1965 New York Times on Mind Control


(PDF fair use scan of article)

—PAGE 1, COL 3—

Special to The New York Times

BERKELEY, Calif., Dec. 27
—Scientists must start think-
ing now about the possibili-
ties of mind control that their
research may soon make pos-
sible, the chairman of a sym-
posium on the brain said

This point was made by Dr.
David Krech, professor of
psychology at the University
of California, Berkeley, In
opening his session of the an-
nual meeting of the American
Association for the Advance-
ment of Science.

“This grand new enterprise,
this brave new science of the
mind, has already made some
major advances, and is on the
verge of even more signifi-
cant achievements,” said Dr.

“Perhaps even in some of

—COL 4—

today’s papers are the be-
ginnings of genuine break-
throughs into the understand-
ing of the mind. If not today,
then tomorrow—or the day
thereafter, or the year there-
after. I need not spell out
for you what such under-
standing of the mind may
mean in terms of the control
of the mind.”

Dr. Krech then said he
doubted that many persons,
including the scientists most
intimately involved, had given
much thought to the grave
problems of ethics, politics
and social good that would be
generated by the development
of drugs to control or influ-
ence the mind.

“I don’t believe that I
am being melodramatic,” Dr.
Krech said, “in suggesting
that what our research may
discover may carry with it

—COL 5—

even more serious implica-
tions than the awful, in both
senses of the word, achieve-
ments of the atomic physi-
cists. Let us not find our-
selves in their position of
being caught foolishly sur-
prised, naively perplexed, and
touchingly full of publicly dis-
played guilt at what they had

Professor Krech presided
over sessions today in which
reports were made on drugs
that erased memory in gold-
fish and on other drugs that
enhanced memory and learn-
ing in rats. The sessions also
heard much data that indi-
cated science was at last com-
ing to grips with the chemical
basis of memory and learning.

There has been a grad-
ual accumulation of evidence

Continued on Page 24, Column 5

—PAGE 24, COL 5—


Continued From Page 1, Col. 5

seeming to link the process of
memory with the compound
ribonucleic acid, usually called
RNA. which is a master cheml-
cal of life. It is RNA that di-
rect the production of all pro-
tein made In living cells. Some
scientists have suggested that
it may also carry the code by
which information is stored as
memory in the brain.

The drugs described today
that seemed to affect memory
and learning were, in general,
chemicals believed to affect
either the brain’s RNA content
or the brain’s production of

In many of the experiments
reported, fish, rats or other
animals were put In enclosures
and were given electric shocks
after a warning by light or
buzzer. Their learning and mem-
ory were measured by the num-
ber of trials it took them to
avoid the shocks and the time-
days or weeks—that they would
retain memory of the shock and
the movements needed to avoid

Memory of Fish Erased

In goldfish studied by Dr.
Bernard W. Agranoff of the
University of Michigan, long-
term memory was obliterated if
the fish were given minute in-
jections of the antibiotic puro-
mycin shortly after the first
trials. Since short-term mem-
ory was not much affected, the
speaker was led to conclude
that the drug interfered with
the process by which memory
becomes fixed in the brain.

Puromycin is known to inter-
fere with protein formation by
interfering with the function of
RNA in the cells involved. It
is not used medicinally because
it produces harmful side effects.

Other reports from the uni-
versities of Hawaii. Indiana and
North Carolina also produced
evidence suggesting a relation-
ship in various species of ani-
mals between RNA and the
memory-fixing process.

Specialists from Abbott lab-

—COL 6—

oratories in Chicago and from
the Illinois State Pediatric In-
stitute described a chemical
called magnesium pemoline, al-
ready much publicized, that has
enhanced retention of memory
in rats and presumably en-
hanced their learning. This drug
is being carefully studied in hu-
man beings to see if it may
have a beneficial effect on mem-
ory retention in the elderly.

Another report on experi-
mental drug treatment that
seems to affect memory was
made by scientists of the State
University of New York, Stony
Brook. L. I. They reported find-
ing differences in species in
the reaction of animals to
stimulants to the nervous sys-
tem. Doses that seemed to aid
learning in rats of one strain,
might disrupt it in others, the
report said.

In another session of the lar
scientific meeting here a sci-
entist from Yale University
showed a film, demonstrating
that aggressiveness in monkeys
could be turned on or off at will
by a radio control mechanism.
The device sent signals to elec-
trodes Implanted in the animals’

In his introductory discussion
of the study of the mtnd. Dr.
Krech said “that “for the first
time in modern scientific his-
tory there now flourishes a
sophisticated. muiti-discipli-
nary, serious and, I may add,
‘well heeled’ scientific inquiry
into mind-memory, learning,
problem solving, thinking. For
the first time biochemists,
chemists, pharmacologists, ge-
neticists, anatomists and psy-
chologist* have been banding
together in an attempt to under
stand the operations of the
brain. And all of this has hap-
pened with unprecedented

Scientists today must start
considering the probable im-
pact of all this research, Dr.
Krech said, and must consider
in advance ways to deal with
the ethical, political and social
problems that may arise.

I have to say that dear Dr. Krech does indeed sound melodramatic but that–call it an educated guess–he had reason to be. “…with unprecedented speed.” That was forty-seven years ago, folks.

Note the increase in aggressiveness in mammals. At the time, electrode implants were required. Not any more. See this post.


Leave a comment

No comments yet.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s