Fear and loathing in the history of mankind

Why, speaking about the potential risks of products or substances in the sense of the emergence of deadly diseases, scientists have always noted that the study cannot be considered 100% true? The answer is simple: because ethical guidelines prohibit conduct similar experiments on humans, so that harmful exposures are mainly laboratory mouse.

However, with the ethical side of science has not always been good. A perfect illustration of the terrible experiments on the human psyche, which led to such consequences, which obviously didn’t expect the scientists themselves.

The Milgram Experiment

Fear and loathing in the history of mankind

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The Milgram experiment continued to shock the researchers and the General public since it was originally implemented, as long as it is “lightweight” options began to repeat under the new research and even talk shows.

Held for the first time a psychologist at Yale University (Yale University) Stanley Milgram (Stanley Milgram) in 1963, he was motivated by the behavior of respectable German citizens, who in the years of Nazism participated in the destruction of millions of innocent people in concentration camps. Or rather, a statement of the Gestapo officer Adolf Eichmann (Adolf Eichmann Otto), responsible for the mass destruction of the Jews, who said in court that he “just followed orders”.

Really people can do such terrible things when they get unlimited power? This question and forced to run Milgram’s series of experiments. The essence of each of them was the fact that one participant (“apprentice”) was to memorize word pairs from the list until then, until you remember each pair, and the other partner (“teacher”) was obliged to check him, punishing for the mistake increasingly strong discharge current. The role of “student” and “teacher” were distributed by lot.

The teachers, of course, it was known that the incorrect answer to each question will cause the “pupil” any more pain. And because two members were in the next room, the “teacher” could hear the screams of his “student”. In fact, no shocks were delivered, and the man in the next room was an actor. But Milgram wanted to know how far down to go, if he can afford to do it.

The results were shocking: if initially it was assumed that only 0.1% of the “teachers” will reach the peak point of discharge, is able to hurt the learner, in the end, about 2/3 of the “teachers” continued to press the button, even when the “learner”, it seemed, was on the verge.

The Experiment “Little Albert”

Fear and loathing in the history of mankind

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Don’t be fooled by the charming name, because there is nothing charming in this experiment no. After the successful experiments of the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov, demonstrating the formation of conditioned reflexes in dogs, in 1920, Professor John Watson (John Watson) from the Johns Hopkins University (Johns Hopkins University) and his graduate student Rosalie Rayner (Rosalie Rayner) wanted to see if emotional reactions can be conditioned in humans.

Participant in the experiment was a 9-month-old baby, named “albert B”, the reaction which was checked, showing him a white rat, a rabbit, a monkey, and masks. Initially, the boy didn’t feel fear before any one objects that he was shown.

Then all these things were shown to albert again, the only difference is that before the boy’s eyes appeared a rat, Watson banged a stick on a metal tube. And this knock, which is logical, frightened child, so he started to cry. Any further re-demonstration of a white rat, even if it was not accompanied by strikes, causing the boy to panic and obvious negative reaction for the presence of the object.

By the way, only in 2010 the American psychological Association (APA) managed to establish the identity of “albert B.” They found Douglas Merritt (Douglas Merritte), the son of a local nurse who was paid only 1 dollar for the participation of her child in the study.

The Stanford prison experiment

Fear and loathing in the history of mankind

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Another truly frightening experiment that legendary so that is reflected in popular culture. He was unpredictable, unsettling and infamous. So notorious that at the site of the experiment was a memorial plaque.

Conducted in 1971 at Stanford University (Stanford University) American psychologist Philip Zimbardo (Philip Zimbardo) on behalf of the Navy of the United States, the experiment was to establish what has caused constant friction between the guards and the inmates in its prisons. Simply put, a group of researchers had to figure out how a normal person reacts to restriction of liberty and prison conditions and how strong the influence on people has imposed social role.

Organizing a “temporary prison” in a basement at Stanford, was sent to a group of physically strong and psychologically stable students, which were divided into “prisoners” and “guards”. The researchers were out of sight of the volunteers, noting that participants should behave as if this is the real prison. But it is unlikely that if scientists could imagine what happens next.

After a relatively quiet first day on the second day a riot broke out “prisoners.” The guards voluntarily went to overtime to quell the rebellion using fire extinguishers. Later, the guards divided the prisoners into two corps — good and bad — and to pit them against each other, appealing to the fact that in their ranks are informants.

Within a few days of sadistic authoritarianism “security guards” only strengthened, and “prisoners” began to fall from the experiment. The first student left after 36 hours, suffering, as noted, from “acute emotional disturbances, disorganized thinking, uncontrollable screaming and rage.” Soon and a few other prisoners showed symptoms of extreme psychological stress, so the experiment was terminated after six days — a week earlier than planned.

Again, the findings of the study were alarming: even good people can do terrible things when they are given unlimited power.

Monstrous experiment

Fear and loathing in the history of mankind

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The case when the name speaks for itself. In the late 1930-ies researcher in the field of speech pathology from the University of Iowa (University of Iowa) Wendell Johnson (Wendell Johnson) came to the conclusion that he is likely to stutter because one day the teacher told him that he stuttered. Prophecy or influence of value judgments? Assuming that the blame for just a second, Johnson decided to check it out with the help of his graduate students, Mary Taylor (Mary Taylor), who led the study.

For the experiment were selected 22 children from the orphanage, which was perfect because of the lack of authority figures in life. Children were divided into two groups: the first are constantly told that their speech is beautiful, and that reading ability is awesome, second they have obvious problems with speech and stuttering is unlikely to succeed to avoid.

In the end, the self-esteem of the children from the second group dropped significantly, additionally, they have developed a strong uncertainty in the speech and even signs of stuttering. Despite the fact that at the end of the experiment, the stuttering is gone, most of the orphans remained withdrawn and uncommunicative.

Of course, every case is different, but Wendell Johnson was definitely wrong. Feedback of this kind may exacerbate stuttering, which has already begun, experts say, but can’t run it. According to the NHS, the roots of this correlation should be sought in neurological problems and developmental issues with the child.