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July 27, 1963

Problems in Psychopharmacological Research

Author Affiliations


From the Veterans Administration Research Hospital and Northwestern University.

JAMA. 1963;185(4):237-241. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03060040021013

Psychopharmacology, or the study of drugs that affect man's behavior, is a new science which is afflicted by confusion, contradiction, and inadequate research. This paper is to familiarize the physician with difficulties which occur in the field, to serve toward raising the general level of experimentation, and to facilitate the evaluation of drug research reports so as to avoid the indiscriminate use of psychopharmacologic agents. If the nature of the variables "drug" and "human" are considered in detail, it is found that certain statistical and experimental design techniques must be meticulously followed for the results of the experiment to be trusted.