National Academies Press: OpenBook

In the Mind's Eye: Enhancing Human Performance (1991)

Chapter:Part III Altering Mental States

« Previous: 5 Developing Careers
Suggested Citation:"Part III Altering Mental States." National Research Council. 1991. In the Mind's Eye: Enhancing Human Performance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1580.
×

PART III

Altering Mental States

IN THIS PART OF THE REPORT WE DISCUSSseveral approaches to the alteration of a person's mental state, presumably in order to enhance performance. The emphasis in this part is on changes in feelings and attitudes, rather than on changes in knowledge, as in Part II.

The four chapters represent a sampling of procedures or strategies intended to accomplish such changes. Each approach is the subject of a considerable body of research designed to evaluate effects or to provide an understanding of the underlying psychological mechanisms responsible for the effects. Each is also used widely in applied settings in which performance problems receive special attention. Much of the relevant research is summarized with an eye on implications for practice.

Of all the approaches to altering mental states, the one that is currently receiving the most attention is subliminal perception and learning. Chapter 6 addresses the idea of subliminal learning through audio cassette tapes, which has been widely marketed and promoted as a solution to a host of performance and attitudinal problems. In this chapter the committee evaluates these assertions in the context of psychological theory and available experimental evidence.

Chapter 7 considers meditation, a time-honored practice engaged in by millions of people who share the mystical religious traditions of Eastern countries. Meditation has also gained popularity in the West, where claims have been made for it as a technique that en-

Suggested Citation:"Part III Altering Mental States." National Research Council. 1991. In the Mind's Eye: Enhancing Human Performance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1580.
×

hances performance. A number of studies have been conducted that address these claims. The evidence discussed in this chapter leads to conclusions about its effectiveness.

Pain as both a physiological and psychological reaction is the topic of Chapter 8. Encouraging evidence from psychological studies suggest ways to manage the feelings associated with acute and chronic pain. If effective, these strategies can increase a person's chances to survive under very difficult circumstances. They can also contribute more generally to an improved quality of life. In this chapter the committee surveys what is known about pain and its management, concluding with some guidance on approaches likely to be effective.

Chapter 9 and Chapter 10 deal with the intriguing topic of deception and its detection. We have learned quite a bit from experimental studies about the physical manifestations of deception. The literature surveyed demonstrates that a number of nonverbal behaviors signal when a person is lying. The review also calls attention to problems of detection and offers some strategies for improving accuracy. The insights derived from these studies may be quite useful for training people for positions in which sensitivity to possible dissimulation is essential. This is not to argue, however, that these insights are sufficiently definitive to be a basis for developing a training manual. Expanding the concept further, Chapter 10 discusses several broad frameworks for understanding the conditions under which individuals from different cultural backgrounds are likely to be caught lying.

Each of the chapters raises a number of interesting questions for research done in both laboratory or field settings.

Suggested Citation:"Part III Altering Mental States." National Research Council. 1991. In the Mind's Eye: Enhancing Human Performance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1580.
×
Page105
Suggested Citation:"Part III Altering Mental States." National Research Council. 1991. In the Mind's Eye: Enhancing Human Performance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1580.
×
Page106
Next: 6 Subliminal Self-Help »
In the Mind's Eye: Enhancing Human Performance Get This Book
×
Buy Paperback | $80.00
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

The archer stands and pulls back the bow, visualizing the path of the arrow to the target. Does this mental exercise enhance performance? Can we all use such techniques to improve performance in our daily lives?

In the Mind's Eye addresses these and other intriguing questions. This volume considers basic issues of performance, exploring how techniques for quick learning affect long-term retention, whether an expert's behavior can serve as a model for beginners, if team performance is the sum of individual members' performances, and whether subliminal learning has a basis in science.

The book also considers meditation and some other pain control techniques. Deceit and the ability to detect deception are explored in detail. In the area of self-assessment techniques for career development, the volume evaluates the widely used Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!