Psycho-technology: Its Present & Future by Julian Isaacs, Ph.D.
This article first appeared in Megabrain Report.
One of the many positive features of Megabrain Report is that it encourages us to think globally about psychotechnology as a growing scientific field and technology.
Here, I want to ascend from the specific to the general, to consider our field from the longer perspective and from the point of view of its development as a scientific discipline. I shall do a bit of crystal gazing too, to try to predict its future development. What place will psych-tech have in our culture by the year 2020?
FROM THE STEAM ENGINE TO MAGICAL TECHNOLOGY TO PARADIGM SHIFT?
First, is psychotechnology itself a sufficiently unified field of endeavor to survive as a “natural kind”, an area of study which could be consolidated sufficiently to generate future university departments bearing its name? l strongly believe it could.
l think the advent of psychotechnology bears the seeds of an important paradigm shift, an important development of the way we as humans view ourselves, which would unify the field and give it a broadly based theoretical foundation and a coherent approach to applications. I develop this theme below.
The answer to the question whether psychotechnology will actually survive and grow as a separate scientific discipline is not so clear. There are so many competing claims to psychotechnology’s areas of study from other scientific disciplines.
While we as psych-tech enthusiasts can see our field somehow as having a separate integral existence as part of applied psychology or applied neuroscience, the existing specialisms – biofeedback, psychotherapy, humanistic and transpersonal psychology, parapsychology, medicine, anthropology, social science, education, etc. each stand poised to claim that part of psychotechnology which overlaps their territory.
They are already organized to engulf the areas of psych-tech which are “respectable” enough for them to find desirable. Yet there is much about current psych-tech that repels such a take-over, like the often exaggerated or as yet ill-founded claim of manufacturers, the absence of a solid foundation of research demonstrating effectiveness of much of present psych-tech in its applications, and its high-tech “kookie” image.
There remains also a prejudice bordering on religious fervor, notably in the biofeedback community, against any form of state-altering technology founded on simply driving the state of the person rather than providing feedback so that classical learning can occur.
What we have now is essentially a “magical technology” which shows great promise, but in which the technology and applications are far outstripping the fundamental research that would ordinarily lead to the development of the technology.
It’s a magical technology because we don’t yet really know how it works, even though it seems to work and lots of us use it. In the history of human development, like nuclear power, often it’s science first, then technological applications. But this pattern is not universal. As with the invention of the steam engine and many other useful technologies having high value, the marketplace has spurred psych-tech into rapid advance, ahead of the kind of solid slow research that is needed to lend full scientific credibility.
This has a few advantages. It’s exciting, the field is open to anyone to make useful discoveries, creativity has not been stifled by institutionalization or, for example, the deification and inflation characteristic of medicine in America. But there are many dangers. We might pursue chimeras, fool ourselves, or just create a deviant, marginal subculture devoted to kookie machines and far-out experiences, eventually to get our knuckles rapped by the FDA and all our toys taken away from us by the big boys who know how to run their respectable mega-corporations.
The “Bass-Ackwards Growth Paradigm Psychotechnology” is both a science and technology: science insofar as we are exploring the properties of the interface between consciousness, performance and state induction techniques, including machine technology – and we need to understand this area as deeply as possible: technology insofar as the aim is always to extend human experience and abilities, to push the envelope of performance, to develop useful applications which add to the sum of human capability – and we need processes and machines to help us do this.
As such it seems likely that if there really are applications that do substantially improve the human lot, then the technology will survive. But will it birth a separate scientific discipline of psychotechnology? Here we could look at the usual ways that new scientific disciplines develop. Typically, research in the area of thee future specialization develops in separate institutions and then an informal community of investigators grows. Eventually, founding conferences are convened, a name is generated for the field and academic journals are created, text books are written, students recruited and university departments opened to institution allies the study of the field.
Eventually applications arc developed and a new technology is born. Given this model, where are we? “Bass-ackwards” development characterizes our field. We have the technology before the development of a community of communicating scientists investigating the foundations on which the technology is based.
Not only this, but most of the founding techniques have already been developed by existing clinical specialties or have been practiced for millennia by mystics and magicians. For example, biofeedback pioneered the investigation of various types of machine-assisted deep relaxation techniques and the induction of altered states by brain wave manipulation. Clinical psychology has utilized and developed hypnotic trance techniques for more than a century.
