Thursday, May 14, 2020

850: Shocking.......

In the previous lecture we learnt about the Stanford Prison Experiment, which actually wasn't a valid scientific experiment.
Others have tried to replicate the experiment, but no attempt got the same results as the SPE.
When asked in 2018 by a journalist about the serious manipulations during the "experiment", Zimbardo answered:
-QUOTE- People can say what they want. It is the most famous study in the history of psychology. There is no study that people still talk about fifty years later.
Ordinary people know about it [...] It now has a life of its own [...] I'm not going to defend it anymore. Longevity itself is the defense. -END QUOTE_
He was mistaken there. There is one experiment which is probably even more famous and really disturbing than the Stanford one.
It is Sunday june 18, 1961. There appeared an ad in the New Haven Register, which said: "We pay you four dollars for one hour of your time."
Everybody was invited to participate in an experiment regarding human memory, construction workers, barbers, business people, anybody.
Hundreds of people showed up. They had to draw lots. This decided whether you became the teacher or the student.
The "teacher" was placed in a chair in front of a large device: the shock machine. 
He had to test the memory of the "student", who was tied up in another room. For each wrong answer, the "teacher" had to deliver an electro-shock to the "student" at the touch of a button. 
In reality, the "student" was an employee of Professor Stanley Milgram and the electro-shocks were fake. But the "teacher" did not know . In fact, the "teacher" himself was the test person.
Stanley Milgram, 28 years old, was a professor of social psychology at the Yale University.
In the early 1960s he ran a series of controversial experiments at Yale University. He wanted to understand the Holocaust. 
How did it happen? How could people have let it happen? Are we programmed to follow orders? And if we are, how might we change that?
The "teacher" had to punish the "student" by these electro-shocks, increasing the force with steps of 15 volt, the more errors the "student" made.
The "teacher" could hear the "student" scream. If the "teacher" hesitated to administer or increase the electro-shock, 
then there was a man in a grey dust coat, who instructed the "teacher" to continue with the experiment.
MIlgram had asked about forty colleagues what they thought about how far the testpersons would go.
The experts were unanimous in their judgement: at most 1 to 2 percent, the real psychopaths, would go up to 450 volts, which would be lethal.
This wasn't an experiment on memory. It was an experiment regarding obedience. How far would the testperson go 
in obeying the instructions of the man in the grey dust coat, while the testperson  heard his "student" scream louder and louder with every stronger electro-shock.
Then came the greatest shock: 65% percent of the testpersons went to extremes, that is 450 volt.
That means that two-thirds of these decent fathers, friends, craftsmen and so on were willing to electrocute total strangers.
But WHY......? Because the man in the grey dust coat had asked, ordered them to do so.
Is it really true that when pushed somewhat we are as obedient as dogs or is there another possible explanation for this kind of obedient behavior?
We'll see......thank you for your attention again....

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Rutger Bregman, "De meeste mensen deugen",, 2019

