I am doing a research on transpersonal studies. Here's a brief background:

Transpersonal is considered to be a phenomenon where one's sense of self-identity is expanded beyond the ego. Transpersonal experience is a common experience among meditators. For those who have practiced meditation for 5 years or more, transpersonal experience is a normative phenomenon. However, there's been little consensus on what happens subjectively.

Wheal and Kotler (2017) found out that mystical and nonrodinary states of consciousness, whether meditation, drug or ritual-induced are characterized by selflessness, timelessness, effortlessness and richness or STER. They call this the "flow state". Neurologically, what happens in the brain is that the prefrontal cortex goes into transient hypofrontality. What happens subjectively is that a person tends to experience expanded sense of self, lose track of time, has enhanced ability to perform tasks and experiences increased bandwidth capacity - improved ability to grasp and process complex information.

I wanted to find out if local meditators in my city are experiencing STER. So my research question is:

Is transpersonal experience characterized by STER?

I already did purposive sampling of 30 respondents from a number of meditation centers (meditators who are in their 3rd to 10th year of meditation practice) using likert and verbal frequency scales.

But what is the most appropriate statistical tool to use to test their correlation?


1 Answer 1


If I understand you correctly your hypotheses is that:

"people who score high on STER are more likely to have a transpersonal experience"

Is this correct?

To find the appropriate statistical tool to test this hypothesis we need to know what your data looks like. How did you quantify both STER and transpersonal experience? Because I don't know enough details to answer the questions I can't give you an answer yet, I can do some assumptions though:

I can guess that you used likert and verbal frequency scales to measure STER and a binomial scale that measures if someone either had or didn't have a transpersonal experience?

In this case the very simple answer would be use logistic regression because your outcome variable is categorical and your input variable is numerical.

However, when using likert of verbal frequency scales the interpretation of your data can influence the results a lot. Treating a 5 point likert scale as a continues variable is a bit of a stretch, but it is in most behaviorial sciences common practise to do so. Also when sampling from several kinds of venues you might want to include the venue as a variable in your analyses to acount for the correlation between people from the same venue.

I can easily go on for another couple of pages about how to interpret and analyse this kind of data but I first need to know more about how you measured your variables and how your data and hypotheses looks like.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi @B. Bram, Thank you for responding :) Regarding how the variables were quantified... For STER, I did a 4-point verbal frequency scale (4-always,3-often,2-rarely,1-never) and for transpersonal experience (yes,no). This is the hypothesis: "Is transpersonal experience characterized by STER?" I guess this research question is just answerable by yes or no. So I'm just wanting to know the right statistical tool to test if there is a presence of STER in the transpersonal experience of the sample. What other information do you need re data? Thanks $\endgroup$
    – Mars
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 14:54
  • $\begingroup$ What I would like to know additionally is how many questions you used for quantifying STER. $\endgroup$
    – B. Bram
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 15:09
  • $\begingroup$ I see... There were 24 questions for quantifying STER, 6 questions for each - selflessness, timelessness, effortlessness and richness. But I've considered them as one variable because they are so closely related to each other and they most likely occur at the same time. $\endgroup$
    – Mars
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 15:11
  • $\begingroup$ Okay in this case i'd recommend calculating your average STER score and using the average STER score to predict transpersonal experience in a logistic regression. $\endgroup$
    – B. Bram
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 15:18
  • $\begingroup$ another option is doing a T test where your groups are transpersonal experience yes/no and your continious variable is STER score. However these are quit simple tests and you can go into more dept if you want? $\endgroup$
    – B. Bram
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 15:20

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