A Methodological Critique of a Test of the Effects of the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field

Philip A Schrodt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The test of the effects of the “Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field” by Orme-Johnson et al. which appeared in the December 1988 issue of the Journal of Conflict Resolution contains several substantial methodological problems. First, the measurement of the critical independent variable governing whether an effect should be found does not correspond to the most obvious interpretation of the theory, an interpretation used in later studies of the same theory. If population is measured using geographical radius rather than political boundaries, the observed effects should not have occurred, yet the study finds them anyway. In addition, the study did not adequately control for the possibility of reverse causation (the effects causing the treatment) or properly test for the possibility of spurious relationships. Because validation of the theory would contradict virtually the whole of contemporary understanding of causality in social behavior, insistence on such additional measurement specifications, controls, and statistical tests prior to publication would not have constituted unreasonable “censorship” of the research in question.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)745-755
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990

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interpretation
statistical test
censorship
conflict resolution
social behavior
causality
Causation
Conflict resolution
Statistical tests
Censorship
Causality

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

Cite this

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abstract = "The test of the effects of the “Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field” by Orme-Johnson et al. which appeared in the December 1988 issue of the Journal of Conflict Resolution contains several substantial methodological problems. First, the measurement of the critical independent variable governing whether an effect should be found does not correspond to the most obvious interpretation of the theory, an interpretation used in later studies of the same theory. If population is measured using geographical radius rather than political boundaries, the observed effects should not have occurred, yet the study finds them anyway. In addition, the study did not adequately control for the possibility of reverse causation (the effects causing the treatment) or properly test for the possibility of spurious relationships. Because validation of the theory would contradict virtually the whole of contemporary understanding of causality in social behavior, insistence on such additional measurement specifications, controls, and statistical tests prior to publication would not have constituted unreasonable “censorship” of the research in question.",
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A Methodological Critique of a Test of the Effects of the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field. / Schrodt, Philip A.

In: Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 34, No. 4, 01.01.1990, p. 745-755.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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