The Discussion

[13:17] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman
[13:17] herman Bergson: But remember....our thesis still is that most people are OK
[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): or they don't have understanding of dangerous voltages
[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (flies at Herman with 400V 3 phase cable) BBZZZZZT!
[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): MAHAHAHA
[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): no I would not do that!
[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:18] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what if they didn't obey? did they get the chock themselves?
[13:18] herman Bergson: Indeed Bejiita....does everybody understand VOLT and it s effect?
[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but there was no real electric shocks?
[13:18] herman Bergson: No...they were free to disobey and quit
[13:18] herman Bergson: No....the shocks were fake....
[13:19] herman Bergson: the screaming was just acting...
[13:19] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): did they know that?
[13:19] CB Axel: They obviously weren't educated enough to know that that kind of experiment, one that dangerous to the subject, would ever be allowed.
[13:19] herman Bergson: No no...the teachers believed that it was real Beertje
[[13:19] iמʞαʞů (inkaku.capalini): i think most people will only "obey" when they want to, so its possible it was morbid curiousity or another link to the effects of having control.
[13:19] herman Bergson: Also a good point CB....
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats a lucky thing, but still, well at limited current I guess 400 V would not kill u but till hurt, maybe they assumed the machine was controlled in that way not to deliver high current at that voltage
[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but still,
[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and yes I have heard of this test before
[13:20] CB Axel: They should have walked out and reported the man in the grey dust coat to the dean of the school.
[13:20] Jack Lust (jacklust): I also think it has to do with being anonymous.  Even though they could hear the screams, if they could be identified by the person they are shocking, would they still do it?
[13:20] CB Axel: Good point, Jack.
[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I could not do a thing like this by any means
[13:20] herman Bergson: Indeed Jack.....
[13:21] herman Bergson: Ind indeed you won't get such an experiment through the ethics committee
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but also I work all day with industrial machinery using these voltages and I know NOT to touch bare wires (and make sure everything is secured before energizing a machine)
[13:22] herman Bergson: nevertheless.....although you can put a lot of questionmarks.....why did /do people obey....
[13:22] Jack Lust (jacklust): no consequences for their actions?
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed can u force some into anything? good question
[13:22] Jack Lust (jacklust): or even a reward for doing it
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa indeed
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats a problem then
[13:22] herman Bergson: No  legal consequences, Jack....
[13:23] herman Bergson: but a number of people had emotional consequences to suffer
[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): they wanted to be good by listening to the man
[13:23] herman Bergson: You hit the mark Beeertje!
[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yay:)
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): if someone told me to put line voltage into a stranger I would consider him an asshole and potential murderer
[13:23] CB Axel: :)
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and leave and call police
[13:23] Jack Lust (jacklust): but they have to know inflicting pain is worse than disobeying?
[13:24] Jack Lust (jacklust): except those 1 or 2%, of course
[13:24] CONNIE Eichel whispers: bad luck.. got to work, after all... see you guys
[13:24] herman Bergson: was a scientific are helping science here.....
[13:24] CB Axel: I'm glad I question authority and like causing trouble. LOL
[13:25] herman Bergson: I'll discuss it in the next lecture, but Beertje gave it already away....:-)
[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): oops sorry
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but I want to know the equipment is safe then and I don't want to torture anyone eve if only pain inducing (an yes I have played these shock games that give u a shock of actually some 1000V) but as said current limited and it did not hurt that much
[13:26] herman Bergson: But what did you mean by "wanted to be good", Beertje?
[13:26] CB Axel: I guess it's harder to disobey someone in the same room that to not hurt a faceless person in another room.
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its basically an electrostatic discharge , grill lighter circuit in these
[13:26] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes cb
[13:27] herman Bergson: Not seeing the "student" is a point indeed
[13:27] herman Bergson: what did you mean by "wanted to be good", Beertje?
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): they wanted to help the experiment
[13:27] herman Bergson: Right...
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): so they listened
[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): not thinking for themselves I guess
[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): not causing trouble
[13:28] herman Bergson: That appears to be the most plausible explanation of this behavior
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): might be
[13:28] herman Bergson: Besides....another spoiler.....
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they might have thought  that it was controlled and safe in some way also
[13:29] Jack Lust (jacklust): but the screams would have given that away, I would think
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): true
[13:29] herman Bergson: in the archives they found the info that 56% of the "teachers" dindn't take the electro-shocks serious
[13:29] Jack Lust (jacklust): if they couldn't see or hear anything, it might even be worse
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they saw through the fake?
[13:30] herman Bergson: Yes Bejiita
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): then maybe they just played along as a fun thing I reality
[13:30] CB Axel nods
[13:30] herman Bergson: indeed ^_^
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I hope that was the case
[13:31] Jack Lust (jacklust): I was assuming the screams were convincing
[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): every time the same yelling?....that could be the reason that they didn't take it serious
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well many horror movie actors can scream convincing
[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): they could hear it was fake
[13:31] herman Bergson: No no was well acted....
[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): ok
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well I can somewhat too
[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): let's hear Bejiita:)
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): just because I wanted to learn it , thats why
[13:32] herman Bergson: Stanley had a thousand  testpersons....
[13:32] CB Axel: Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): if I could scream in here, however my neighbours may thing I get murdered (or stuck in the wall outlet) lol
[13:32] herman Bergson: one questionable aspect is that he didn't debrief a 600 ....telling them it all had been fake....
[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): how many took it serious?
[13:33] herman Bergson: 44%
[13:33] herman Bergson: So there was definitely emotional damage too some people, who worried about what they had done
[13:34] Jack Lust (jacklust): that would make sense, inflicting pain on someone can't be easy
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): true
[13:34] herman Bergson: Next lecture we'll discuss how scientific this all was and what we have learned from it
[13:34] CB Axel: So some did take it seriously and still did it.
[13:34] CB Axel: At least they felt guilty afterward.
[13:34] herman Bergson: Yes....
[13:35] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thank you herman and class:-) ......... i am still horrified at the 65%!
[13:35] herman Bergson: one person told that he had checked the obituary ads in the New HAven Register for weeks to see if someone......etc
[13:35] bergfrau Apfelbaum: looks around
[13:35] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[13:35] bergfrau Apfelbaum: lol
[[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): scary experiment
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:36] Guestboook van tipjar stand: JackLust Resident donated L$200. Thank you very much, it is much appreciated!
[13:36] herman Bergson: lol...I I understand.....I said NEXT ELCTURE....:-)
[13:36] CB Axel: See you all Thursday then.
[13:36] CB Axel: Bye. :)
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu ext time
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): bye for now
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:37] herman Bergson: But ok...I guess the matter is clear now
[13:37] CB Axel: Oh, wait. Is class dismissed?
[13:37] herman Bergson: So ...see you on Tuesday again
[13:37] herman Bergson: Class dismissed....^_^
[13:37] bergfrau Apfelbaum: we are good:-)
[13:37] CB Axel: No class on Thursday?
[13:38] herman Bergson: oops...See you on Thursday CB !
[13:38] herman Bergson: My mistake.....
[13:38] CB Axel: OK. See you Thursday. Bye bye.
[13:38] herman Bergson: sorry

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