TOP 5 of psychological experiments that showed the worst side of humanity - VIDEO PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 15 March 2015 18:00

We are accustomed to consider themselves intelligent, independent people who are not inclined to inexplicable cruelty or indifference. In fact this is not true - in certain circumstances, homo sapiens is surprisingly easy to part with their "humanity".

Asch conformity experiments (1951)

The study was aimed at studying the conformity in groups. Student volunteers invited ostensibly on a vision test. The subject was in the group with seven actors, whose results are not taken into account when summing up. Young people showed a card on which was depicted a vertical line. Then they were shown another card, where it was shown for three lines - the participants were asked to identify which of them corresponds to the size of the line with the first card. Opinions of the test asked at the last turn.
A similar procedure was carried out 18 times. In the first two passes podgovorennye participants called the right answers, that was easy, because the lines match all the cards have been obvious. But then they began to stick unanimously wrong option. Sometimes one or two actors in the group pointed out 12 times to choose the right options. But despite this, the subjects experienced extreme discomfort from the fact that their opinions do not coincide with the majority opinion.

As a result, 75% of students at least once were not willing to speak out against the majority opinion - they point to the wrong option, despite the obvious visual mismatch lines. 37% of all responses proved to be false, and only one subject in the control group of thirty-five people made one mistake. Moreover, if members of the group disagreed or where independent test group was two, the likelihood of error was reduced four times.

What does that say about us?

People are highly dependent on the opinions of a group in which there are. Even if it is contrary to common sense or our beliefs, it does not mean that we can resist him. As long as there is at least a ghostly threat of condemnation from others, we can be much easier to drown out your inner voice than to defend its position.

Experiment with the Good Samaritan (1973)

The Parable of the Good Samaritan tells about how a traveler on the road helped free the wounded and robbed a man passed by all the others. Psychologists Denieel Bastogne and John Darley decided to check how much these moral imperatives affect human behavior in a stressful situation.

One group of seminary students told the parable of the good Samaritan and then asked to read a sermon about what they heard in another building campus. The second group was asked to prepare a speech about the different possibilities for the device to work. In this case, some of the subjects were asked to hurry especially towards the audience. On the way from one building to another, students met on an empty alley lying on the ground a man who looked as if he needed help.

It was found that students who prepared the way of talking about the good Samaritan, to respond to such emergency situations as well as the second group of subjects - their decisions affect only a limited time. Only 10% of seminarians, who were asked to come to the classroom as soon as possible, the stranger had help - even if not long before they heard a lecture about how important it is to help your neighbor in a difficult situation.

What does that say about us?

We can with surprising ease to abandon religion or any other ethical imperatives when it is profitable to us. People tend to justify their indifference words "it does not concern me," "I still can not help anything," or "here will cope without me." Most often this occurs not during disasters or crisis situations, and in the course of everyday life.

Experiment indifferent witness (1968)

In 1964, the criminal attack on the woman, who repeated twice within an hour, ended with her death on the way to hospital. Witnesses of a crime has been more than a dozen people (his sensational publication, Time magazine mistakenly pointed to 38 people), and yet no one bothered to treat accident with due care. For explanation of these events, John Darley and Bib Lateyn decided to hold its own psychological experiment.

They invited volunteers to participate in the discussion. Hoping that will be discussed are extremely sensitive issues, consent of the participants were asked to communicate remotely - via communication devices. During a call, one of the interlocutors feigned an epileptic seizure, which could be clearly recognized by the sounds of the speakers. When the conversation took place one by one, 85% of subjects vividly reacted to the incident and tried to render assistance to the victim. But in a situation where the experiment participants believed that apart from him in conversation involved another 4 persons, only 31% were force to attempt to influence the situation. All the others believed that it should deal with someone else.

What does that say about us?

If you think that a large number of people around ensures your safety - it is not so. The crowd can be indifferent to the suffering of others, especially when in a difficult situation get people from marginalized groups. While there are a number someone else, we are happy to pass on the responsibility for what happens.

Stanford prison experiment (1971)

Navy US wanted to better understand the nature of conflict in its prisons, so the agency has agreed to pay an experiment behavioral psychologist Philip Zimbardo. Scientific equipped basement of Stanford University as a prison and invited male volunteers to those examples on the role of guards and prisoners - all of them were college students.

Participants were required to pass a test on health and mental stability, followed by the drawing of lots were divided into two groups of 12 people - overseers and prisoners. The guards wore uniforms of the military stores that copy this form prison guards. Also, they were given wooden batons and mirrored Sunglasses, which have not been seen eye. Prisoners given uncomfortable clothes without underwear and rubber flip-flops. They were called only by numbers which were sewn to form. Also, they could not be removed from the ankles small chains that were supposed to constantly remind them of their detention. At the beginning of the experiment the prisoners released. From there they were allegedly arrested by the state police, which facilitated the experiment. They passed the procedure of fingerprinting, photographing and reading of rights. After which they were stripped naked, examined and assigned a number.

