The development of psychology and, more specifically, experimental psychology in the 19th and 20th centuries allowed scientists to study the biological processes in the human brain, emotions, behavior, and reactions. This information gives us an understanding of our own actions. It also makes it easier for people to sell something or to control others. Do you believe this?
If you don’t, then read about these 10 psychological experiments that we at Bright Side have collected for you. They won’t just help you to better understand the nature of society, but also will let you know more about yourself. Some of them will most likely shock you.
10. Carlsberg experiment: “Even a small child may have a knife behind their back!”
The description of the experiment: imagine a cinema hall with 148 tattoed bikers in it and just 2 free seats in the middle. You’ve bought the tickets, but would you take your seats or would you leave? The Carlsberg company made such an experiment.
The result: the kind bikers happily cheered the brave people who decided to take their seats and even gave them beer. The experiment showed that one should never judge others by appearance.
9. Conformity effect of Solomon Asch: “I would rather agree with everyone than be different.”
The description of the experiment: Solomon Asch wanted to demonstrate the power of conformity in a group. Conformity is when a person’s behavior changes under the pressure of someone’s else’s opinion, which can even be wrong. The participants of the experiment needed to estimate the length of lines on the board, find the equal one, name the color of the pyramid, or tell someone their own names. In all the experiments, all the participants but one were actors, and the real subject was always the last to give the answer.
The result: in 75% of all cases the subject followed the majority even if it was clear that the answer was wrong. Those who did express their real opinions experienced very bad discomfort. By the way, when some of the actors expressed an opposing opinion, the subjects gave right answers more often.
8. False consensus effect: “If you have a different opinion, you are wrong.”
The description of the experiment: Lee Ross, a professor of Stanford University, suggested the subjects solve a difficult situation. The subjects had to choose between two possible answers. They also needed to imagine what other subjects would answer and give a description of the people who gave the other answer.
The result: the experiment showed that the absolute majority of the subjects thought that the other people gave the same answers as they did and they described the other people in a negative way.
7. The bystander effect and the diffusion of responsibility: “I don’t know anything. Someone else will help.”
The description of the experiment: after the sensational murder of Kitty Genovese where none of the witnesses helped, scientists John Darly and Bibb Latane made a series of experiments testing reaction.
The result: it was proved that in emergencies, people react more quickly if they are alone. However, if there are many other people around, they will hesitate and think that someone else will help. The phenomenon was later researched more, and here is a very illustrative experiment: “The smoke-filled room.” People who were in the room alone and noticed smoke reported the problem much faster than those who were in the room with other people who were acting passively.
6. 8 hours without any devices: “My child is the best. They can’t think about bad things.”
The description of the experiment: a family psychologist Ekaterina Murashova formed a hypothesis that modern children entertain themselves too much and are scared of being alone. She offered children to spend 8 hours without using a phone, a computer, and a TV, but they could still draw pictures, read, sculpt, walk or do other things.
The result: only three out of 68 children from 12 to 18 years old managed to finish the experiment, and 7 could do more than 7 hours. The rest stopped the experiment saying that they were nauseated or that they had pains in the chest or a fever. And three children even thought about suicide! Parents, pay attention to this!
5. Spontaneous facial expressions and subordination: “It’s not my fault. They made me do it!”