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The Rhythm of the Mind
More biorhythm history

What has made the study of biorhythm such a fascinating experience is the fact that pieces of supporting evidence were discovered by researchers who not only did not know each other but were not even aware of the work previously done in the science. Yet results have been remarkably Consistent and encouraging , and new directions and dimensions have continued to be added to the established principles. So, in a very real way, it was with biorhythm's third major precept: the cycle of the mind.

During the 1920's Alfred Teltseher, a doctor of engineering and a teacher, reportedly Collected a large number of performance reports of high school and college students at Innsbruck. Himself a student of nature as well as of mathematics, Teltseher wondered why the intellectual Capability of students seemed to vary from time to time, and whether any exact pattern could be established. Unfortunately, my own search abroad brought to light no original documentation, scientific paper, or book of his, and so my knowledge of Teltscher's work is based on secondhand reports and on articles that discussed his findings.

Apparently, even the comparatively limited basis of his statistical sampling disclosed that an exact pattern could be established. The paper Teltscher supposedly prepared concluded that the students' high and low peaks of performance fluctuated in a definite 33 day cycle. He stated, in effect, that there were periods during which a student could readily grasp and absorb new subjects, and, on the other hand, there were comparable periods during which the capacity to think quickly and clearly was diminished. His associates and medical contemporaries ascribed this rhythm to periodic secretions of glands affecting the brain cells, possibly of the thyroid gland.

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, meanwhile, Dr. Rexford Hersey at the University of Pennsylvania, assisted by Dr. Michael John Bennett, conducted a similar research between 1928 and 1932. Hersey reported the accidental discovery of a 33-day to 35 day rhythm, revealed by checking the emotions of workers in railroad shops over periods of many months. His findings were published in his book Workers' Emotions in Shop and Home. Donald A. Laird, director of the psychological laboratory at Colgate University, reviewed Hersey's discovery in an article that appeared in Review of Reviews, April 1935, entitled "The Secrets of Our Ups and Downs," and was reprinted in Reader's digest, August, 1935. At the conclusion Laird declared:

To most people moods are an eternal puzzle, no one knows whence they come or where they go. Science has recently discovered moods are by no means matters of chance. They are not, as we have long supposed, simply reactions to the success or failure of our plans. On the Contrary, they grow within us as a direct result of the rise and fall of our emotional energy. It has been proved that our bodies and minds produce, store up and spend our emotional energy in regular cycles.

Laird's comments, although widely read, failed to capture the imagination of the public or the medical profession.

A similar attempt was made a decade later by Myron Sterns, who, writing for Redbook in November, 1945, under the title "Do You Know Your Emotional Cycles?" tried to stir up some attention for the science. A month later, Reader's Digest picked up the Redbook article. Stearns quoted Hersey as having said: "Few people paid any attention to my book, except some far-sighted officials of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, who supported my work from the beginning." Hersey was also quoted as remarking that "everybody knows we have ups and downs, but we don't know what causes them."


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