Tuesday, October 3

6 of the most controversial psychological experiments in history


Until a few decades ago, psychology was not a field in which accepted scientific methods were accepted. In the dark ages of history, the vast majority of patients with mental disorders were not seen as people in need of treatment, but as “creatures” who needed to be isolated and subjected to various tortures. However, the scientific developments of the last century have made significant progress in the field of psychology, as well as in all areas of medicine. However, psychology continued to be a field that was at the center of many scientific and ethical discussions for many years. Because it has never been so easy to understand “what is” in the dark halls of the human mind … Fortunately, psychology today still fully uses the possibilities of modern science and contributes to people living a healthy life. However, history is full of highly controversial psychological experiments that remind us from time to time that science can also have a “dark side”! Here are 6 of the most controversial psychological experiments in history.

US psychologist D. In 1971, Philip Zimbardo developed an extremely interesting psychological experiment. Zimbardo was looking for an answer to the question: “How do good people react to changing social roles in difficult psychological situations?” This is how the Stanford Prison Experiment was born…

Dr. In 1971, Zimbardo divided his sample of 24 male students into two parts: guards and prisoners. A mock prison was set up in the basement of Stanford University, with the inmates dressed in prisoner uniforms and the guards in uniform. Everything was ready for the work that would soon turn into one of the most scandalous psychological experiments in history…

Subjects on the part of the “guards” of the subject group, although commonly known as “good people”, began to abuse, physically abuse and abuse the “prisoners”! During the experiment, it was noticed that some prisoners suffered from a psychological breakdown due to both psychological and physical abuse. The experiment, which was usually planned for 2 weeks, was canceled on the 6th day, as the physical and psychological abuse of the guards against the prisoners reached an unstoppable level! The Stanford Prison Experiment is still called one of the most controversial psychological experiments in history. Many experts claim that security guards are given too much authority and responsibility, wrongly and unnecessarily. However, many experts say that the controversial experiment is of great importance for understanding “the influence of power on human behavior.”

2. Social training experiment

In 1998, social psychologist John Bargh conducted an unusual experiment. The experiment, which aimed to measure the effect of subliminal messages on human behavior, was later called the “Social Training Experiment”.

As part of the experiment, Bargh had the first of two different experimental groups introduced to words related to “old age”. Thus, it became possible to place these words in the subconscious of the test group. The people of the second group were exposed to neutral words not related to old age. The people in both groups were then asked to walk down a corridor and it was measured how long it took the people in each group to get to the end of the corridor.

The results of the experiment were quite unexpected. The subjects from the first group, who were told the words about old age, walked much more slowly than those in the second group! The experiment sparked an important debate about how much people control their behavior. In the days when the results of the experiment were published, the fact that human behavior could be manipulated in this way was of great concern to the scientific world. However, the experiment carried out by Bargh in later years proved to be “erroneous” and “biased”. Because similar studies had different results. However, debate continues today about both the concept of social training and the experiment conceived by John Bargh.

3. Milgram experiment

psychological experiment

Another of the most controversial psychological experiments in history took place in 1961, again in the United States. American social psychologist Stanley Milgram wanted to see “how far people would go by obeying an authority figure.” That’s why a controversial psychological experiment called the Milgram Experiment was carried out…

The experiment was as interesting as it was controversial! The test group was told that they were participating in a scientific study of “memory”. Accordingly, the first group of subjects answered the questions posed to them at the end of the memory test, and the second group checked the correctness of the answers. The people in the second group gave the “electric shock” to the person in front of them after each wrong answer from the people in the first group! Moreover, after each incorrect answer, the level of electric shock will increase. So those who answered the memory questions were actors hired by the scientists who were actually doing the research! In other words, those who intentionally gave incorrect answers to the questions asked did not actually suffer, but behaved as if they were suffering.

The participants, unaware of the real content of the experiment, began to shock the people in front of them in response to the incorrect answers they received. But as the experiment progressed, the research team asked the participants to increase the level of electric shock. The actors, pretending to be in great pain due to the electric shock, begged the people in front of them for mercy, saying that they were heart-sick! This is where part of the “authority” experiment came into play. Participants who wanted to stop the experiment were given the instructions “please continue”, “the experiment needs to continue”, “you absolutely must continue”, and “you have no choice, you must continue”.

65 percent of the participants continued to shock the person in front of them with up to 450 volts of electric shock. 450 – the highest level of electric shock determined in the experiment! In other words, 65 percent of the people who participated in the experiment did not see any harm in inflicting incredible pain on the person in front of them, at the direction of their superiors! The Milgram experiment is one of the most controversial psychological experiments in history, both because of its results and because of the methods used in the experiment.

4. Albert’s little experiment

psychological experiment

The Little Albert experiment, conducted by John Watson and Rosalie Rayner in 1920, is considered one of the most unethical experiments in history. Because it had a nine-month-old baby and a lot of wild animals!

In an experiment prepared by John Watson and Rosalie Rayner, rabbits named Albert were left alone with a variety of animals, including dogs and rats. Albert was not afraid of any of the animals, he even wanted to love them. But every time he touched the animals, he heard a sound that terrified him. Later, during the experiment, the baby was shown fluffy toys that looked like animals. Every time Albert saw the toys, he was horrified and started crying! The Little Albert Experiment was an important experiment that showed that “children’s fear may be conditioned rather than innate”. However, for obvious reasons, this caused great controversy.

5. Experiment with emotions on Facebook

psychological experiment

The most controversial psychological experiment in recent memory was carried out by a group of researchers at Cornell University in 2014, via Facebook. Wanting to see how social media affects people’s moods, scientists manipulated the news feeds of over 700,000 Facebook users. While some users have experienced “positive” content on their Facebook accounts, others have experienced negative content.

As a result of the experiment, it was found that users who encounter positive content post positive content more often than those who encounter negative content. Users who encountered negative content tended to post negative messages. The study, which showed that social media can effectively influence people’s moods, also caused a lot of controversy because it manipulated people’s news feeds.

6. Monster research

psychological experiment

An experiment conducted in the USA in 1939 inflicted injuries on the children participating in the experiment for life! Scientists named Wendall Johnson and Mary Tudor wanted some data on the processes and outcomes of “positive reinforcement.” Tudor, in particular, believed that stuttering could be cured with positive reinforcement. Of course, the opposite is also possible! To prove Tudor’s claim, scientists conducted an experiment known as the “Monster Study”.

Twenty-two orphans, aged 6 to 9, who had no history of speech problems, were selected for the monster study. The children were divided into two groups. The children in the first group were given feedback that they spoke perfectly and fluently, no matter how they spoke. However, the members of the second group were less fortunate than their friends from the first group. No matter what they say, they will receive negative feedback or even be punished!

Indeed, the “Experiment with the Beast” turned the lives of children from the second group into a nightmare. So much so that one of the children participating in the experiment found a solution to escape from the orphanage where the experiment was being conducted! It’s not hard to conclude that the “Monster Experiment” is one of the most controversial and even brutal experiments in history, given that it upsets the psychology of children who are under 10 years old.

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