intervention, when compared to the control group. Performance on psi tasks did not improve in either group over time and these tasks may not be sensitive enough to detect significant changes.

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