Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur


The Effect of Meditation, Pranayama and Meditative Sounds on the Cognitive and Emotional Performance of Human Brain: a study using an integrated signal and image-based approach

Meditation, pranayama, meditative chants and music have been adopted as age old  spiritual practices by people irrespective of religion. At present the medical practitioners and psychologists are also using them as tools for relieving stress as well as for enhancing performance. This project is the first ever proposition to scientifically study the effect of these methods in large scale while taking simultaneous measurements in the form of physiological signals (EEG, ECG, EMG, EOG etc), facial and ocular images, speech, psychomotor and subjective scores. These signals will be used to model the human brain and observe the trends on the cognitive and emotional performance of the subjects while applying the methods i.e., pranayama, meditation, and meditative music and many others.
The objectives are to review the existing methods of meditation, pranayam, chants and spiritual music and review allied scientific studies in order to (a) design experiments with at least 1000 subjects to study the effect of meditation on the cognitive, and affective states through Psychomotor tests, EEG, ECG, EMG, Ultra High Resolution Facial Imaging, Eye lid motion recording, Retinal Imaging, Gestures, Heart Rate Variability, Skin Conductance, MRI and fMRI; (b) develop brain modeling to study the impact of negative affective and cognitive states and to contrast them with changes due to meditative practices in order to (c) design portable systems to intelligently identify negative states and to modify them through techniques based on meditative practices, chants and music.
Research would be carried out as follows: (a) review of literature, (b) development of design for experiments with multimodal instrumentation, (c) development of methods of brain modeling to study the impact of positive and negative affective and cognitive states on various subjects, (d) the impact of various types of meditation, chants and sounds on human performance, (e) thereby leading to the development of techniques to detect cognitive and affective states non-intrusively through audio, video, gestures, motion and other signals, and (f) finally intervention strategies inspired by meditative traditions and practices including breathing techniques, chants and meditative sounds.

Principal Investigator (s)
Aurobindo Routray

Priyadarshi Patnaik, Rajlakshmi Guha