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The Silva Mind Control Courses: Effects with 3 High School PopulationsThis research was done to measure the influence of the Silva training in personality factors amongst high school students.Hallahan High SchoolSt. Fidelis High SchoolLawrenceville High SchoolPhiladelphia, PA 1974George T. De Sau Ed.D.
IntroductionOne need only become minimally reflective and aware to appreciate the many and varied portrayals of desperation in our culture. Expressions of humans trying to cope with their own personal existence, and yet missing the mark toward creative, healthy growth. The manifestations have many designations and are indeed legion. they pass under the verbal magic names of: stress, hypertension, insomnia, psychosomatic illness, neuroses, character disorders, alcoholism, delinquency, depression, moral decay in government and individuals, control by others, anxiety, guilt, etc., etc. All with their individual points of suffering and agony, shared by individuals in varying degrees of closeness to those so afflicted and distorted. The following studies are seen to have some very important things to say about alleviation of the above conditions. Ultimately, perhaps, a way to help people develop as healthy, growing members of humanity as opposed to the crippled and often wasted and agonized beings we too often are.The following three research projects illustrate changes that occurred after Silva Mind Control courses were taught in three separate high school populations. the instrument used, Cattell's High School Personality Questionnaire (HSPQ) was selected for its wide range of factors measured which, a priori, seemed to relate to aspects of claims for the Silva Method.DesignThe design for the following research does not include the usual control group. It was the perception of the senior researcher that trying to match two groups, especially on personality factors, was folly and could only lead to some absurd pretenses. Therefore, the pre and post-testing procedure was utilized with emphasis as to whether the changes were consistent with the claims of Silva Mind Control.This design was initiated with the testing at Hallahan High School in September 1972, using the HSPQ. It was reinforcing to read an article in the July 1973 issue of Psychology Today by Raymond B. Cattell, author of the HSPQ, which is interpreted as supportive of our approach. The following quote from this article seems pertinent."Human beings are so complex, and psychological effects so subtle, that trying to get two groups of persons identical in all respects except one become unrealistic. It can be done, at best, only in laboratory settings. Bivariate experimental techniques are about as useful for studying personality as forks are for eating soup".(p. 41)The HSPQWith the test used, Cattell's HSPQ, there are fourteen (14) factors or aspects of personality designated A through Q4. Contained in each factor are minus and plus poles or designations and factor descriptions (See Chart 1). For example, scores moving toward the A- side would indicate movement toward that factor describing the individual or group as "reserved, detached, critical, aloof". Movement toward the A+ side would give a descriptive designation of "warm-hearted outgoing, participating". It is important, however, to note that a movement toward the minus side does not necessarily mean an undesirable characteristic. For example, in factor Q4, a move toward Q4- presents a picture of being "relaxed, tranquil, composed" as opposed to Q4+ which reflects "tense, driven, fretful".Chart IHSPQ - 14 Dimensions*(A-)Reserved, detached, critical, Warmhearted, outgoing,(A+)aloofparticipating(B-)Low intelligence, dullHigh intelligence, bright(B+)(C-)Lower ego strength, affectedHigher ego strength, mature,C+)by feelings, easily upsetfaces reality, calm(D-)Undemonstrative, deliberateExcitable, impatient, demanding(D+)(E-)Submissiveness, obedient,Dominance, assertive, aggressive,(E+)easily leadstubborn(F-)Sober, taciturnEnthusiastic, heedless(F+)(G-)Weaker superego strength,Stronger superego strength,(G+)disregards rulesconscientious(H-)Shy, timid, threat-sensitive Adventurous, socially bold(H+)(I-)Tough-minded, rejects illusionsTender-minded, dependent(I+)(J-)Zestful, liking group actionCircumspect individualism,(J+)internally restrained(O-)Self-assured, placid, secure,Apprehensive, insecure,(O+)sereneworrying, troubled(Q2-)Sociably group dependent,Self-sufficient, prefers(Q2+) a sound followerown decisions(Q3-)Uncontrolled, lax, carelessControlled, exacting will power,(Q3+)of social rulesfollowing self-image(Q4-)Relaxed, tranquil, composedTense, driven, fretful(Q4+)*Extracted and edited from the Handbook for the Jr. - Sr. High School Personality Questionnaire(pp 7) published and copyrighted by the Institute for Personality and Ability Testing as prepared by Raymond B. Cattell.HallahanHallahan High School was chronologically the first high school where objective testing was conducted in conjunction with the presentation of the Silva Mind Control basic course work. What follows in this first section is the objective evaluation of what happened to 2,000 people -students at Hallahan High School in Philadelphia in September, 1972.Hallahan High School is a parochial, mid-city school of 2,000 female students in grade levels Freshman through Senior years. All of the students who had parental approval and who wished to participate were involved in five school days of instruction in "Subjective Communication and Creative Development". With minor modifications, involving primarily time, this