The Monroe Institute® serves as the core of a research affiliation investigating the phenomenon of human consciousness and making related information available to the public. TMI’s Research Division seeks to support, promote, and engage in rigorous and ethical research practices and affiliations, thus creating a multi-vocal forum for the cross-cultural, experiential, experimental, and theoretical study of consciousness. Service to the community is our primary goal. As such, TMI Research Division welcomes and encourages public involvement and feedback regarding our endeavors.
The Monroe Institute has a rich history as being one of the leading research and education institutes dedicated to the study of human consciousness. As such, TMI’s Research Division exists for a variety of purposes, including but not limited to:
- The search for and investigation of various tools and techniques for assisting program participants in the achievement of profound and evocative altered states of consciousness, including techniques for helping to “psycho-integrate” or make meaning of these experiences in a way that results in happier, healthier, more personally productive lives.
- The establishment and facilitation of coordinated research efforts into the study of human consciousness using interdisciplinary approaches.
- Promoting the belief that research efforts into the study of consciousness are most meaningful when they have practical applications and provide something of value to contemporary culture.
- Making the results of studies available to the general public (both those coordinated by or in collaboration with TMI and also those conducted by our non-affiliated colleagues in the field).
- Providing a forum for dialogues between researchers and practitioners regarding various subjects pertaining to consciousness research, including the ethics of research, visions for the future of the field, experiences using specific types of methodologies, and so on.
- Encouraging our colleagues to join us in a new approach to the “business” of consciousness research, specifically the adoption of “copyleft” practices in which an intellectual barter system and sharing of knowledge replaces secrecy and control of information.
Please consider participating in TMI research, by enrolling in one of our educational programs and/or submitting a research proposal.
Thinking Qualitatively: TMI’s Methodological Focus
Over the last several decades, TMI researchers and others interested in the investigation of the effects of binaural beats on human consciousness have primarily focused on the use of quantitative methodologies—for example, laboratory experiments and numerical methods such as statistical modeling. Such studies have been done with the intent of uncovering the physiological correlates of these altered state experiences and/or getting an overview of how binaural beat technologies influence the behavior and psychology of specific populations.
For example, past quantitative studies have suggested that:
» Children with ADD who listened to special binaural beat patterns in combination with amino acid supplementation improved much faster than those who used amino acid supplementation alone (Van Der Schaar, 2009).
» Adults listening to simple binaural auditory beat stimuli during a 30-minute vigilance task improved performance and reported positive changes in mood associated with the task (Lane, Kasian, Owens, & Marsh, 1998).
» Bariatric patients undergoing general anesthesia who were exposed to specific binaural beat combinations during surgery required significantly (1/3) less analgesia than those who listened to a blank tape (Lewis, Osborn, & Roth, 2004).
Thanks to these important studies, we now have much more insight into and information about the physiological and behavioral implications of binaural beats on consciousness. While TMI will most certainly continue to encourage and support further quantitative investigations such as these, the feeling has become that it is time for TMI to shift its research focus to include more qualitative approaches to the study of human consciousness.
The purpose of this article is to first explain what is meant by “qualitative inquiry” and then to consider how the techniques of this particular methodology can help to further the goals of TMI as a research and education institute specifically, and the field of consciousness studies in general. It is also intended to give researchers and practitioners interested in collaborating with TMI an overview of the philosophy and foci that underlie the TMI Research Division’s initiatives. Finally, this article will look into the future, considering the potential outcome and significance of this shift in research focus.
What is Meant by "Qualitative Inquiry?" In contrast to quantitative forms of research (which focus on quantities), qualitative inquiry is interested in the qualities of the phenomenon being studied. To this end, the qualitative researcher:
- Focuses on gathering information pertaining to the research participant’s subjective (first-person) experiences through the use of investigative techniques such as open-ended interviews, observation, participant-observation, and the like.
- Seeks data that is rich in contextual detail—such as the participant’s emotional experience, relationship with others, personal mythology, and so on.
- Is not concerned with trying to achieve absolute objectivity through controlled experiments. In fact, qualitative researchers often intentionally use data-gathering techniques that require a certain amount of relationship building between the researcher and the research participant.
- Takes note of the words, metaphors, symbols, memes, etc. used by the participant within his or her narratives and utilizes them as a means of uncovering the deeper significances that the subject of study holds for the research participant.
