Some Famous Experiments in Psychology

The human mind is a strange thing - it is not easy to understand. The most surprising thing is that it is often not understood by "common sense". For example, if someone is asked if a man is standing on the roof of a seven-story building to commit suicide, what will another man do if he sees him? 

It is almost certain that the man will try to stop the man standing on the roof of the seven-story house from committing suicide. In 1981, some psychologists researched it and discovered a very strange thing. They found that if more than 100 people gathered to see the person who wanted to commit suicide and if the time was towards evening then the collective people would not try to stop the suicide. 

On the contrary, everyone will continue to encourage the man to jump from the roof. I know it doesn't sound very believable but psychologists have found this by analyzing many such cases. Individuals behave in one way, when many people are together suddenly their individual characters change to reveal a completely different character of the collective people.

A number of fascinating experiments in psychology have been conducted to understand the human mind. One such experiment by Solomon Esch in 1956 is now well known. The test is very simple, a straight line is drawn on one paper, three straight lines are drawn on another paper, one of which is equal to the line drawn on the first paper. 

If any person is asked, he can easily tell which of the three lines is equal to the first line. Solomon Ash did a funny thing this time, he let a small group of eight people do this task, they have to find the correct length of lines from the three lines. There was one characteristic among this group of eight, all seven were Solomon Esh's own people, one was pure and he did not even suspect that the others were involved in this scientific “conspiracy. 

As instructed by Solomon Esh, all seven men deliberately identified a fault line, interestingly it turned out that the real man was stepping into the conspiracy and identifying the fault line himself. He knows very well which will be the correct answer but after listening to the answers of the other seven, he starts to think that the wrong answer is the correct answer! In scientific circles it's known as the conformity test - but we've known it for a long time. We also have an idiom about this in Bengali language, we call it, “Dashchakrare Bhagwan Bhoot!”

The most famous experiment in the world of psychology is Stanley Milgram's experiment. Presumably these days such tests would not be considered legal and no one would be allowed to do so. But in the sixties (1963). Psychologist Stanley Milgram had no problem doing this. This famous experiment was conducted as follows: An advertisement was placed in the newspaper to conduct an experiment on students and teachers requiring volunteers. 

Seeing that advertisement, many people came to take part in the exam. Psychologists first explained it to them. Two volunteers are required to conduct the test, one will be a teacher and the other will be a student. Starting with two volunteers and assigned by lottery one to be the teacher and the other to be the student, the student was first asked to memorize several pairs of words and was told to say the second word when the first word of the pair was spoken to him. 

If he cannot say it correctly he will be punished with electric shock. The purpose of the experiment is to test whether he can be taught faster by electric shock. An electric shock device is also developed separately – it starts at 45 and goes up to 450 volts in 15 volt increments. A 45 volt electric shock is almost unfathomable, but if it escalates to 450 volts, it's terrifying – literally killing!

The psychologists seriously told the volunteer teacher to give him an electric shock every time he made a mistake. Not only that, the level of electric shock should be increased to 15 volts after each mistake. This is not the end, psychologists said, after starting the experiment, no one can get up without finishing it. Both student and teacher agreed. The student was tied to a chair in a room. Electric wires were attached to his body to give electric shocks.

The teacher was then placed in another room with the electric shock machine, taught how the machine worked, and given a small shock of 45 volts to give him a feel for what it felt like to be shocked. The psychologists then instructed the teacher and the student to complete the entire experiment, reminding them that once the experiment was started, the entire experiment had to be completed.

The test started. The teacher's volunteer says one word at a time and the student's volunteer says its paired word. If the answer is correct then good but whenever the answer is wrong then the voltage level is increased by giving an electric shock to the student. 

At first the task was easy but when the student started making mistakes after a while the voltage level started to increase and the student screamed in agony due to electric shock. Absolutely inhumane – The volunteer teacher wanted to stop this horrendously inhumane experiment but the psychologists refused. The volunteer teacher continued the experiment until the very end, at the end of which the voltage rose so high that the poor “student” passed out from the electric shock, but he was still not released.

This was the famous experiment of the famous Stanley Milgram and those who are reading it must be thinking how could a scientist do such an inhumane experiment? The experiment would have been a horribly inhumane one if the whole thing had actually been a staged drama. This whole experiment is rigged, in fact the shock device doesn't deliver an electric shock at all, the student was never shocked, he pretended to receive an electric shock and screamed loudly. The volunteer in charge of the teacher could never have guessed that he was selected as a teacher by lottery which was also arranged. The main test is not at all about student-teacher and learning. 

The main test was to see how well a man in the guise of a scientist gave an order to a common man and how well they obeyed that order. Whether or not they agree to the order to inflict brutal pain on another person. Stanley Milgram showed that ordinary people do not have the courage or determination to disobey an unjust order. The reason why ordinary soldiers can casually shoot and kill ordinary people in war is actually hidden in it. Knowing this fact makes it possible to teach ordinary soldiers to accept the orders of their superior officers without question.

Stanley Milgram's experiment was a type of stress test. It looked like some people were suffering physical pain but actually it was acting. But now the test to be talked about was known as an act but the pain it caused was completely real. This experiment was conducted by Philip Zimbardo in 1973. First, 24 undergraduate students at Stanford University were selected for payment. 

All those selected are physically and mentally healthy. and strong. Then by lottery, half of them were made guards and the other half were prisoners. Guards were given guard clothes, prisoners were given prison clothes and leg chains. A basement under Stanford University's psychology department was turned into a prison, and guards were assigned to guard the inmates. They have to stay as prisoners and guards for two weeks. And psychologists will examine them. The younger undergraduates happily agreed.

The experiment had to be stopped after only six days because the boys playing the role of guards became cruel, the boys playing the role of prisoners became helpless. Those cruel boys started abusing, humiliating, exposing and torturing the helpless prisoners in such a terrible way that the prisoners were completely mentally broken.

The whole thing was a bit of an act but it turned out to be real. The guys who got the role of Garve started to think they were really cruel guards. The boys who were given the role of prisoners began to feel that they were really helpless prisoners, they did not have the courage to protest.

Thirty years after this experiment in the laboratory, people all over the world learned about the incident at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, where American female and male guards carried out inhumane torture on Iraqi prisoners. In psychology textbooks, the Abu Ghraib prison incident is now considered the true form of Philip Zimbardo's response-evoking experiment.

The experiment that will be discussed is not actually an experiment of psychologists but a widely discussed phenomenon, which gives a glimpse into a special aspect of the human psyche. The incident was done by Joshua Bell, one of the world's greatest violinists. On April 7, 2007, dressed in ragged clothes and carrying a violin, he stood at the gates of a Washington, D.C. subway station. 

Leaving the violin case open in front of him, he began to play the violin, as the poor beggars of that country used to beg. The violin he was playing was a very valuable violin and people from all over the world paid thousands of dollars to attend his concerts to hear the tunes he was playing on the violin.

But the funny thing is that for about forty-five minutes he stood there playing the violin, nobody even looked at him. What you get in alms is like not getting it. No one recognized him and thousands rushed busily to catch or alight from the train, no one stopping to listen to his violin.

Only the children stopped – they stood mesmerized to listen to the beautiful violin. The mothers did not let them hear it, they did not have time to listen to the violin of a beggar in tattered clothes at the station, the mothers dragged their children away.

Even after that, do we neglect the judgment of children?

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