The March 2008 issue of the journal Science & Education, guest edited by Ryan Tweney, reports replications of five historically significant psychological practices and studies that were conducted by graduate students at Bowling Green State University where Tweney is an emeritus professor of psychology.
The replications include: (a) Gertrude Stein’s study of automatic writing, (b) Egon Brunswik’s experiments showing the superiority of perception to reasoning in estimating an object’s size, (c) an 1896 study of the effects of sleep deprivation, (d) the practice of phrenology, (e) Wundt’s study of the scope of consciousness using a metronome. Continue reading Replications of Historical Psychological Studies
The BBC documentary program “Horizon” has partially replicated the landmark sensory deprivation experiments of the 1950s and 1960s. Interest in these studies has been spurred anew by recent claims that the studies were sponsored by the CIA, who were attempting to develop method of psychologically breaking down prisoners without resorting to physical torture, and that the techniques developed then are being used now in places like Abu Graib and Guantanamo Bay.
According to an article at BBC News/Magazine, six volunteers were shut inside cells in a nuclear bunker for a period of 48 hours. Three were left in total darkness. Three others were given some light, but made to wear translucent goggles and foam padding over their hands and arms. Continue reading Sensory Deprivation at the BBC
Stanley Milgram’s obedience studies of the early 1960s have been something of a staple on this blog (e.g., here, here, and here), in no small part because there has been a lot of news about them of late. I have frequently mentioned that last year the ABC show Primetime did a modified replication of Milgram’s first and most famous obedience study, in which about 2/3 of seemingly normal Americans were willing to shock an apparent fellow participant to the point of death on the orders of a scientist. Continue reading Full ABC Milgram Replication Online
As almost everyone knows, back in the early 1960s, Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram conducted a study in which subjects were persuaded to deliver what appeared to be increasingly severe electric shocks to a confederate (who they thought to be simply another subject), often up to the point apparently killing the other person. There have long been questions about whether the study could be replicated, until it was done in an episode of ABC Primetime earlier this year.
Another widespread criticism has been that the high susceptibility that Milgram found of people to follow authority figures would not generalize well outside of the laboratory. The Boston Globe is now reporting a story that might put this question to rest as well. This past August a Massachusetts institution that specializes in the treatment of people with autism, mental retardation, and emotional problems, the Judge Rotenberg center, was tricked into delivering dozens of electric shocks to two of its special education students when staff were ordered to do so over the telephone by a former student posing as a school supervisor. Continue reading Milgram Study Comes to Life (Again)