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Maharishi Effect: A Model for Social Improvement. Time Series Analysis of a Phase Transition to Reduced Crime in Merseyside Metropolitan Area

NCJ Number
Psychology, Crime & Law Volume: 2 Issue: 3 Dated: (1996) Pages: 165-174
G D Hatchard; A J Deans; K L Cavanaugh; D W Orme-Johnson
Date Published
10 pages
Time series analysis was used to test the hypothesis that the crime rate in Merseyside, England, was reduced by group practice of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's transcendental meditation.
Previous research suggested that a phase transition to increased orderliness, evidenced by reduced crime, should occur when group size approaches the square root of 1 percent of the population. In the current research, analysis of Merseyside monthly crime data and coherence group size from 1978 to 1991 showed that a phase transition occurred during March 1988, with a 13.4-percent drop in crime when group size first exceeded the Maharishi Effect threshold. Up to 1992, the Merseyside crime rate remained steady, in contrast to the national crime rate which increased by 45 percent. In 1987, Merseyside had the third highest crime rate of the 11 largest metropolitan areas in England and Wales. By 1992, it had the lowest crime rate, 40 percent below levels predicted by previous behavior of the series. Between 1988 and 1992, 255,000 less crimes in Merseyside occurred than would have been expected had Merseyside continued to follow the national crime trend. Demographic changes, economic variables, police practices, and other factors could not account for the reduced crime rate. 26 references, 4 tables, and 2 figures