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In 1947, the Office of Naval Research and the National Education Association created the National Training Laboratories Institute in Bethel, Maine. They pioneered the use of T-groups (Sensitivity or Laboratory Training) in which the learners use feedback, problem solving, and role play to gain insights into themselves, others, and groups. The goal was to change the standards, attitudes and behavior of individuals.

This type of training is controversial as the behaviors it encourages are often self-disclosure and openness, which many people believe an organization ultimately punishes. Also, a lot of the sensitivity training taking place uses excessive activities. The feedback used in this type of training can be highly personal, hence it must be given by highly trained observers (trainers).

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