The world is a confusing place. People do things that don’t make any sense, think things that aren’t supported by facts, endure things they do not need to endure, and viciously attack those who try to bring these things to their attention.
If you’ve ever wondered why, you’ve come to the right place.
Any casual reader of the alternate media landscape will eventually come up with a reference to Stanley Milgram, or Philip Zimbardo, the “Asch Experiment” or maybe all three.
“Cognitive Dissonance”, “Diffusion of Responsibility”, and “learned helplessness” are phrases that regularly do the rounds, but where do they come from and what they mean?
Well, here are the important psycho-social experiments that teach us about the way people think, but more than that they actually explain how our modern world works, and just how we got into this mess.
1. THE MILGRAM EXPERIMENT
The Experiment: Let’s start with the most famous. Beginning in 1963, Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram conducted a series of experiments now referred to as the Milgram Obedience Experiments.
The setting is simple, Subject A is told to conduct a memory test on Subject B, and administer electric shocks when he makes mistakes. Of course, Subject B does not exist, and the electric shocks are not real. Instead, actors would cry, ask for help or pretend to be unconscious, all the while Subject A would be encouraged to carry on administering the shocks.
The vast majority of subjects carried on with the test and gave the shocks, despite the distress of “Subject B”.
The Conclusion: In his paper on this experiment Stanley Milgram coined the term “diffusion of responsibility”, describing the psychological process by which a person can excuse or justify doing harm to someone if they believe it’s not really their fault, they won’t be held accountable, or they do not have a choice.
The Application: Almost literally endless. All institutions can use this phenomenon to pressure people into acting against their own moral code. The army, the police, hospital staff – wherever there is a hierarchy or perceived authority, people will fall victim to the diffusion of their own responsibility.
NOTE: They made a decent film about Milgram, and the backlash his experiments caused called Experimenter. In recent years there has been a major pushback on this experiment, with articles in the MSM attacking the findings and methodology and new “researchers” claiming “it does not prove what you think it does.”
2. THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT
The Experiment: Only slightly less famous than Milgram’s work is Philip Zimbardo’s Prison Experiment, carried out at Stanford University in 1971. The experiment set up a mock-prison for a week, with one group of subjects designated “guards” and the other “prisoners”.
Both sides were provided uniforms, and prisoners were given a number. The guards were ordered to only ever address prisoners by their number, not their name.
There were a number of other rules and procedures, detailed here.
In brief, over the course of the week, guards became increasingly sadistic, dealing out punishments to disobedient prisoners and rewarding “good prisoners” in order to try and divide them. Many of the prisoners simply took the abuse, and in-fighting began between “trouble makers” and “good prisoners”.