- May not know in advance what he/she is looking for or how the research will unfold, but instead allows the research design to shift according to the data and/or circumstances that arise. Despite this flexibility, however, qualitative research methods also adhere to an internal structure or set of “rules” that guide and frame the study.
- Aims to make data available to the public by way of a research report (or commensurate product) that provides a complete and detailed description of the findings. This includes a thorough explanation and critical analysis of the means by which the data was gathered, analyzed, and interpreted.
- Strives to achieve the highest level of ethical rigor, paying close attention to concerns regarding the rights and welfare of all research participants. The qualitative researcher strives to become educated on the ethical implications specific to each and every study that is undertaken.
In short, qualitative inquiry seeks to uncover and provide detailed descriptions of research participants’ first-person experiences regarding a given subject, including the significance and meanings that they themselves give to these events. While a quantitative study might set out to answer the question, “How many Gateway Voyage® participants report having an out-of-body experience during the program?”, a qualitative researcher might pose a question such as “What is the experience of Gateway participants who report having an out-of-body experience during the program?” Qualitative research does not seek to find absolute knowledge or predictable facts about a given phenomenon; rather, its goal is to enrich our understanding of the human condition by illuminating and paying respect to the unity and diversity of our inner experiences.
TMI’s primary goals for research
Having now defined qualitative methodology, the question to be discussed is, “How can this form of inquiry help us to achieve the goals of The Monroe Institute and perhaps even some of the goals of the field of consciousness studies as a whole?”
The TMI website describes the institute’s overall mission and goals as such:
The Monroe Institute provides experiential education programs facilitating the personal exploration of human consciousness. Your first highly experiential trek, the Gateway Voyage, takes you on an incredible six-day intensive adventure with like-minded explorers. Participate in the evolution of human consciousness; join us and realize your own true destiny!
Over the last 30+ years, tens of thousands of people have attended the Institute’s residential and outreach programs, and millions have benefited from our educational materials. The Institute admits students of any race, color, creed, and national or ethnic origin.
The Monroe Institute also serves as the core of a research affiliation investigating the evolution of human consciousness and making related information available to the public. The Institute is devoted to the premise that focused consciousness contains definitive solutions to the major issues of human experience and a greater understanding of such consciousness can be achieved through coordinated research efforts using an interdisciplinary approach.
The results of such research efforts are meaningful only if there are practical applications—something of value for our contemporary culture. As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational and research organization dedicated to the exploration of human consciousness, the Institute proposes to introduce, at all levels of human endeavor, abilities that will constructively change humankind’s direction and destiny.
Within this overall statement, four primary “goals” stand out as the crux of TMI’s ultimate mission. These are outlined below, along with a discussion of some possibilities for how qualitative inquiry can help to forward TMI’s research and education objectives. While not intended to be the final word on where our research initiatives and collaborations might take us, the following is intended to ignite fresh ideas and to help researchers and practitioners interested in participating in TMI research projects to think qualitatively.
Goal #1: “The Monroe Institute provides experiential education programs facilitating the personal exploration of human consciousness.”
First and foremost, TMI’s primary goal is to investigate and provide techniques and technologies intended to help individuals enter into deep and meaningful altered states of consciousness and, through the exploration of inner and outer worlds, achieve insights leading to personal growth.
Based on the reports of our program participants, this is an area in which the institute already excels, and what has made TMI a leader in the field of consciousness exploration for the past 30+ years. Using a multi-dimensional approach of combining audio-guidance technologies with other sensory-information techniques (i.e.: sitting in a darkened room), social-psychological conditioning tools (i.e.: group sharing and support), and educational curriculum (in which new cognitive, “consciousness expansion” skills are learned), our program participants report experiencing extremely positive expanded states of awareness. Anyone interested in getting an idea of the effects of TMI programs on the lives of our graduate program participants should read Cam Danielson’s (2008) two-part study entitled, “The Benefits of Long-Term Participation in TMI Programs.”
