TOP 5 psychological experiments that showed the worst in people - VIDEO PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 28 June 2014 05:00

We used to consider myself 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 his "humanity."

1. Asha Experiment (1951)

The study was designed to study conformity in groups. Student volunteers allegedly invited to an eyesight test. The subject was in a group with seven actors, whose results are not taken into account when summarizing. Young people were shown a card on which was displayed a vertical line. Then they showed another card, where it was shown for three lines - the participants were asked to determine which of them corresponds to the size of the line with the first card. Opinions subject asked at the last turn.

A similar procedure was carried out 18 times. In the first two passes podgovorennye participants called right answers, that was easy, because the coincidence of lines on all cards was evident. But then they began to stick unanimously obviously wrong choices. Sometimes one or two of the actors in the group pointed out 12 times to choose the right options. But despite this, the subjects experienced extreme discomfort from what their opinion did 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 pointed the wrong option, despite the obvious visual discrepancy lines. 37% of all responses were false, and only one subject in the control group of thirty-five people made ​​one mistake. Thus, if the members of the group disagreed or where independent test group were two, the likelihood of errors decreased fourfold.

What does this say about us?

People depend heavily 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 will be able to resist him. While there is at least phantom menace condemnation from others, we can be much easier to drown out your inner voice than to defend its position.
2. Experiment with Good Samaritan (1973)

Parable of the Good Samaritan tells of how a traveler on the road helped free the wounded and robbed man passed by everyone else. Psychologists Denieel Baston 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 on what they heard in another building campus. The second group was instructed to prepare a speech about the various possibilities for employment. At the same time 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 turned out that the students who prepared the way of talking about the good Samaritan, to respond to such an emergency situation as well as the second group of subjects - their decision affected only a limited time. Only 10% of seminarians who were asked to come to the classroom as soon as possible, had a stranger help - even if not long before they heard a lecture about how it is important to help your neighbor in a difficult situation.

What does this say about us?

We can with surprising ease renounce a religion or any other ethical imperatives when it is beneficial 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 is not happening during disasters or crisis situations, and in the course of everyday life.

3. Experiment indifferent witness (1968)

In 1964, felonious assault on a woman, which was repeated twice within half an hour, ended her death on the way to hospital. Witnessed the crime was more than a dozen people (his sensational publication, Time magazine mistakenly pointed to 38 people), and, nevertheless, no one bothered to take to the 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 very sensitive issues, the participants were asked consented to communicate remotely - via communication devices. During a call, one of the interlocutors feigned an epileptic seizure, which could be clearly identified by the sound of the speakers. When the conversation took place one on one, 85% of subjects vividly reacted to the incident and tried to render aid to the victim. But in a situation where a participant of the experiment believed that apart from him in conversation more involved 4 people, only 31% were forces to attempt to influence the situation. All the others felt that it should deal with someone else.

What does this 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 is someone else, we are happy we shift him responsible for what happens.

4. Stanford Prison Experiment (1971)

The Navy wanted the U.S. to better understand the nature of the conflicts in its prisons, so the agency has agreed to pay an experiment behavioral psychologist Philip Zimbardo. Scientist equipped basement of Stanford University as a prison and asked male volunteers to those tried on the roles of guards and prisoners - they were all college students.

Participants were required to pass a test on health and mental stability, then by lot were divided into two groups of 12 people - jailers and prisoners. The guards wore uniforms of the military store that replicated this form prison guards. Also they were given wooden batons and mirrored Sunglasses, for which there was no visible eyes. Prisoners are provided uncomfortable clothes without underwear and rubber slippers. They were called only by numbers which were sewn to form. Also, they could not shoot with little ankle chains that had 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 were guaranteed 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 will gladly go to work overtime. All subjects received $ 15 a day ($ 85 dollars c inflation when converted to 2012). Zimbardo himself acted as chief executive officer of the prison. The experiment was to last four weeks. Before the guards posed one single task - bypassing the prison, which they can spend as much as they want it themselves, 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 camera with a bed and teased guards. Those responded with fire extinguishers to calm unrest. Soon they were forced to sleep naked of their wards on the bare concrete, and the ability to use the shower was for prisoners privilege. In prison, began to spread terrible unsanitary - prisoners denied going to the toilet outside the chamber, and buckets they used to relieve need, DO NOT clear as punishment.

Sadistic shown every third guard - over prisoners abused, forced to wash some cisterns 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 cramped closet - solitary confinement. Other prisoners given the choice to refuse to leave blankets or troublemaker in solitary confinement for the whole 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 in the experiment, troubled scene. Stanford Prison was closed six days later after people started there. Many guards displayed a regret that the experiment ended prematurely.

What does this say about us?

People very quickly take them imposed social roles and so keen on his own authority, that the face of what is permitted in relation to other rapidly erased them quickly. Stanford experiment, participants were not sadists, they were the most ordinary people. As 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.

5. Milgram Experiment (1961)

During the Nuremberg trials, many convicted Nazis justified their actions by saying that they were just doing other people's orders. Military discipline does 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 harming others, if it is part of their official duties.

Participants were recruited for a small fee of volunteers, none of which did not cause fear experimenters. At the very beginning between the test and specially trained actor allegedly played out the role of "student" and "teacher", and the subject always got the second part. After this actor "student" pointedly tied to a chair with electrodes, and the "teacher" please give discharge current at 45 V, 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 associations, which were read to him in advance. For every mistake he received a sentence of discharge current. With each new bit error increased. Group switches were signed. The final signature is reported as follows: "Danger: portable hard blow." Last two switches were outside groups were graphically separated and labeled marker «XXX». "Apprentice" answered with four buttons, his response was designated on the light board to the teacher. "Teachers" and his ward shared a blank wall.
If the "teacher" hesitated when sentencing, the experimenter whose persistence increased with increasing doubt with the help of specially harvested phrases urged him to continue. At the same time he was in any case could not threaten "the teacher." Upon reaching the 300 volts from the room, "student" were heard clearly hitting the wall, then "disciple" stopped answering questions. Silence for 10 seconds, the experimenter interpreted as a wrong answer, and he asked to increase the power stroke. The following discharge of 315 volts even more insistent repeated blows, after which the "student" to continue to respond to questions. Later, in another embodiment of the experiment rooms were not as badly soundproofed and "disciple" pre-warned that he had problems with the heart and twice - on discharges in 150 and 300 volts complained of feeling unwell. In the latter case, he refused to continue to participate in the experiment and started to cry out loud because of the wall, when he appointed new attacks. After 350 he stopped showing signs of life, while continuing to receive the current level. The experiment was considered complete when the "teacher" applied three times the maximum possible punishment.

65% of all subjects reach the last switch and did not stop until they were asked about this experimenter. Only 12.5% refused to continue immediately after the first victim was knocking on the wall - all the others continued to press the button even after cease to act because of the wall answers. Later, this experiment was performed many times - in other countries and circumstances, with or without remuneration, with male and female groups - if the underlying basic conditions remain unchanged, at least 60% of the subjects reached the end of the scale - despite their own stress and discomfort.

What does this say about us?

Even being strongly suppressed, contrary to all the experts, the vast majority of participants were ready to pass through the stranger fatal electric shocks only because the next person 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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