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Record Type: Review   ID: 1130

Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories, and Techniques

Druckman, Daniel, & Swets, John A. (Eds.).

 The report of the Committee on Techniques for the Enhancement of Human Performance of the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education of the National Research Council assesses the "potential value of certain techniques that had been proposed to enhance human performance" and was funded by the Army Research Institute. The report describes the Committee's research, findings, and conclusions. The techniques investigated were: accelerated learning, sleep learning; guided imagery, split-brain effects, stress management, superior performance engendered by altered mental states, biofeedback, influence strategies, and psi phenomena. The first chapter provides the context in which the research was carried out. Chapter 2 relates the findings of the Committee in relation to the techniques studied and its conclusions about evaluation procedures. The third chapter treats the relevant evaluation issues more systematically and presents the Committee's philosophy of evaluation. Chapters 4-8 are about specific psychological techniques and the ninth chapter is on parapsychological techniques. Further details concerning the Committee and its procedures are given in six appendices. The Committee found little evidence to support any of the areas investigated. As regards parapsychology, they nevertheless recommended "that research in certain areas be monitored, including work by the Soviets and the best work in the United States. The latter includes that being done at Princeton University by Robert Jahn; Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn by Charles Honorton, now in Princeton; San Antonio by Helmut Schmidt; and the Stanford Research Institute by Edwin May. Monitoring could be enhanced by site visits and by expert advice from both proponents and skeptics. The research areas included would be psychokinesis with random event generators and Ganzfeld effects" (p. 22). It should be noted that for its chief investigator of parapsychology the Committee chose a well-known critic of the field, Ray Hyman.
Publisher Information:Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1988. 299p. Bibliography: 209-231; 1 Figure; Glossary: 252-261; Index: 289-299; 5 tables
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