In considering how qualitative research methods can help us improve and deepen our abilities to assist our participants with entering into and making meaning of altered states of consciousness, a couple of possibilities come to mind as worth considering:
• A Focus On Language
As mentioned, qualitative inquiry places great importance on the ways in which language (both spoken and written) reveals an individual’s relationship to the subject of study. For example, a qualitative researcher investigating the question, “What is the experience of Gateway participants who report having out-of-body experiences?” might make note of the words, metaphors, and symbols that a research participant chooses to use in order to describe and relate the experience. For example, someone might say, “Leaving my body was like being pushed through a wall of translucent Jell-O.” Seeming contradictions in the language a research participant uses are equally important, as in a statement such as, “It was as if there was two of me and one of me all at the same time.” Additionally, the researcher might decide to pay close attention to words relating to feelings and memories, such as, “I was scared and excited,” “It reminded me of my first time jumping off the dock at my grandparents’ lake house,” and so on.
It has been said that just as human beings create language, so too does language create human beings and their relationship to the world. The power of language to organize our thoughts and experiences is significant. Given this, it is interesting to note the ways in which word choice—both the words chosen by the participant and those used by the facilitator/researcher—can help or hinder an individual’s experience within altered states.
The following anecdote gives an example of this: During the Guidelines graduate program, program attendees have the opportunity to go through a “Personal Resources Exploration Program” or “PREP” session, a personalized, self-created, focus-level journey that uses TMI sound technology and the voice of a facilitator to help the individual move into progressively deeper states of consciousness. PREP sessions are conducted with the participant lying on a flotation mat in an isolation booth while hooked up to physiological monitors that measure skin potential voltage, skin temperature, and galvanic skin response. Throughout the process, the PREP session facilitator, speaking to the participant from the control room through a microphone, offers occasional “prompts” to help the experience along—for example, asking the question, “What does Guidance tell you?”
After having all this explained to her during the pre-PREP session interview, one of our participants politely requested that in her session we use the term “Higher Self” rather than “Guidance.” For her, the word “Guidance” implied that the information was coming from outside of her, and therefore did not jive with her personal belief system. Instead, she asked that we use the term “Higher Self,” which to her implied that any information she received would be coming from within her. Because this latter perspective was in alignment with her personal belief system, she was able to move more easily into and within an altered state. While hearing the word “Guidance” likely wouldn’t have ruined her experience, using language that she was more ideologically aligned with (and therefore more comfortable with) meant that there was one less “boundary” to be overcome in her movement from one state of consciousness to another.
Given the power that language has to direct our experience, our choice of words is important. In addition, just as significant is acknowledging areas in which our language lacks the words to articulate certain “ineffable” states of being. Where our language is unable to describe experience, we are left with areas of silence. TMI founder Bob Monroe was an advocate of attention to language, and even created words to articulate concepts that have no direct representation in the English language (for example, “rote”). Furthermore, as an international organization, we are privileged to have individuals from all over the world attending our programs. It is likely that we have much to learn from our brothers and sisters from non-English speaking cultures in regards to what words and concepts exist in other languages for which English has no equivalent.
Finally, a researcher or practitioner might take a look at the metaphors used by research participants in their narratives and consider what this implies about their relationship to the phenomena they describe. In their book, Metaphors We Live By, the linguists Lakoff and Johnson (1980) considered how the language with which we are raised both reveals and creates our unconscious beliefs about the world. They argue that this is particularly true of the metaphors we use to describe inner experience. As an example, they point to the metaphor of “The Mind is a Brittle Object,” as being reflective of how we view the mind and its psychological states. Phrases such as “His mind snapped,” “Her ego is very fragile,” and “The experience shattered him” reveal an unconscious belief that the mind is inflexible and frail; that it must be carefully controlled and protected for fear of being destroyed. Obviously, a belief such as this, whether conscious or unconscious, is not at all conducive to entry into altered states.
Similarly, we can look at the wide variety of metaphors that we use to relate to the mind and consider their implications for the study of consciousness. Is the mind a computer? Is it a filter? Is it a doorway? If it is a “doorway,” what does that mean exactly? If a doorway takes us from “here” into “there”—where are “here” and “there” in this case? No one metaphor is necessarily more or less correct than another, but each frames the experience of the mind in slightly different terms.
And so on and so forth. Pertaining to qualitative inquiry, here at TMI we are very interested in research that considers the ways in which an awareness of language constructs (or the lack of constructs to relate certain experiences) helps or hinders individuals entering into and integrating altered state experiences. Qualitative researchers might therefore ask questions such as,
» “What language constructs reoccur in research participants’ narratives?”
» “What might these language choices reveal about their relationship to consciousness?”
» “How might specific language choices help them to move more easily into altered state experiences?
