Friday, January 23, 2009

5 Psychological Experiments That Expose Humanity's Dark Side

For complete article and more please click on the link above:
Originally from Cracked.com
By Alexandra Gedrose


Psychologists know you have to be careful when you go poking around the human mind because you're never sure what you'll find there. A number of psychological experiments over the years have yielded terrifying conclusions about the subjects.Oh, we're not talking about the occasional psychopath who turns up. No, we're talking about you. The experiments speak for themselves:

#5. The Asch Conformity Experiment (1953)
The Setup: Solomon Asch wanted to run a series of studies that would document the power of conformity, for the purpose of depressing everyone who would ever read the results……We all tend to laugh with the group even when we didn't get the joke, or doubt our opinion we realize ours is unpopular among our group. So much for those lectures you got in elementary school about peer pressure and "being brave enough to be yourself."

#4. The Good Samaritan Experiment (1973)
The Setup: The Biblical story of the Good Samaritan, if you hadn't heard, is about a passing Samaritan helping an injured man in need, while other, self-righteous types walk right on by. Psychologists John Darley and C. Daniel Batson wanted to test if religion has any effect on helpful behavior.
The Result: ……In fact, if pressed for time, only 10 percent would stop to give any aid, even when they were on their way to give a sermon about how awesome it is for people to stop and give aid. ..

#3. Bystander Apathy Experiment (1968)
The Setup: When a woman was murdered in 1964, newspapers printed that 38 people had heard and seen the attack, but did nothing. John Darley and Bibb Latane wanted to know if the fact that these people were in a large group played any role in the reluctance to come to aid.

The Result: When subjects believed that they were the only other person in the discussion, 85 percent were heroic enough to leave the room and seek help once the other began the fake seizure. …So that's good, right?
When the experiment was altered so that subjects believed four other people were in the discussion, only 31 percent went to look for help once the seizure began…The more, the higher probability that you will die if you have a seizure."
What This Says About You: … The problem is everybody else only feels 10 percent responsible too.

#2. The Stanford Prison Experiment (1971)
The Setup:
Psychologist Philip Zimbardo wanted to find out how captivity affects authorities and inmates in prison. Sounds innocent enough. Seriously, what could go wrong?
The Result: It took about one day for every subject to suddenly go as insane as a shit-house rat. …Over 50 outsiders had stopped to observe the prison, but the morality of the trial was never questioned until Zimbardo's girlfriend, Christina Maslach, strongly objected…
After only six days, Zimbardo put a halt to the experiment (several of the "guards" expressed disappointment at this).

What This Says About You:
Ever been harassed by a cop who acted like a major douchebag, pushing you around for no reason? Science says that if the roles were reversed, you'd likely act the same way.
As it turns out, it's usually fear of repercussion that keeps us from torturing our fellow human beings. Give us absolute power over somebody and a blank check from our superiors, …

#1. The Milgram Experiment (1961)

The Setup:
When the prosecution of the Nazis got underway at the Nuremberg Trials, many of the defendants' excuse seemed to revolve around the ideas of, "I'm not really a prick" and, "Hey man, I was just following orders."

Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram wanted to test willingness of subjects to obey an authority figure. Maybe he could just, you know, ask people? Oh, hell no. That would not be nearly horrifying enough.

The Result: Many subjects began to feel uncomfortable after a certain point, and questioned continuing the experiment. However, each time the guy in the lab coat encouraged them to continue. Most of them did, upping the voltage, delivering shock after shock while the victim screamed. Many subjects would laugh nervously, because laughter is the best medicine when pumping electrical currents through another person's body.

Repeated studies have shown the same result:
Subjects will mindlessly deliver pain to an innocent stranger as long as a dude in a lab coat says it's OK……Most subjects wouldn't begin to object until after 300-volt shocks… ..Zero of them asked to stop the experiment before that point (keep in mind 100 volts is enough to kill a man, in some cases).

What This Says About You: You might like to think of yourself as a free-thinking marauder, but when it comes down to it, odds are you won't stick it to The Man because of the fear The Man will stick it right back up your ass. And this was just a guy in a lab coat--imagine if he'd had a uniform, or a badge…Almost 80 percent.

Think about that when you're walking around the mall: Eight out of ten of those people you see would torture the shit out of a puppy if a dude in a lab coat asked them to.


RELATED ARTICLE: Video: The Incredible Power of Conformity


2 comments:

jason said...

why such language?

Patricia Lefave said...

Uhhh....because that is how the author of this piece talks????
why not?