program was essentially the Silva Mind Control Basic Course 101 through 404.ProcedureOnly two students did not participate either on their judgment or that of their parents. From the total population, 220 students were randomly selected for testing, 55 from each grade level. For various reasons (absent, answer sheets improperly completed, etc.), the final number of tests used for statistical computations was 214.In the week before the instruction, the program was explained to the students. On September 21 and 22, 1972, the HSPQ was administrated to the 220 students with the explanation that the results would be used to evaluate the effect, if any, of the instruction they were to receive. The instruction in "Subjective Communication and Creative Development" took place the week of September 25th. The two week follow-up testing was conducted on Friday, October 13, 1972.ResultsThe results reported here indicate the pre to post-test changes in that period of time. It should be noted that the statements associated with the various factor letters are limited representations of the factor descriptions as extracted from the Handbook. Also the statistical analysis is of groups and not individuals per se. As a group, these students would be considered as representative of normal youngsters their age. It should also be noted that statements of movement toward a plus or minus pole does not mean that the group previously had the opposite characterization.Mental-Physical HealthThe area of greatest change was factor C (ego strength). "Ego strength is commonly regarded as a factor expressing the level of natural dynamic integration, emotional control and stability".* The directional change at Hallahan was toward the C+ pole. This would in effect be saying that those students after experiencing the program in "Subjective Communication" had responded to the items on the Questionnaire indicating an increased sense of direction using their own internal points of reference. In a sense, indicating their recognition of self worth and self control.A movement toward C+ indicates movement away from statements indicating use of defense mechanisms and repression. This would seem to have some interesting correlates in relation to the conditioning and training processes in the Mind Control programming. If one thinks in terms of health, the students were making significantly fewer statements concerned with digestive and vague health failure. An important area when viewed from the point of view of psychosomatic illness. Given that 50 to 90% of illness is psychosomatic in origin, the changes in these areas could indicate the strong potential for educational institutions becoming agents of health. It takes very little imagination to perceive what this would mean in terms of lessening of human suffering, expenses and disharmony. The students were also making statements reflective of moving away from sleep disturbances and irrational fears.Additionally, "Low factor C (C-) appears in a wide range of neuroses and some psychoses and character disorders". The movement by the students was toward C+ and away from this low factor C-. An extremely important statement, especially in light of the continuing increase in mental health disorders with only limited therapeutic aid or effectiveness, medically or psychologically.Decreased AnxietyThe next greatest change was on factor Q4. The direction of change was toward Q4-. The statements relating to Q4- are "relaxed, tranquil and composed". This in effect, is saying that the students were reporting on the post-test, items that would show themselves as having the above characteristics. The following statement concerning Q4 is a direct quote from the test Handbook."Indeed, clinically it is noteworthy that Q4 strongly shares with factor O the capacity to differentiate neurotics from normals, for it is one of the three highest loaded factors in general anxiety. It is abnormally high in character disorders, chronic physical disability and psychoses". (pp. 34-5).The responses of the students at Hallahan indicate a moving away from those characteristics which later or presently may lead or represent behavior listed as associated with high Q4. This now raises the interesting possibility that one can realistically talk about "programming" out behavior and perceptions that would lead or could lead later to the development of those characteristics associated with some forms of neurotic behavior, character disorders, chronic physical disabilities and psychoses.DelinquencyD was the factor with the next highest change. The post-test indicates the students moved toward D-. That is, they moved toward describing their behavior as becoming more deliberate. The students moved away from statements that would indicate excitability, impatience and demanding behavior. This D dimension is distinguishable by the more immediate and temperamental quality* Quotes are from factor descriptions in the Hand Book.of the characteristics that comprise this factor. Some of the indications about the D+ individual at the other pole would be ".. a restless sleeper, easily distracted .." and characteristics found in delinquent types of behavior.Socially BoldFactor H is the personality area which had the next highest change. The students moved toward the adventurous, socially bold end of the scale. In this sense, they were moving away from "shy, timid, threat-sensitive" characteristics. The person who would have moved the other way -and this is what the students were moving away from- would be characterized as fearful of situations, easily resentful, distrustful and inconsiderate of