Interesting, Important, & Classic Psychology Experiements

The Northern Illinois University has a great website detailing several of the most important psychology experiments. I recommend investors to be aware of  them as many have to do with decision making. Click Here For Full Descriptions And Results Of Each Psychological Experiment And More

Experiments Covered:

1. Stanley Milgram’s Obedience To AuthoritySocial psychology was greatly enhanced by the experiment conducted by Stanly Milgram, a Yale University psychologist. Milgram described this study in his book Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View (1974). Milgram’s study was intended to assess the likelihood that a subject would be willing to follow through on the instructions provided by an authority figure, even if the authority figure’s commands are in conflict with the subject’s moral views.

2. Phillip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison ExperimentThe Stanford Prison Experiment was a landmark psychological study. It was conducted in Philip Zimbardo of Stanford Universityand examined the study of human being’s responses to being captive. In particular, it examined the real world circumstances of prison life. Subjects were assigned to play the role of either a “prisoner” or a “guard”. “Guards” were given sticks and sunglasses, while “prisoners” were arrested by the police. They were shackled and transported to the basement of the psychology department at Stanford, which had been transformed into a temporary prison. Several “guards” became progressively more as time went on, torturing “prisoners.”

3. Jim Blascovich’s Virtual Reality Experimentation Jim Blascovich is the co-director of the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior at the University of California, Santa Barbara. At this center, they use virtual reality (VR) to explore different psychological processes. Virtual reality experimentation adds to the external validity of an experiment by bringing the experimental situation closer to the real world situation. This increases the odds that you can correctly generalize from the experiment to the external world. Participants act unrestrictively and in real time with the virtual world.

4. David Rosenhan’s Validity Of Psychiatry –  David Rosenhan conducted an experiment to prove the validity of psychiatry in 1972.  Rosenhan and eight graduate students attempted to feign mental illnesses to see if they would be admitted to a mental hospital.  All nine subjects stopped engaging in proper self-care or personal hygiene behaviors.  All nine individuals presented that they were hearing voices that were saying “thud” and were admitted to different hospital across the United States with diagnoses of paranoid schizophrenia.  When admitted, all nine subjects said that the voices had stopped and that they were no longer experiencing problems.

5. Skinner’s Operant Conditioning Skinner is most well known for his methodological advances and his laboratory inventions. Skinner used his operant conditioning chamber to introduce free operant techniques.  In his apparatus, rats responded and received food at their own pace. Skinner used this new variable of response rate, which was recorded by a cumulative recorder. This allowed for less laborious and more precise measurements.  Skinner uncovered one of his most important contributions, the intermittent reinforcement schedule, by accident. Initially, one press of the level allowed the release of one pellet of food.  However, the lever often broke and allowed for several presses of the lever to not be followed by food. Skinner found that the animals would continue working for some time before stopping.

6. Pavlov Classical Conditioning – Pavlov, a Russian Physiologist studying digestion, noticed that dogs salivated when they were presented with food.  He knew that if was normal for dogs to salivate when they eat because salivation is a reflexive behavior that aids in digestion.  However, Pavlov noticed that the dogs were salivating before they tasted the food.  Pavlov reasoned that this may be happening because the dogs had learned to associate the trainers, who brought them food, with the food itself.

7. Harlow & Emotional Attachment Of Rhesus Monkeys. Harlow placed infant monkeys in cages along with two wire-covered shapes resembling adult monkeys.  One figure was covered with terry cloth; the other was left bare.  Both could be fitted with bottles to provide milk.  He wrote, “The result was a mother, soft, warm, and tender, a mother with infinite patience, a mother available 24 hours a day . . .. It is our opinion that we engineered a very superior monkey mother, although this position is not held universally by monkey fathers.”

Click Here For Full Descriptions And Results Of Each Psychological Experiment And More

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17. December 2008 by Miguel Barbosa
Categories: Curated Readings, Psychology & Sociology | Leave a comment

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