The use of imagery was initiated by mystics, healing and magical practitioners, long before psycho-tech developed. Subtle-energy based consciousness modulation devices, if one includes them as part of psych-tech, are probably almost as old as our history as a species (when did magic get invented?). So none of this is really new, is it ?
However, as I hope to elaborate in a separate writing at much greater length, we may be on the verge of a paradigm shift which will enable us to see the world (in this area) as never before, to see old behavior with new eyes, with new understanding. The core of such a paradigm shift is the realization that humankind has used state altering social rituals and behaviors since stone-age times, and still does so, ubiquitously, in all societies. All of this is psych-tech even if no visible technology is used, because it all involves need satisfaction by alteration of consciousness.
But the big secret is that this feature of human life is usually invisible to the participants, because the social forms are so taken for granted, as is ingestion of state altering substances, that none of us realize how much of our lives is bound up into the modulation of our conscious state until we view this behavior from the vantage-point afforded by consideration of psychotechnology.
Anthropology and social psychology have studied such rituals and social forms for decades, but without the necessary awareness of the state-altering properties of such forms, so that their linkage with drug use and more overt state manipulation technologies has not been appreciated.
What’s new about psychotechnology as a field is that it encourages us to think about the commonalties between all state-altering procedures, substances and devices, allowing us to class them all together under the common rubric of “state alteration in service to needs”. This is the paradigm shift and it leads to an increased understanding of ourselves as the species which expends so much energy modulating its conscious state in service to its ever changing activities.
This is the paradigm shift which could unify our vision of psychotechnology and lead to the lie Id’s emergence as a new cognitive entity. It is the generality of the in concept of psychotechnology which is of crucial significance here. This concept no longer limits consciousness technology to one application or even to one field of application, which the specialties have done so far, but embraces the global view, the view of consciousness and behavior (and hence also performance) as complex interpenetrating interactive systems amenable to controlled forms of influence from many sources, including high-tech sources, applied to any human need which could be met by such resources.
This is the paradigm shift required in our thinking, to see the universality and generality of this orientation. But before such a shift can be comprehended societally, it has to be framed so as to make this view acceptable and coherent. Michael Hutchison’s “Megabrain” was a seminal work in many ways, and communicated the overall vision, but this needs following up with a more academic and scholarly corpus of literature to establish the argument I am framing here.
PSYCH-TECH APPLICATIONS AND THE HIERARCHY OF NEEDS
In considering the future of psychotechnology, clearly its progress will to a great extent depend upon whether it can satisfy real needs. Given the generality of the new viewpoint lam outlining here, one perforce has to think more globally about its potential applications. Applications can be usefully organized by considering what needs they serve. A useful frame here is the hierarchy of needs identified by Maslow.
As have stated above, we find already existing state-altering rituals, processes, substances and techniques satisfying important individual and social needs by the score, disguised because of their very familiarity and embeddedness within the social fabric of our lives and by the obvious feature that as yet, high tech devices have not been incorporated into their forms. But the needs are there and many of them may be addressable using the new technologies if we could only creatively envision these applications.
Taking the lowest level need first – survival – business and other skills needed in the highly competitive world of the 90′s can benefit from the superior performance seemingly promised by psycho technology. It offers improved creativity, productivity and decision-making. Most crucially for our increasingly information-based culture it may significantly enhance learning,- memory and intuition.
But the most fundamental survival application of psych-tech, which also right now sells the majority of products today, is driven by our need for relief from the huge stresses imposed by our lifestyle. It has become clear that the major direct and indirect source of illness and mortality in the so-called developed world is stress, in the US usually caused by the work situation. As evidenced by a recent positively toned review in Forbes Magazine’s “FYI” supplement, psych-tech relaxation is really needed in the corporate world, and the perception is that it has something to offer.
So if psych-tech can really deliver the goods in reducing stress and relieving our bodies and minds of the tensions of our age, consistently, reliably, and over the long term, it will have made a massive positive contribution to our individual and collective well-being. As such it will be here to stay, as long as we maintain our present lifestyle (or are allowed by shrinking resources to indulge in such a lifestyle).
Medical uses of psych-tech for pain control, immune system enhancement and accelerated healing are already in development and we can expect to see it in wide deployment at some time in the future. The use of light and sound devices for control of chronic pain is already in process, and the increasing use of relaxation and imagery techniques for psychoneuroimmunological control of bodily processes will surely offer further psych-tech applications in medicine.
Next to survival, reproduction is the most fundamental requirement for any species. The application of psychotechnology has been used for sexual purposes, probably since humans evolved. Taking a good American stereotype – what is the champagne dinner followed by soft music and low lighting but an induction technique aimed at producing specific states of body/mind and behavior?
