More with pride than with petulance, I should like to register the complaint that there seems to be a gremlin playing hob with our research efforts. Since this gremlin seems to function in a systematic way, I shall attempt to describe its behavior, as well as our thoughts on harnessing its energies in treating mental patients.
My first experience with this gremlin was in 1956, when our research group was engaged in the statistical treatment of data obtained from a controlled study of certain drugs.1 We employed at this time a rather complex experimental design, and confounded our variables so successfully that none of the drugs studied was found to have any greater therapeutic value than did the experimental setting. We found that our patients improved without drugs as much as they improved with drugs. At that time we named our gremlin “milieu effect,” for the condition