And, for that matter,
» “What might this information reveal to us about the nature of human consciousness in general?
In what other ways can qualitative research methods help us improve our abilities to assist individuals in entering into and making meaning of altered states of consciousness?
• Active Listening and Dialogue
One of the functions of TMI Research Division is the search for and investigation of new methods of facilitating altered state experience. To this end, the various data gathering techniques that qualitative research methods offer (such as open-ended interviewing and participant-observation) can assist in this process by providing researchers with strategies for recording individuals’ feedback about their experiences with various techniques and technologies that we choose to investigate, thus helping us decide through first-person reports which complementary methods to include in our programs.
While it is certainly interesting and important to investigate how certain technologies and techniques influence the physical brain and/or other physiological processes, at this point in time our primary interest is how these states of consciousness are subjectively experienced by our participants. For our purposes, the efficacy and potentials of new technique or technology are determined by asking questions such as,
» “Does this method of altering consciousness provide something of value—for example, insight or experience that an individual would typically not be able to achieve in an ‘ordinary’ state of awareness?”
» “Does this new technique or technology result in beneficial and paradigm-expanding experiences, opportunities for introspection, for personal meaning making, and so on?”
» “Does it add something of value to our community as a whole, whether experiential or intellectual?”
Finally, we are always trying to keep ourselves informed of what kind of experiences our program participants are seeking—for example, what they desire from an expanded state of awareness. In this way, too, qualitative data gathering methods can help us serve our participants better, providing opportunities for open-ended dialogues regarding their needs and wishes.
Goal #2: “The Monroe Institute also serves as the core of a research affiliation investigating the evolution of human consciousness and making related information available to the public.”
The TMI research philosophy is that a study is not complete until the final report (or commensurate product) has been shared with the public. The final stage of a research project therefore involves asking questions such as, “What is the best vehicle for relaying the findings to the public?” and “What will make this information interesting and digestible to both the layperson and the non-layperson?"
This latter question is particularly important. It is our belief that information should be shared in a way that makes it comprehensible to the largest group of people possible, not just an elite few with a specialized background and vocabulary. While not to negate the importance of quantitative reports, few laypeople people have an interest in wading through pages and pages of statistics. When it comes to making the results of research available and, perhaps more importantly, digestible, to the widest population possible, qualitative approaches offer some extremely user-friendly interpretive techniques. These include narrative genres of various kinds (such as ethnographies, biographies, and case studies) and also the inclusion of mixed-media visual art forms (such as film, computer-generated images, and fine art techniques). TMI has recently launched a project entitled “Gift Notes” in which our educational program participants are given the opportunity to contribute thoughts about their altered state experiences at TMI via audio recording. After compiling a variety of these “testimonials,” Martin Taylor, a talented filmmaker at the Australia-based company, Whitedot Films, will pair excerpts of these audio recordings with music, symbols, and imagery, creating a series of visually stunning and emotionally meaningful film vignettes intended to capture the essence of our program participants’ experiences.
In this way, qualitative methods provide a means of interpreting and disseminating insights into the human condition through a variety of thought-provoking and creative media forms.
Goal #3: “The Institute is devoted to the premise that focused consciousness contains definitive solutions to the major issues of human experience and a greater understanding of such consciousness can be achieved through coordinated research efforts using an interdisciplinary approach.”
To quote TMI’s former executive director, Paul Rademacher, “Our current research vision is as much about creating a new community as it is about research itself.” The study of consciousness is a tricky one—perhaps the trickiest of all subjects of inquiry, for, as it has been said, the human mind is the only thing in existence trying to understand itself, and in this way, the study of consciousness is a lot like trying to find your way through a hall of mirrors. Or perhaps like the dog chasing its own tail.
The question of what consciousness “is” and how it “works” is currently being approached from multiple perspectives. Philosophers, neuroscientists, psychologists, anthropologists, theologians, spiritual leaders, and practitioners of all kinds are all investigating questions regarding the nature and functions of consciousness through the specific lenses of their particular disciplines. At one end of the continuum are the materialists who argue that mental phenomena can be reduced to being a product of matter. According to this perspective, consciousness is not “real” in any independent sense but is instead the byproduct of physico-chemical processes. On the other side of the debate are the subjective idealists who, at their most extreme, regard mind as primary and matter nothing more than an illusion created by mind. In the middle are those who maintain that consciousness is the result of both physical and nonphysical properties, thus leading to the “problem” of (and resulting plethora of explanatory theories about) how these two phenomena “link up” to create subjective experience.
