The human mind is complicated. Everyone perceives the world differently, and things like instincts, how you were raised, and your own personal preferences can have a huge impact on your reactions to experiences. Ever since Freud, psychologists have been working to understand the human psyche, and it hasn't been easy, or straight forward.
Psychological experiments can be dangerous because no one knows how someone will react to something, and permanent damage can be done. Often, causing damage is a lot easier than repairing it, so doctors have to be extremely cautious when using human beings to test their theories on psychological development.
While a lot of progress has been made in figuring out the human mind, there has also been setbacks that caused irreparable damage to the test subjects. Read on for 10 psychological experiments that went horribly wrong.
10 The Stanford Prison Experiment
9 The Monster Study
8 David Reimer
7 Homosexual Aversion Therapy
6 The Third Wave
5 The Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes Exercise
4 The Milgram Experiment
3 The Pit of Despair
1 Landis' Facial Expression Experiment
In 1924, Carney Landis, a psychology graduate conducted an experiment on facial experiments to try to determine if there were common expressions for certain emotions. The volunteers, who were mostly students, had black lines drawn on their faces so their muscle movements could be tracked when they were exposed to stimuli meant to illicit a strong reaction. They were made to watch pornography, smell ammonia, and put their hand in a bucket of frogs. Then a live rat was placed in front of them, and they were told to behead it. One third of the volunteers obeyed the request, but obviously none of them knew how to do it in a humane way, so the animals suffered. For the volunteers that refused to perform the decapitation, Landis would take the knife and do it for them. The study failed to make any conclusions about universal facial expressions, but revealed, once again, the dark side of human nature.
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