This place matters

This place matters

Friday, September 12, 2014

Who's got the button

Recently I read an article about the famous 1961 Milgram experiment. Seems a sick bastard called Stanley Milgram designed an experiment wherein people were ordered to deliver increasingly powerful electric shocks to some poor schlub they could hear but couldn't see. The study was to see if ordinary people would deliver what they believed to be lethal doses of electricity because someone in a white coat told them to.
Over half of them did. 
The study has been repeated with slightly different parameters by scientists and news outlets repeatedly and yielded similar results.
This, obviously, has deeply disturbing implications. Perhaps most dire among them is that there are still people who believe that a scientist will give you access to a murder button. 
Explains why this guy still has a job

Okay you freaking kill joy, it's not really a murder button. Apparently, scientific ethics prohibit modern researchers from making the test subjects think they're murdering someone. Now they're only 150 imaginary volts while the test subject pleads for mercy, rather than 450. So they're only being fooled into believing that scientists have given them a torture button. 

(Public service announcement: scientists will practically never give you a real torture button, meaning if someone in a white coat is trying to tell you otherwise, they're really only doing an experiment to find out how horrible a person you are. Or else they're not a real scientist, but a maniac in a lab coat and you actually are, in fact, torturing somebody).

No comments: