Most college psychological experiments are fairly normal and they tend to come to expected conclusions. At the same time, there are other psychological experiments that are chilling with terrible consequences and truly unexpected findings. These five experiments have proven very dark things about the human mind that most people would like to deny.
Asch Conformity Test
Solomon Asch performed a conformity test in 1953 to see if a person would agree with a group even if the group was terribly wrong. He used a vision test as part of the experiment. Subjects were placed in a room with many other people. Everyone except for the subject knew about the experiment.
The people in the room were shown a basic vision test that was very easy to answer. Asch told the group to say obviously incorrect answers to see if the single subject would agree with the group.
The experiment concluded with 32 percent of participants agreeing with the group if three or more people echoed the same wrong answer. This proves that about a third of all people will blindly follow a group even if they are clearly wrong.
Stanford Prison Experiment
This is probably one of the most famous psychological experiments of all time due to its disturbing findings. Zimbardo performed this experiment in 1971 to see how people would react to captivity and authority figures. He ran an ad in the newspaper and found 24 people for his experiment. They were separated into 12 guards and 12 prisoners. Zimbardo made himself the superintendent of the experiment.
The people were then placed in a makeshift prison. Everyone was giving the right to stop the experiment whenever they wanted. It only took 24 hours for the participants to behave like actual prisoners and corrupt guards. The prisoners staged a riot within a day and guards issued humiliating punishments like sleeping naked on concrete. Even though most of the prisoners hated the experiment, no one ever said that they would leave the makeshift prison.
This experiment was stopped in six days. It proved that those with absolute authority would often bully, hurt and demean prisoners. It also proven that people that behaved as prisoners wouldn’t make it stop even though they could always stop the experiment.
The Milgram Experiment
Performed in 1961, this experiment was in response to what make Nazis said during the Nuremberg Trials. Most of the people said that they were just following orders. Milgram tested this theory by telling people to ask questions to someone over an intercom. If the person got the question wrong, then an electrical shock was to be administered. The last shock was said to be fatal.
The reality is that no one was really being shocked, but the subjects didn’t know that. About 60 percent of the people administered a fatal shock just because they were ordered to.
Bozo Doll Experiment
This experiment sought to prove that social imitation was one of the main factors that conditioned human responses. This was done by showing children different interactions with a doll that looked like Bozo the clown. Children that saw violent reactions to the doll were more likely to respond similarly.
The other two groups of children saw adults either passively playing with or ignoring the doll. Neither of these groups exhibited any aggressive behavior against the doll.
Missing Child Experiment
Many people don’t pay attention to their surroundings, and this college psychological experiment was one of the many that proved that. There was a missing child poster placed on the doors of a popular store. It clearly showed the picture of a boy.
Some people looked at the poster while others ignored it or passively glanced at it. No one noticed that the boy was standing near the front door just a few feet from the poster.
This is known as of the most unethical psychological experiments of all time. A nine-month-old was placed near a white rat. The boy was initially passive about the rat until Rosalie Rayner, the leader of the experiment, made a loud sound whenever the boy touched the rat. This led to him become afraid of the rat.
This experiment was extended to include other common animals and objects until the boy was afraid of almost everything placed near him.
Joseph Banks is currently a criminal profiler working with law enforcement. Joseph enjoys writing about many aspects of psychology which he still finds to be fascinating after many years in the field. He has also contributed to finding the best bachelors in psychology degree programs for people interested in starting a career in psychology.