Given this wide variety of perspectives and philosophical claims, it is not surprising that each of us involved in the study of consciousness comes to it with our own biases, ideological standpoints, and political agendas. That we have preconceptions and even an ontological stake in the outcome of our investigations is unavoidable. And, in fact, one could make the case that this “baggage” is necessary to our investigations, for without some sort of baseline standpoint from which to source, we have no way to orient ourselves to a phenomenon or to create an internally consistent system of meaning from which our investigations can launch and take flight.
At the same time, we at TMI Research maintain that no one approach to the study of consciousness will suffice. We believe that only a multi-disciplinary, multi-voiced, multi-theory approach that includes open dialogue, collaboration, and a sharing of knowledge amongst colleagues (both professional and nonprofessional and from the many diverse areas of consciousness research) will provide true opportunities for gaining insights into the mystery of human consciousness. Our research vision therefore includes an emphasis on a professional model that we believe will be a fruitful alternative to the traditional research mindset. If the “old” research model is the “copyright approach”—which typically involves an attitude of secrecy and control of information in order for professional and financial gain—then what we are aiming for is a “copyleft approach,” in which information and intellectual discovery is shared freely and openly with our peers in the field. Part of the function of the Research Division is to seek opportunities to initiate an “intellectual barter system” or sharing of knowledge between colleagues, allowing all of us to make greater strides and discoveries than ever before. We are particularly interested in encouraging, promoting, and participating in mixed-methods research projects that bring together qualitative and quantitative investigators, allowing the strengths of each methodology to pick up where the other leaves off. We are highly optimistic as to where such collaborations might bring this field of study.
Goal #4: “The results of such research efforts are meaningful only if there are practical applications—something of value for our contemporary culture. … [T]he Institute proposes to introduce, at all levels of human endeavor, abilities that will constructively change humankind’s direction and destiny.”
A lot of words in this statement are open for interpretation. For example, what specifically do we mean by “human endeavors”? What constitutes “constructive change”? While defining each and every word within these goals is beyond the scope of this particular essay, discussing the meanings and implications of these and other terms would be an interesting conversation for our community to have some day. However, for the purposes of considering how qualitative inquiry can help us achieve this particular goal, the focus will be placed primarily on what we at TMI consider to be “practical knowledge” and some examples of what kind of research foci could fall into this category.
Within the TMI Research Division, our current working definition of “practical knowledge” goes something like this:
Practical knowledge is knowledge that can be used to further human endeavors in ways that are applicable to everyday life and that ultimately leads to constructive personal and social change and the resolution of problems and difficulties.
In other words, rather than knowledge for knowledge’s sake, we are interested in knowledge that can be used towards the positive fulfillment of day-to-day life and culture. One of the primary questions that we are therefore asking ourselves as we move forward is, “What kinds of knowledge are the most socially and personally useful and how might qualitative methodologies help us get there?
There are infinite answers to this question. The following are a couple of ideas that have crossed our minds:
• How personal experiences within altered states influence participants’ relationships with the world around them.
One critique of qualitative methodology is that it tends to shed light only on the experience of an individual or small group of individuals, thus making it limited as a knowledge-gathering device. However, the kind of qualitative inquiry that we at TMI Research Division envision not only looks at the experience of the individual, but, just as importantly, also considers how a research participant’s experience of a given phenomenon influences the lives of those around him or her. So, for example, a researcher studying the effects of attending TMI’s Gateway Voyage might ask questions such as:
» “What happens after participants leave the program?” » “What kind of relationship does that individual have with the world after this kind of deep consciousness exploration?” » “Have we at TMI fulfilled our function of assisting in the psycho-integration of these experiences, thus helping program participants become more connected to their lives and interpersonal relationships back at home, rather than making them feel socially alienated and environmentally disconnected?
In the qualitative phase study of his mixed-methods study investigating the long-term benefits of participating in TMI graduate level programs, Danielson (2008; 2010) not only researched the experience of participants in TMI graduate programs, but, just as importantly, investigated how the results of these experiences “show up” in the participants’ interactions with others back at home. In addition to his research participants’ first-person experiences, his research sought to shed light on,
[H]ow an individual achieves results, brings out the best in others, establishes a vision or direction for them self and others, enhances their own development, acts with integrity and courage, and improves organizational systems (which can include family and community systems) (2008, p. 48).