Similarly for the Playboy channel and its grittier cousins in video pornography. Heightening sexual responsiveness and sensation are clearly legitimate psycho technological applications. The recent article about psychotechnology in the magazine Future Sex clearly heralds this development.
Consciousness altering substances and procedures have always been used for human leisure-time socialization (dancing, singing, drinking etc.). “Acid house” parties and ” Raves ” in England and San Francisco already incorporate psych-tech devices and the development of large scale technologies for inducing altered states in dance-party contexts is likely to proceed much further.
Social rituals, even if not religious in intentional, are always intended to produce specific psychological effects in their participants in that they induce specific emotions and states of mind (as an Englishman it was interesting for me to observe the local natives in California getting teary-eyed during the Clinton presidential inauguration activities). The improvement of empathy and release of interpersonal inhibitions would also be legitimate and possible applications of psych-tech.
The arts have always had a major psychotechnological component in that they are intended to evoke emotion, produce absorption and trance, facilitate empathic identification and catharsis, communicate directly to the unconscious. Artists can be expected to exploit the new resources made available to them by the development of psych-tech. For example, after the recent one day conference sponsored by Synetic Systems in Seattle there was a light and sound performance created for a theatre full of spectators. In retrospect: these beginnings will probably seem primitive to our 2020 historians.
In sports, psychotechnology has a bright future. The world of sports, which covertly celebrates the physical skills needed for survival in our original, primal, pre-technological world and now provides arenas for self expression, demands ever high levels of achievement and so is ripe for invasion by psych-tech assists. A recent article by Michael Hutchison in Muscle & Fitness magazine points the way for this application.
Psychotechnology has many applications in psychotherapy in rehabilitation of perception, cognition and skills, and has very promising applications in correcting attention deficit disorder (ADD) and hyperactivity. Some 30% of the US school population is estimated to suffer from some degree of ADD. Biofeedback has a very successful track record with ADD, but light and sound may provide a cheaper alternative.
The educational applications of psych-tech have barely been tapped as yet and the increasing requirements for retraining of the work force and improvement of the American school system should provide a huge field for psych-tech enhanced accelerated learning applications.
Perhaps the second most common use of psychotechnology today is in pursuit of individual self improvement. A huge video and audio cassette tape industry thrives on this application and psychotechnology in the form of audio tapes, light and sound, brainwave biofeedback, ganzfield devices and cranial electrostimulation devices is certain to develop much further to fulfill this need.
Overlapping its use for psychological improvement, the applications of psych-tech for induction of spiritual, transcendent and transpersonal experiences and for meditation have been developed and used by many individuals but have not yet generated a commonly accessible know-how in print. This is an area in which we can expect the literature and practice to develop quite strongly in the future.
The ability to have profound experiences without paying the price in time for traditional practices, and in risk and possible legal and bodily damage using psychedelics – makes psych-tech approaches to the induction of transcendent experiences a very attractive option.
Undoubtedly, sophisticated EEG biofeedback will be the technique of choice for this area, a potential which remains vast and almost untapped. The intelligent application of psychology and technology to the spiritual life should greatly benefit us all, since the learning of some of the skills necessary for spiritual growth may be amenable to acceleration, even if not all growth can be so enhanced.
PSYCHO-TECHNOLOGY IN 2020: LIGHT AND SOUND
Having looked at some of the fields of application, now let us envision the development of psychotechnology from l993 to 2020. Taking light and sound first, the last pace of hardware development will probably continue. We can expect more powerful and feature-packed light and sound machines to be developed. So far, none has the combination of every desirable feature (low price, programmability, manual control, program downloading, multicolor diffused-light goggles etc.). Probably devices approximating this specification will be developed within the next few years.
Downloadable programs(programs you can input into the light and sound device from cassette tape – or later – the mini CD) will probably sweep the market because they represent the first and essential step in combining the light and sound “hardware” (i.e. the machine) with purpose-designed “software”(suggestion tapes, imagery and other exercises, to be used while on the machine). So far, only the Mastermind DLS from Synetics has download capability and it remains to be seen whether its “Polysync” tape download system is glitch-free and reliable. The old tape downloading systems for computers were notoriously unreliable and slow.
Undoubtedly, feedback will be incorporated into light and sound devices. Obvious candidates are EEG feedback and EMG feedback (muscle tension). But one feature of light and sound devices which may become increasingly problematic is their capacity to induce epileptic seizures.
