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