So, one way that qualitative inquiry can help us achieve our goal of finding “practical knowledge” (again, here defined as “knowledge that can be applied to human endeavors that are applicable to everyday life and that ultimately leads to constructive change and the resolution of problems and difficulties”) is by encouraging research that considers how explorations of consciousness influence the research participants’ relationships with other human beings, with their environment, and so on. It is our feeling that inquiry into the subjective realms of experience should include data gathering techniques that move back and forth between inner and outer worlds, between the subjective experience of the individual psyche and the experiences of those whose lives are affected as a result of these explorations.
Another way in which qualitative research can lead us towards the achievement of practical knowledge is through an exploration into:
• How a re-relationing takes place between the individual and the contents of his or her consciousness during and after altered state experiences.
Here, I’ll again return to Lakoff and Johnson’s (1980) suggestion that the metaphor of the mind as a “brittle object,” reveals a general sense of dis-ease that many people feel in regards to consciousness in general. While motivated in part by his own curiosity regarding the “extraordinary” states of awareness that he had been experiencing, TMI founder Bob Monroe was also driven to by a desire to provide a safe space for individuals to explore the realms of consciousness without fear or judgment. His dream was realized—TMI program participants consistently report an increase in self-awareness, personal healing, and trust in the contents of consciousness after attending TMI programs. At TMI, we are on a mission to change the metaphor; to provide experiences that shift the belief that the mind and/or consciousness is a fragile entity that must be tamed and controlled to one in which consciousness is seen and experienced as friendly territory in which practical knowledge about inner and outer worlds can be achieved and utilized for the betterment of self and world.
Our research goals reflect the importance of this mission. While not value-free by any means, qualitative inquiry gives great respect to the lived experience of the individual in all its quirkiness and seriousness, its contradictions and logic, its mundane aspects and the peak experiences that punctuate our lives. Because it records rather than measures, qualitative methodologies do not seek “norms” or predictability, but rather have at the core a desire to illuminate the equal unity and diversity of human experience. Rather than attempting to define “normalcy” through statistical analyses, qualitative inquiry pays respect to the multi-varied narratives as they are related and then considers what this new perspective offers us for future thought and/or action.
Concluding Thoughts and Considerations Concerning the Future of Consciousness Research
As mentioned, the proposed research initiatives that I have outlined above are not intended to be the final word on where our in-house and collaborative research projects might take us. The possibilities are unlimited, and we are happy to consider projects of all types and participant sizes. [For more on research collaborations with The Monroe Institute and research proposal guidelines, please click here.]
In conclusion, in addition to the various individual research projects that we will be undertaking over the next decade and beyond, we at TMI Research Division see our current research focus and practices as being an experiment itself. Looking at it from a meta-perspective, we consider this new research direction to be an experiment in methodologies, in knowledge-generation through collaboration, in business practices, and, perhaps the sum of all these things, an experiment in “human beingness” as viewed through the lens of consciousness and altered state experiences. What will we learn when these multiple elements and the diversity of experience and experiment are brought together? What new insights into the nature of human consciousness might be revealed as a result?
It remains to be seen where this research vision will bring us in five years, in ten years, in twenty years, but we at TMI are tremendously excited and optimistic about the possibilities. We hope that you will join us in this experiment and in the conversations to come. VIEW RESEARCH ARTICLES
Researchers interested in collaborating with TMI should submit a proposal based on the following guidelines and considerations.
Danielson, C. (2008). Program benefits study 1. Retrieved from http://www.monroeinstitute.org/research/program-benefits-study-1/
Danielson, C. (2010). Program benefits study 2. Retrieved from http://www.monroeinstitute.org/research/program-benefits-study-2/
Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Lane, J. D., Kasian, S. J., Owens, J. E., & Marsh, G. R. (1998). Binaural auditory beats affect vigilance performance and mood. Physiology & Behavior, 63(2), 249-252.
Lewis, A. K., Osborn, I. P., & Roth, R. (2004) The effect of hemispheric synchronization on intraoperative analgesia. Anesthesia & Analgesia, 98, 553-556.
Van Der Schaar, P. J. (2009). Attention and learning deficit disorders: Impressions ofcombined treatment with amino acids and Hemi-Sync, TMI Journal, Winter issue.