Although the percentage of the population at risk is very low, as Increasing numbers of people are exposed to light and sound stimulation, inevitably, more individuals will suffer seizures. This has already led to law suits against The Sharper image, and, I believe, to law suits by Sharper Image against IQ International, which is now out of business. The problem is that although most susceptible individuals can be identified by a screening interview, not all can.
This might lead to regulation of light and sound devices, which would be a serious blow to the field. As far as I know, Sharper Image did not screen people trying out the IQ 9110, and careful screening will reduce the risk, but it cannot eliminate it. We may see manufacturers move to using green LED goggles because they are less likely to induce seizures than red LEDs.
A NEW/OLD MODALITY: BREATHING OUR WAY TO THE MILLENNIUM
A new form of relaxation/meditation feedback device will become available shortly which may well become a major force in the psychotechnological market. I hope the reader will not object if I detail some of my personal work in this field. I am currently developing and experimenting with a little known (in the US) modality employing feedback of the breath.
The user puts on a breath sensor consisting of an elasticated belt around the belly. One wears headphones and goggles, just as with light and sound devices. When the user expands or contracts the diaphragm and belly by breathing in or out, a sound like breathing is put through the headphones and the goggles light up. Breath feedback devices have been used clinically in Europe for a number of years. There is quite a lot of European research indicating that feedback of breathing rapidly produces theta dominant brainwave states – ideal for rescripting, absorbing positive suggestions etc.
Breath feedback seems to be very potent in activating some very ancient neurological pathways leading to states of great calm and centering. It’s no accident that so many meditational techniques focus on the breath. Giving breath feedback seems to provide the benefits of meditation in an easily accessible form, so I expect breath feedback devices to figure in the future of psych-tech to a large extent. Meditators who find light and sound too “busy” may enjoy breath feedback because it’s much calmer.
These devices have the great advantage of not producing epileptic seizures in seizure-prone individuals, so are inherently safer than light and sound. The breath feedback device is usable on its own, with light and sound, with a cassette program or with many other modalities. As to availability of breath feedback devices, so far there is an expensive US-made professional device available (around $6000), a French device which is nor yet available in the US, and my own device the Theta-mate, which will be available in a couple of months for a price in the region of $500.
I expect breath feedback devices to be increasingly used as a substitute for or complement to, light and sound devices, and breath feedback will surely be combined with various other modalities in the future.
TWILIGHT TRAINING WITHOUT EEG TECHNOLOGY?
In principle it is also possible to produce a true twilight trainer using a breath feedback device. Twilight trainer switch on two separate cassette recorders, one containing relaxation material when the person is producing alpha waves, and one containing positive suggestions for use when the person is in the theta dominant brainwave state.
They can also somewhat awaken the user if they fall too deeply asleep. The idea is to expose the user to positive suggestions only when they are in the theta state – minimizing resistance to accepting the suggestions.
Until now this switching has had to be done by monitoring the user’s brainwaves, but there is another non-EEG monitoring technique to detect the alpha/theta switch in the user which is much less expensive to instrument because it does not use exotic EEG technology. Dr. Thomas Budzynski developed the original twilight trainer, which now costs about $3,500 and results have been very exciting, suggesting that deep-set negative beliefs and attitudes can be changed using twilight training.
An interesting twilight training dissertation study was performed by clinical psychologist Rita Sullivan, now head of an Oregon substance abuse clinic, which produced very promising results with long term alcoholics. l am planning to investigate the possibility of developing breath-based twilight trainer which would be substantially cheaper than the existing twilight trainer and if successful will report my findings to Megabrain Report. Remember, you read it first in Megabrain Report
BIOFEEDBACK FROM THE BODY
One of the most promising areas of psychotechnology, in terms of its application to mass markets, lies in the development of inexpensive, easy to use biofeedback devices. Tools for Exploration has, with my encouragement, pioneered the sale of such devices to the public. With simple devices and adequate accompanying documentation, the Lay person can easily learn to use modalities which have been proven very effective in teaching deep relaxation.
For example, Tools now sells the “Antense”, a beautifully crafted forehead muscle tension monitor which for under $100 provides quality muscle relaxation training in a very easy to use package. An audio tone tells you how relaxed your forehead is. The forehead muscles mirror the stare of most of the body. So far, its manufacturer has not woken up to the extension of their market which adding an input for cassette tape player would produce – the combination of relaxation tape with muscle tension feedback is extremely potent.
