Prison Isolation

Subjects from the general population of Central Prison, Raleigh, NC, volunteered for an experiment involving an "isolation" experience. (Those convicted of felon offenses are housed in this facility.) The experimental treatment exposed inmates to combined sensory restriction and suggestion. The intent was to reduce the psychopathic deviant T scores (Pd T), Scale 4 of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) test.

Briefly, the three treatments consisted of

  1. Four hours of sensory restriction plus a 15 minute "therapeutic" tape advising that professional help is available.
  2. Four hours of sensory restriction plus a 15 minute "emotionally neutral" tape on training hunting dogs.
  3. Four hours of sensory restriction but no taped message.

Forty-two subjects were assigned to one of the three treatment groups (for a total of 14 in each treatment group). For each subject the MMPI was administered before and after the experimental treatment. Pre-treatment and post-treatment values of Pd T scores are given below for the 42 individuals.

Source: From Alan Gelfand

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