Frequently Used Terms at TMI
There is continued discussion within the field of consciousness studies regarding the nature and meaning of “consciousness.” At one end of the continuum are those who argue that consciousness is not “real” in any independent sense, but is the result of material (neurological, physico-chemical) processes. On the other side of the discussion are those who regard mind/consciousness as primary and matter as an illusion created by the mind. Then there are those who maintain that consciousness is the result of both physical and nonphysical components, and that the really important question is how these two independent substances “link up” to create our inner experience. In addition to these three generalized positions exists a variety of nuanced opinions and perspectives regarding the phenomenon of consciousness.
While acknowledging that even within The Monroe Institute community no two individuals are likely to agree on an exact definition, at TMI we typically use the term “consciousness” to refer to the subjective, inner life of an individual that is comprised of a series of integrated mental and spiritual experiences, such as thoughts, feelings, ideas, perceptions, knowledge, memories, and even aspects of the self that potentially go beyond one’s experience of a single lifetime, such as what might be described as an individual’s “life force” or “soul.” While the Institute’s motto is that “We are more than our physical bodies,” we remain committed to an open and continuing inquiry into the many possibilities and perspectives provided by our colleagues in the field.
In contrast to the “copyright” model, which implies an attitude of secrecy and control of information in order for professional and financial gain, “copyleft” is a research and business practice in which information and intellectual discovery are shared freely and openly with one’s peers in the field. Copyleft practices are motivated by the belief that the sharing of knowledge and resources amongst colleagues is the key to making greater (and faster) discoveries within a given field of research. The passion for knowledge, rather than ego inflation and financial gain, is the primary force behind the copyleft ethos.
Recommended links regarding copyleft and copyleft-type research and business practices:
Kolata, G. (2010). Sharing of data leads to progress on Alzheimer’s [Electronic version]. The New York Times, August 13, 2010. Retrieved September 29, 2010 from: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/13/health/research/13alzheimer.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=alzheimer's%20research&st=nyt--
"Lewis Hyde on intellectual property and the commons in the United States." On the Media, National Public Radio, aired September 24, 2010. Retrieved September 29, 2010 from:www.onthemedia.org/transcripts/2010/09/24/05
Wikipedia. “Copyleft.” Retrieved September 29, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyleft Leadbeater, C. (2009). We-Think: Mass innovation, not mass production. London: Profile Books. http://www.amazon.com/We-Think-Mass-innovation-mass-production/dp/1861978375/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1285776075&sr=1-1
The term “barter system” implies a system of exchange (sometimes formal, sometimes informal) through which goods and/or services are traded (without the use of money) for commensurate goods and/or services. In an “intellectual barter system,” ideas, resources, time, or any combination of these things are the primary commodity of exchange, allowing for the sharing of a body of knowledge amongst colleagues in a research community.
The term “research” implies the use of one or more rigorous, systematized methodological techniques (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods) used to gather, analyze, interpret, and report upon data regarding a particular subject of study. This data is typically intended to culminate in insight and/or the advancement of knowledge into questions concerning a given field or discipline. Research projects can include pilot studies, longitudinal studies, single participant studies, multi-participant analyses, meta-analyses, and so on.
A “researcher” is an individual trained in one or more methodological techniques that provide a systematized means of gathering, analyzing, interpreting, and reporting upon data intended to provide insight and/or an advancement of knowledge regarding a particular subject of study. A researcher can act independently or on behalf of an organization with which he or she is associated. The term “researcher” can include practitioners and educators of various kinds who utilize the results of this research within his or her professional practice.
“Rigor” in research (for example, “methodological rigor”) generally refers to disciplined inquiry that carefully follows a given methodology’s formalized guidelines for the gathering, analyzing, interpreting, and reporting of data. Each research methodology follows its own internal set of rules and guidelines. A rigorous researcher seeks to first familiarize him or herself with these rules and guidelines, and then conduct his or her study in accordance with this structure throughout the research process. Within a research context, “rigor” also implies the use of critical thinking (the constant questioning of one’s assumptions), attention to ethical considerations (in regards to the welfare of one’s research participants, one’s colleagues, and the accuracy of the data itself), a grounding of the research in the relevant literature, and the culmination of the data within a well-considered report that provides insight into and/or knowledge regarding a specific subject of inquiry.