others - the kinds of characterizations that would describe withdrawal. The responses of the students would indicate they are moving out to interact with the world.SecurityFactor O is another factor involving a rather large shift from pre to post-test. The direction of change would indicate that these students moved toward O-. This indicates becoming more "self-assured, secure and serene". This is as opposed to a person at the other pole who would have been characterized as apprehensive, self-reproaching and insecure. If individuals had indicated a significant shift the other way, toward O+, then they would have moved toward a high factor O which "... appears in everyone of the forty profiles in clinical interest thus far analyzed including various forms of neurosis, psychosis, character disorders and physical disability". It is important to realize these students are moving away from that pole of the scale.Subjective FeelingFactor A shows a directional movement which indicates that these individuals became more outgoing, more warm, and they had positive feeling, with accessible emotions and interest in people. The psychological implications of that, as well as the social implications, should be rather obvious. We are now talking about people who are utilizing, if you will, the subjective element, feeling. These students indicate they are involving more subjective feeling in their responses and interaction.Internal StabilityFactor Q3 is another factor that changed significantly, and the changes are in the direction of Q3+. Interpretation of change in this direction would be that the individual is more able to subtly and internally control himself. Because of its role of control, Q3 has been called the "gyroscopic factor", providing steadiness and purpose in personality. The factor description indicates individuals with Q3+ as being able to raise questions and then offer problem solutions. A very interesting characteristic if you think of it in terms of Mind Control's orientation toward problem solving.IntelligenceThe change relative to factor B is the one that probably will be most misunderstood because it has the label "Intelligence" associated with it. Cattell says that this particular scale is a very abbreviated scale of intelligence. While it correlates with other longer tests of intelligence, the results should be most critically evaluated.There are indications of increased scores on this factor. However it would be premature to conclude that intelligence increased dramatically.It might be of more value to interpret this factor in conjunction with a broader interpretation of intelligence. Other factors (above) which might be associated with social intelligence have changed considerably.DependencyAmong the factors sharing significant change, the one of least magnitude is Q2. The change in this factor indicates movement toward increasing group dependency. It appears to be inconsistent with the overall trend of the above, more highly significant factors. One possible interpretation is that this represents a sub-group in the tested population.ContinuedResults for the other 2 schools are on the next page.ConclusionsPerhaps the changes which took place with the above students in their various educational settings can best be evaluated from a perspective such as that held by John Holt, educator and author. It is Holt's position that the educational process has often been one of teaching stupidity through contributing to the increasing of anxiety, guilt and almost continuous reliance upon the external environment for approval or disapproval - all conditions which may produce conforming, neurotic, robopathic behavior but does little to enhance education or human growth. There are reasonable grounds to believe the same conditions are found in other societal institutions.The research data above indicates, at least from the educational perspective, a refreshing, viable alternative. A factor of change which is persistent and strong after Mind Control training is that of a shifting to internal points of reference - another way of saying the recognition by an individual of his own value and a significant step toward self-control as opposed to being controlled by external others.Further, the reduction of guilt as indicated with Factor O has tremendous therapeutic as well as educational implications. Intrinsic to this factor are the psychosomatic components. Imagine what the effect would be in both physical and mental health if these positive effects were reinforced throughout the educational process!.The other consistent element is that of individuals reporting themselves as being more relaxed and tranquil. Certainly characteristics which are much needed in the educational milieu to say nothing of society in general. This series of studies did not investigate the subjective communication (PSI) aspects of Silva Mind control. The intent was to examine and measure those other dimensions which are intrinsic to the course material; more specifically the benefits claimed in the areas of Controlled Relaxation, Problem-Solving and General Self-Improvement, presented in the first two segments of the Basic Course (i.e. 101 and 202). To date, the data is seen as quite supportive of those claims.However, a recent article, April 1974 in Psychic Magazine by Dr. Gertrude Schmeidler, noted researcher in Parapsychology, contains reference to research information that would indicate the personality shifts and characteristics of the above groups taking the Silva Mind Control Course, are very similar in factors or characteristics to individuals indicating higher ESP abilities.