Revolutionary Psychology Experiments That Are As Crazy As Their Results

Harlow's Monkeys and Their Fake Mothers

22. Harlow's Monkeys and Their Fake Mothers

While still considered unethical by animal lovers, Harlow's Monkeys experiment helped prove how much a mother's affection is required for the healthy upbringing of a baby.

In the 1960s, Harlow did a series of experiments where he separated rhesus monkeys from their mothers just after birth. He made two surrogate mother figures, one made of wire and one of soft terrycloth. The wire mother had food but the terrycloth mother did not.

Still, the baby monkeys chose to stay longer with the cloth mother, thus proving that affection and warmth are necessary for bringing up a child.

David Reimer - A Tragic Experiment on Nature vs. Nurture

23. David Reimer - A Tragic Experiment on Nature vs. Nurture

A Canadian man ended up with lifelong identity issues, depression and finally suicide in what was to be one of the most unethical and controversial psychological experiments by one John Hopkins University professor.

When David Reimer, one of the identical twins suffered a botched circumcision. John Money. a professor took the opportunity to change the boy's life forever. David was just 6 months old when Money suggested gender reassignment instead of repairing his damaged penis. He thought this case study would prove his theory of gender-neutrality, meaning all kids are born gender neutral.

Even after a sex reassignment surgery and seemingly moving on, David committed suicide due to depression in 2004.

Identical Twins

24. Identical Twins

While fiction has a lot to do with the myth behind shared pain and stimuli in identical twins, several studies have proved that identical twins do have similar responses to stimuli. This was famously demonstrated by TV person Derren Brown.

The reason for this phenomenon could be shared genes, similar upbringings, and life experiences that identical twins go through.

The controversial case of twin studies by Peter Neubauer and Violet Bernard has been involved with studying the lives of separated identical twins as well.

Change Blindness

25. Change Blindness

A simple experiment at the cashier counter proved that we find it difficult to catch subtle changes in objects around us.

This could be anew signboard on the road or recognizing a person's face. A man waiting in line at the cashier counter disappeared while trying to take a packet and another man appeared and finished the billing. About 75 percent of the time, the participants did not notice the change, showing how much selectively our brain chooses to get information.

Candid Camera Experiment

26. Candid Camera Experiment

This is another experiment that was done to test our urge to conformity. A simple announcement on the elevator to smile for the candid camera makes them come up with comical reactions to fit with actors around them.

People start posing even when they don't understand why they have to just because the actors in the room do so.

The Third Wave - How to Establish a Dictatorship 101

27. The Third Wave - How to Establish a Dictatorship 101

A high school teacher Ron Jones attempted a way to explain how holocaust could have happened. In 1967, he practically showed his students the phenomenon by making himself an authoritative figure in the lines of a supreme leader.

The third wave, as it was called, spread quickly and became a school club reminiscent of the secret police under the Nazi regime. The students had their own salutations and anti-democratic ideologies. Thankfully, Jones stopped the movement on the fourth day and explained how the feelings of supremacy make them act the way they did.

Emma Eckstein - Unfortunate Patient of Freud

28. Emma Eckstein - Unfortunate Patient of Freud

While most of Sigmund Freud's theories have been discredited, he remains to be an influential psychologist for his methods and theories.

He experimented on one of his unfortunate patients Emma Eckstein with cocaine and anesthetics in improper ways despite her wanting treatment only for her stomach ailments.

Operation Midnight Climax

29. Operation Midnight Climax

In the 1950s, the CIA orchestrated a mind-control research project with the use of LSDs. While this gave the government immense information on mind-altering drugs,surveillance and blackmailing opportunities, one cannot refuse how unethical and disturbing these experiments are.

Non-consenting subjects of New York and San Francisco were administered LSD by prostitutes and the experiments continued for over a decade.

Facial Expressions - What's Your Expression When You Behead a Rat

30. Facial Expressions - What's Your Expression When You Behead a Rat

In 1924, Carney Landis of the University of Minnesota wanted to study common facial expressions. He painted the subject's facial muscles in black and recorded their expressions to various stimuli using photos.

While the experiment sounds innocent on the surface, the actual dark part came in when participants were asked to behead a rat to get their expression. This went similar to the Milgram experiment and many participants hacked the rat even when they have never done it before. When they couldn't, Landis did the act for them.