Similarly, Tools now sells skin resistance and temperature feedback devices. By 2020 we can expect to see complex integrated biofeedback systems being used as optional add- ons to most psychotechnological devices.
SONGS FROM THE BRAIN: EEG FEEDBACK
But of course the most exciting area is brainwave (EEG) feedback. Here, the technology for full scientific analysis will remain too expensive for the average consumer. But the preliminary results from today’s brain mapping EEG analyses of transcendent states are already fascinating, and full of promise.
Probably, the research will reveal common patterns between individuals under- going transcendent experiences. and then training inductions and more modest (and less expensive) EEG feedback systems will be developed to coach users into achieving these states.
Probably Mind-Spas will start to invest in these systems, so that expensive complex technology will become available for use in these centers. Sophisticated software will be needed to sift through the EEG records to identify features which really relate to the experiences, rather than incidental features. A cartography of transcendent experiences will have to be mapped out in order to understand the complex relationships between EEG data and experiences.
This will be fascinating work and we may need to use much of the accumulated knowledge of the various spiritual traditions to get handles on these regions. A present day problem here is that there is so little funding available for this type of research.
THE SYNERGY OF THINGS TO COME
I have for a long time thought that integrated packages should be marketed, combining hardware with educational and instructional materials and suitable induction components, including tapes etc. This integration is already starting to happen. The DLS is the first really substantial move in this direction. So is the creation of Raymer Ditson Sommer’s tape series on accelerated learning for light and sound machines.
Like many of us active in the field now, hope to be creating some integrated packages myself, and Michael Hutchison’s next book, Mega Brain Power, will deal in detail with the applications of psych-tech and the software and inductions areas of psychotechnology – the book will provide a wide variety of “programs” for using psychotech devices to attain specific goals (see Michael’s articles “Beyond Entertainment: How to Use Mind Machines for Peak Performance” in issue #4 of Megabrain Report). The integration of hardware, information, instructional courses and inductions is clearly a necessary next step in the development of these technologies.
An important future trend will be the synergistic use of multiple induction devices, which will develop further, probably involving motion machines, vibration beds, acoustic field generators, sound and light, and flotation tanks (see “Valter Jessen’s exploration of floating, and Terry Patten’s review of acoustic field generators, both in this issue).
These composite devices will also probably be configured with biofeedback loops to allow control of their output by some physiological function(s) of the user. Looking into the farther future, the ultimate devices may utilize virtual reality systems of high definition to provide truly flexible experiential content and although this is just about technically possible now, cost will be a deciding factor in its application.
THERE GO (HERE COME) MIND SPAS: FINDING THE OTHER 90 PERCENT
A loss of many of the US mind spas occurred in the past three years or so. The problem was that people tended only to visit once to test equipment that they then bought more cheaply elsewhere, never to return. Or else people visited out of curiosity to have a “trip”. Curiosity satisfied, they too tended not to return. However, there is now an upsurge in new mind spas and it is to be hoped that this next generation will be more successful. Mind spas are nor so new now, so they may find bigger markets.
They will only be successful if they can develop educational or other programs that provide benefits on a long term continuing basis to clients and most of the new entrepreneurs seem to realize this. Look for a national chain of new mind spas titled “The Other Ninety Percent”, aimed at liberating the abilities of the other 90% of the brain. I consulted for this company for several years and they are likely to provide the first big US national chain. By 2020 we can expect to see several national mind spa chains, boasting sophisticated computer controlled Systems.
THE PSYCH-TECH HAIKU: JAPANESE COMPETITION
In Japan psychotechnology has already made more inroads in some ways than in the US (not surprising, given the stress levels). There are now national chains of mind spas in Japan and the future has been taken from California to Tokyo. Some of their mind spas include EEG monitoring and feedback.
Psych-tech is big in Japan and when the Japanese electronic manufacturers see a large enough world market they will probably launch a flood of cheap devices. Already, at Tools For Exploration we are starting to see Japanese products sent to us for inclusion in the catalog.
ELECTRIC MIND AND BODY Cranial electostimulation (CES) seems to be slowly gaining acceptance within the professional clinical psychological community, with widely scattered groups finding exciting applications in the treatment of ADD, dyslexia and closed head injuries. In my work I encounter many psychologists venturing into the use of CES and most excitingly, preliminary trials of CES for CFDS (chronic fatigue syndrome) have shown great promise, with one manufacturer poised to perform some major research in this area.
