Dianetic therapy: an experimental evaluation

This is the abstract of the Ph.D. thesis of Harvey Jay Fisher, "Dianetic Therapy: an Experimental Evaluation." Ph.D. dissertation, School of Education, New York University, 1953. 52 pages.

[ Full text of thesis ]

Sponsoring Committee: Professor John G. Rockwell, Professor Edward L. Kemp, and Associate Professor Milton Schwebel.

An Abstract of


A Statistical Analysis of the Effect of Dianetic Therapy as Measured by Group Tests of Intelligence, Mathematics and Personality

Harvey Jay Fischer

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the School of Education of New York University


An experiment was devised to afford an objective and definitive test of the claims for dianetic therapy. Provision was made for obtaining adequate information without anticipating the direction of the effects of dianetic therapy. Dianetic proponents specifically claim effectiveness in only three areas: intellectual functioning, mathematical ability, and personality conflicts. These areas were measured by tests selected because they were standardized instruments shown to be both reliable and valid. For mathematical ability and intellectual functioning, multiple tests were used in an effort to provide a representative score. Three equated groups of subjects, totalling 36 persons, were selected. The three groups were exposed to different amounts of dianetic therapy during an interval of 60 days, the first having no hours, the second 18 hours, and the third 36 hours. Eighteen hours of dianetic therapy are claimed to afford a significant change in the subjects in the three areas. The design utilized the controls of educational status and age with the influence of sex partialled out. The tests were administered to all subjects both before and after the therapeutic interval. For the second testing session, alternate forms of the tests were used. Difference scores were calculated for each subject in each of the areas measured and these were subjected to statistical analysis. The method of multiple factor analysis and variance was used.

For the population of disturbed persons who applied for dianetic therapy, and who were between the ages of 22 and 47 years, and who had at least some high school education, regardless of the sex of these persons, it was concluded that:

  1. dianetic therapy does not exert a systematic influence either favorably or adversely upon intellectual functioning;
  2. dianetic therapy does not exert a systematic influence either favorably or adversely upon mathematical ability; and
  3. dianetic therapy does not exert a systematic influence either favorably or adversely upon the degree of personality conflicts.