APPLIED RESEARCH VIOLENCE
Eliminate Violence: A Strategy to Enhance Brain Functioning through the Transcendental Meditation Program
Success in combating the epidemic of violence will occur when public policy is guided by the principles of science. Three fundamental shifts towards a Science-Based public policy are envisioned: (1) adoption of rigorous scientific research as the basis for determining what programs work and what programs do not work; (2) adoption and funding of cost-effective programs that emphasize community-based innovative programs over policing and prisons; and (3) adoption of a strategy that implements prevention programs that can effectively address the root cause of violencestress-induced imbalance in brain and behavior. In this paper, we trace the origin of violent, aggressive behavior to dysfunction of the brain arising from stress in schools and society. We discuss the evidence behind two fundamental forces impacting human behaviornature or genes and nurture or experience. We conclude that experience has the greatest impact on behavior of the two and that it represents the most feasible form of intervention to alter brain imbalances underlying antisocial thinking and action. A summary is provided of possible neural correlates of at-risk behavior and a proven, practical prevention-oriented program is examinedthe Transcendental Meditation program. This program fulfills the three criteria of successful public policy to eradicate violence in our schools. Considerable research is cited that indicates the ability of the Transcendental Meditation program to positively impact the wide spectrum of dysfunctional thinking and behavior in at-risk youth. Implementation of this program could bring about a rapid and permanent improvement in our efforts to eliminate violence and develop the full potential of our children.