The CFDS epidemic is much more widespread than AIDS – a little known fact – and seriously affects the health, productivity and well being of millions of Americans. It has a clear cerebral component and the hope is that CES may ameliorate this component of the disease.
One problem with the publicity about CES I encounter almost on a daily basis, is that some early writings on CES have been interpreted to suggest that it would unconditionally increase intelligence and perhaps provide instant access to meditative states. Tools For Exploration has a steady stream of calls from people inquiring about CES because either they want to increase their IQ or to use it every day for meditation.
The original reports did not make it sufficiently clear that the IQ improvements seen in CES research occurred to individuals who were either of lower than normal IQ, or else had imbalances between verbal and non verbal IQ. the CES treatment leading to equalization of IQ or tending to restore IQ to normal levels. There is no clear evidence that CES increases IQ in normal individuals.
CES is also unsuitable for intensive usage over the long term, both because of habituation and because of the as yet unknown results created by consistent long term usage. To my knowledge, there are no extant studies showing that CES facilitates meditation either. However, to bring some perspective to the risk question, many of us spend all our working days in strong AC magnetic fields generated by computers which are clearly hazardous, yet accept these many thousands of hours of exposure without a second thought. A few hours spent on CES might not be so dangerous by comparison.
NEW SOUND BREAKTHROUGHS
Moving on to sound, it seems likely that the use of ever more sophisticated sound mixes on audio cassette tapes and CDs will certainly allow more powerful inductions to be created. Michael Hutchison, who created the programs and devised his “harmonic superimposition of binaural beats” technique for hiv earlier “Mega Brain Sync” tape series has now created a new six tape/CD series that builds on recent EEG brainmapping research into peak states, and combines a variety of new audio brain stimulation with Tomatis-based sound shaping techniques in a way that may well represent a significant advance in the art.
Tools For Exploration also recently produced a series of four “Neuroacoustic” tapes using a powerfully synergistic set of techniques including binaural beats, primordial sounds, 3D holographic sounds and specific window frequencies. The release of the new tapes was combined with a research project where users could send in their feedback in the form of completed questionnaires which were designed for the project. Findings will be reported in Megabrain Report.
FOUNDING PSYCHO-TECHNOLOGY AS A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
The future for psychotechnology looks bright. Our culture is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of the quality of conscious experience. Imagery and relaxation techniques are spreading into many sectors of our society. The growth of mind spas will accelerate this process and by 2020 we can expect to see a society in which the Age of Consciousness has dawned.
As long as no catastrophic economic or ecological collapse occurs, we face an increasingly interesting future where access to abilities and skills and transcendent states of consciousness becomes increasingly available.
Meanwhile, in the here and now, as an experimental psychologist, my continual beef is that in this industry far too few resources are being devoted to research, so that questions which are potentially easy to answer by research – like the old perennial “red lights vs. white lights” (vs. all sorts of other colors) becomes debated like a medieval scholastic argument, rather than simply being put to the test.
Similarly with “does simultaneous CES and light and sound provide better entrainment than light and sound alone?” and “which CES frequencies and wave forms are better for certain conditions than others?”
All these questions are readily answerable, given some incisive research. Another major missing piece for potential users of psychotechnology is that we do not at present understand the factors which lead one individual to obtain a very worthwhile and rewarding experience with a certain psych-tech device, while the same device, tape, or process fails to please another individual.
We need to research the relationships between personality factors and the outcomes of using specific technologies and processes. At the very least it might cut out some of the guesswork in our attempts to advise potential users regarding their choice of device, tape, or process. At the best it would greatly deepen our understanding of the dynamics of psych-tech usage.
Finally, one effective way to progress the field as a whole would be to found a professional association with a professional journal and a lay newsletter and start a research institute for psychotechnology.
Such a research institute would be free to pursue both fundamental research and applied research as well as serving as a creative center for exchanging information about psychotechnology and could also develop products for licensing to manufacturers. It would also be able to double-blind test the many subtle energy products which have good user reports but which are currently unsupported by controlled investigation.
Michael Hutchison tried to start such a center in 1988-89 with the Neurotechnologies Research Institute, but it never established sufficient funding to function as a research center. Sooner or later such an institute will be founded. Can we hope that the readers of Megabrain Report would be prepared to help in such enterprises? Time will tell.
Julian Isaac’s can be reached in Compuserve, where his ID number is 72237,1131- or write him c/o MegaBrain Report. This article apeared in Megarain Report.