Unlike the prisoners, the guards worked in shifts, but many of them during the experiment gladly go to work overtime. All subjects received a $ 15 per day ($ 85 dollars c inflation when converted to 2012). Zimbardo himself acted as the chief executive officer of the prison. The experiment was to last 4 weeks. Before the guards posed one and only task - to run the prison, which they can spend however they want it, but without the use of force against prisoners.

On the second day the prisoners staged a riot, during which they barricaded the entrance to the chamber by means of bed and teased guards. Those responded with fire extinguishers to calm unrest. Soon they were forced to sleep naked in their wards on the bare concrete, and the ability to use the shower was for prisoners of privilege. In prison, began to spread a terrible unsanitary - prisoners denied going to the toilet outside the chamber, and the buckets they used to relieve needs, forbidden to remove as punishment.

Sadistic guard showed one in three - over prisoners abused, some were forced to wash drain the barrel with his bare hands. Two of them were so mentally traumatized that they had to be excluded from the experiment. One of the new members, replacing the retired, was so shocked by what he saw that soon declared a hunger strike. In retaliation, he was placed in a tight closet - solitary confinement. Another prisoner was given a choice: give up the blankets or leave a troublemaker in solitary all night. Its comfort agreed to donate only one person. The work of prison followed by about 50 observers, but only girl Zimbardo, who came to spend a few interviews with the participants of the experiment, outraged happening. The prison was closed in Stamford six days later after people started there. Many guards displayed a regret that experiment ended prematurely.

What does that say about us?

People very quickly take them imposed social roles and so keen on his own authority, that the line of what is permitted in relation to other rapidly cleared from them quickly. Stanford experiment, participants were not sadists, they were the most ordinary people. Like perhaps many Nazi soldiers or overseers-torturers in Abu Ghraib prison. Higher education and a strong mental health did not prevent subjects to use violence to the people over whom they have authority.

Milgram experiment (1961)

During the Nuremberg Trials, many convicted Nazis justified their actions by saying that they were just doing someone else's orders. Military discipline did not allow them to disobey, even if they indicate they did not like. Interested in these circumstances Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram decided to see how far people can go in harm to others, if it is part of their official duties.

Experiment participants gathered for a small fee among the volunteers, none of which is not a concern for the experimentalists. In the beginning, between the test and specially trained actor allegedly were played the role of "student" and "teacher", and the subject always got the second part. After that aktera- "student" demonstratively tied to a chair with electrodes, and "teachers" were given a familiarization discharge current 45, and recovered in another room. There he was seated behind the generator, which were located 30 switches from 15 to 450 in increments of 15 V. Under the control of the experimenter - a man in a white coat, which was all the time in the room - "teacher" had to check memorizing a "disciple" of the set pairs of associations that were read to him in advance. For every mistake he received a sentence of discharge current. With each new error discharge increased. Groups switches were signed. The final signature saying: "Danger: portable hard blow." The last two switches were outside groups were graphically isolated and labeled with a marker «XXX». "Apprentice" answered with four buttons, his response is indicated on the light board in front of the teacher. "Teachers" and shared his ward blank wall.

If the "teacher" hesitated when sentencing, the experimenter whose persistence increases with doubt, with the help of specially harvested phrases urged him to continue. In this case, it is by no means could not threaten the "teacher". Upon reaching the 300 volts from the room "disciples" were heard clearly hitting the wall, then "disciple" stopped to answer questions. Silent for 10 seconds, the experimenter interpreted as a wrong answer, and he asked to increase the power stroke. The following discharge in 315 volts even more insistent repeated blows, after which the "student" stops responding to questions. A little later, in another embodiment, the experiment room was not as much soundproofed and "disciple" warned in advance that he has heart problems and twice - to the rank of 150 and 300 volts complained of feeling unwell. In the latter case, he refused to continue to participate in the experiment and began to scream loudly from behind the wall when he appointed new attacks. After 350, he stopped to show signs of life, continuing to receive discharge current. The experiment was considered complete when the "teacher" three times applied the maximum possible punishment.

65% of the subjects reached the last switch and did not stop until they were asked about this the experimenter. Only 12.5% ​​refused to continue as soon as the victim first knocked on the wall - all the others have continued to press the button even after because of the wall ceased to enter answers. Later, this experiment was carried out many times - in other countries and circumstances, with or without remuneration, with men's and women's groups - if the underlying basic conditions remain unchanged, at least 60% of the subjects came to the end of the scale - in spite of their own stress and discomfort.

What does that say about us?

Even being strongly suppressed, contrary to all the experts, the vast majority of subjects were willing to spend over a stranger lethal electric shocks only due to the fact that a number of people was in a white robe, who told them to do it. Most people are surprisingly easy to go on about the authorities, even if it entails a devastating or tragic consequences.

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