Psychological experiments, which showed not the best side of humanity

We used to consider myself intelligent, independent people who are not inclined to inexplicable cruelty or indifference. Actually this is not true — in certain circumstances, Homo sapiens is surprisingly easy to part with their "humanity".

1. The Asch experiment (1951)the Study was designed to study conformity in groups. Student volunteers allegedly invited to a vision test. The subject was in the 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 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 in 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 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 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 the same mistake. If the members of the group disagreed or where independent test group were two, the likelihood of error was reduced four times. What does that say about us? People are highly dependent on the views of the group they are in. 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)the Parable of the good Samaritan tells of how a traveler has helped to free on the road wounded and robbed man by which passed all the rest. Psychologists denieel Baston and John Darley decided to see 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 the sermon that they heard in another building on campus. The second group was instructed to prepare a speech about the various possibilities for the device to work. While some of the subjects were asked to hurry especially on the way to the audience. On the way from one building to another, students met on an empty alley lying on the ground a man who looked like he needed help. It turned out that the students trained in the way of talking about the good Samaritan, to respond to such an emergency situation in the same way as the second group of subjects — their decision was influenced exclusively by a time limit. Only 10% of seminarians who were asked to come to the auditorium as soon as possible, had a stranger help — even if shortly 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 renounce a religion or any other ethical imperatives when it is beneficial to us. People tend to justify their indifference, "it does not concern me", "I still can't help" or "here will be fine without me." This most often occurs not during disasters or crisis situations, and in the course of everyday life. 3. Experiment indifferent witness (1968)In 1964, the criminal assault on a woman, which was repeated twice within half an hour, ended with her death on the way to the hospital. Witnesses of the crime became more than a dozen people (his sensational publication, Time magazine mistakenly pointed to 38 people), and yet, no one bothered to relate to the accident with due care. Based on these events, John Darley and Bib Latein decided to conduct your own psychological experiment.They invited volunteers to participate in the discussion. Relying on the fact that will be discussed very sensitive issues, the participants were asked consented to communicate remotely — via communication devices. During the conversation 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 responded to the incident and tried to render aid to the victim. But in a situation when a participant of the experiment believed that apart from him in conversation involved 4 other people, only 31% were forces to attempt to influence the situation. Everyone else thought that this should be dealt with by 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. Until there is someone else, we are happy to pass on the responsibility for what happens. 4. The Stanford prison experiment (1971)Navy United States wanted to better understand the nature of conflict 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 invited male volunteers to try on the role of guards and prisoners — they were all College students.The participants had 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, which was not visible to the eye. The prisoners were given uncomfortable clothes without underwear and rubber Slippers. They were called only by numbers, which were sewn to form. Also, they could not be removed from the ankles of a small chain that was 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 were in the process 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 in the experiment, gladly go to work overtime. All subjects received $15 a day ($85 dollars adjusted for inflation when converted to 2012). Zimbardo himself acted as the chief Executive of the prison. The experiment was supposed to last 4 weeks. Before the guards posed one single task-to run the prison, which they can spend however they want, 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 with a bed and teased guards. Those in reply applied to calm unrest extinguishers. Soon they were forced his players to sleep naked on the bare concrete, and the ability to use the shower was for prisoners a privilege. In prison, began to spread terrible unsanitary conditions prisoners were denied going to the toilet outside the cell, and the buckets they used to relieve need, forbade to remove as punishment.Sadistic shown every third guard over the prisoners abused, some were forced to wash 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 went on hunger strike. In retaliation, he was placed in a tight closet — solitary confinement. Other prisoners given the choice to refuse to leave blankets or troublemaker in solitary confinement for the whole night. Its comfort has agreed to donate only one person. The work of prison followed by about 50 observers, but only the girl Zimbardo, who came to spend a few interviews with the participants of the experiment, the 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 that say about us? People very quickly take them imposed social roles and so keen on his own authority, that the line in relation to other rapidly cleared from them quickly. Stanford experiment, participants were not sadists, they were 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 had power. 5. The experiment of Milgram (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 causing harm to others, if it is part of their official duties.Participants were recruited for a small fee of volunteers, none of which caused 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 the actor"student" pointedly tied to a chair with electrodes, and the "teacher" was given a trial discharge current at 45 V, and taken to another room. There he was seated behind the generator, where was located 30 switches from 15 to 450 In increments of 15 V. Under the control of the experimenter — a man in a white coat who was in the room, "teacher" had to check the memorization of a "disciple" of the set of pairs of associations, which were read to him in advance. For every mistake he has received punishment in the form of the discharge current. With each new bit error increased. The radio group was signed. The final signature is reported as follows: "danger: portable hard blow". The last two switches were outside groups were graphically separated and labeled with the marker "X X X". "Apprentice" answered with four buttons, his response was marked on the light Board in front of the teacher. "Teachers" and shared his ward a blank wall. If the "teacher" hesitated in imposing sentence, the experimenter whose persistence increased with increasing doubt, with the help of specially harvested phrases urged him to continue. However, he in any case could not threaten the "teacher". Upon reaching the 300 volts from the room, "student" was 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" continued to respond to questions. Later, in another embodiment of the experiment rooms were not also badly Soundproofed room, and the learner warned in advance that he had heart problems and twice the level in 150 and 300 volts complained of feeling unwell. In the latter case, he refused to continue his participation in the experiment and began to scream loudly from behind the wall, when he appointed new attacks. After 350 he stopped showing signs of life, 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 are asked for it by the experimenter. Only 12.5 % refused to continue immediately after the victim first knocked at the wall — all the others continued to press the button even after the wall has ceased to receive replies. Later, this experiment was conducted many times in other countries and circumstances, with or without remuneration, with male and female groups — if the underlying basic conditions remained unchanged, at least 60% of the subjects reached the end of the scale — despite their own stress and discomfort. What does that say about us? Even being severely depressed, contrary to predictions of experts, the vast majority of the subjects were ready carry through stranger a lethal electric shocks just because of the fact that there was a man 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. источник

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