Individual Rights and the Federal Role in Behavior Modification; A Study Prepared by the Staff of the Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Ninety-third Congress, Second Session
Published November 1974
This report responds to a directive issued to the Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights to conduct an investigation into behavior modification programs, with particular emphasis on the federal government's involvement in the technology of behavior control and the implications of this involvement for individual rights.
Two basic considerations motivated the investigation: first, the concern that the rights of human subjects of behavioral research are sufficiently protected by adequate guidelines and review structures; and second, the question of whether the federal government has any business participating in programs that may alter the substance of individual freedom.
Although the material included in this report is by no means comprehensive, some initial findings are apparent: (1) there is widespread and growing interest in the development of methods designed to predict, identify, control, and modify individual behavior; (2) few measures are being taken to resolve questions of freedom, privacy, and self-determination; (3) the Federal government is heavily involved in a variety of behavior modification programs ranging from simple reinforcement techniques to psychosurgery; and (4) a number of departments and agencies fund, participate in, or sanction research involving various aspects of behavior modification.