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How to convert a living person into a Pikku
I really love the old experimental works, because they are much easier to popularize than modern ones. This is due to two circumstances. First, every year molecular-genetic methods of research are becoming simpler and cheaper, and therefore the work of a professional biologist today is reduced to 90% to polymerase chain reactions and sequencing, blotting and enzyme immunoassay, mass spectrometry and gel electrophoresis. All this is terribly interesting, but it requires a long explanation before the description of each experiment - or, worse, it forces us to leave the technique behind brackets. Secondly, every year over the natural sciences, ethics commissions of universities are increasingly hanging, which require written informed consent from each experimental fruit fly and a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of any substance with which the subject may have the misfortune to encounter while on the faculty, whether liquid soap in the toilet or tea bag in the laboratory kitchen. I exaggerate, of course, but not too much. Very many studies of the twentieth century, which enriched experimental psychology, today would not have been permitted by ethical commissions for anything, and people would have known much less about themselves. The most obvious examples of such studies are the Milgram experiment, first conducted in 1963, the Stanford prison experiment in 1971, and the unofficial Third Wave experiment in 1967. All of them are widely known and repeatedly described in popular literature, including in Russian, so I will only briefly recall what was going on.
Stanley Milgram, a psychologist at Yale University, told the subjects that he was examining the impact of pain on learning. They had to control how the other participant in the experiment (in fact - the duck duck) remembers the pairs of words, and punish him with a discharge of electric current, gradually increasing the voltage, every time he was wrong. Both Milgram and his colleagues were confident that most people would refuse to participate in the experiment, as soon as the student said that he was already really hurt. But no. It was enough that a solid experimenter in a white coat informed me that it was necessary to continue - and more than 60% of the subjects, tormented and suffering, brought the voltage to 450 volts, the very end of the scale.
In the Stanford prison experiment, the subjects were randomly divided into guards and prisoners. They were not given any instructions other than a ban on physical violence, and placed in the basement of the university depicting the prison. The guards themselves chose a uniform, the prisoners dressed in ugly gowns. On the first day everything was calm, on the second day a riot broke out among the prisoners, suppressed by the guards without any participation of the experimenters. The guards remained enthusiastic to work overtime, inventing more and more new methods of psychological suppression and humiliation of prisoners. The victims, in turn, quickly lost any idea of cooperation and self-respect and were only able to think about how to avoid punishment. The experiment was discontinued on the sixth day (instead of the planned two weeks) when Christina Maslach, one of Stanford's psychologists, visited the prison to interview the participants, and was horrified by the conditions in which the prisoners were kept, for example, on the initiative of the guards They were now taken to the toilet only by everyone, in single file. In addition, at this time, scientists completely scanned the recordings from the cameras
observations and found that the guards especially cruelly tortured prisoners at night - they believed that at this time psychologists do not look after them.
The "Third Wave" experiment was conducted by the California history teacher Ron Jones. During a lecture on Nazi Germany, the students asked him how it was generally possible.
How could ordinary German inhabitants-teachers, doctors, railwaymen, and so on-ignore or even justify the mass extermination of Jews? Why did the German people allow this? Ron promised to explain. The next week began with the fact that instead of presenting new material he began to teach students to sit at the desk and told them about the importance of discipline. On the second day, the class that liked the game was already sitting right, and Ron told them about the strength of the community. He ordered the students to chant slogans in chorus and taught them a special gesture - the greeting of the Third wave. On Wednesday, Ron talked about the power of action. Students were given membership cards and ordered to conduct agitation work and identify dissenters. On Thursday, members of the Third wave were proud to learn that they are participating in a nationwide political movement. On Friday, all the participants of the movement and sympathizers, already 200 people, dressed up in white shirts, gathered in the assembly hall and chanted the Third Wave slogans there, awaiting a television broadcast about the opening of hundreds of branches throughout the country. But there was no transfer. And then Ron made a speech. He said that there is no movement. The students thought that they were elected, but in fact they were just used. They feel superior to those who do not belong to the Third Wave, but Ron can show what kind of future awaits them. And he turned on the projector with the newsreel of the Third Reich - from the military parade to the concentration camps. Then Ron turned on the light. The students silently rose from their seats and parted. The most diligent participant in the Third wave, who had been Ron's bodyguard for the past three days, was crying sobbingly.
These violent experiments demonstrate how much external conditions can influence the behavior and emotions of a person. But on this chain does not end. Human emotions in turn affect his physical condition. And this was also the subject of several excellent experiments that could still be approved by ethical commissions in the good old days, but almost certainly would not have been resolved today - even if simply because of fear of lawsuits from the test subjects. For example, in 1991, psychologists from the University of Carnegie - Mellon specifically infected several hundred people with viruses that cause respiratory infections. The value of the experiment was that all 420 participants in the study were carefully ranked by the level of stress experienced by them during the past year and by the number of negative epithets (uncontrollability, unpredictability, fatigue, anger, sadness, uncertainty, etc.) used by the subjects for description of yourself and your life. The results were predictable, but no less important: in a group with a low level of stress, 74% of people were infected with the virus, judging by the results of laboratory tests, but only 27% of them led to a clinically pronounced cold with a runny nose and sneezing. A group with a high level of stress, likewise obtaining a solution of viruses in the form of drops in the nose, was infected by 90%, and 47% became ill.
By the way, the common cold is not accidentally associated with cold. Yes, of course, it is caused by viruses (not one, but many different), but the likelihood that the infection will accrue in the body, increases in cold weather. This is due to the fact that hypothermia can be considered as a kind of stressor factor. In practice, this means that it leads to a narrowing of the peripheral blood vessels, including in the mucosa of the respiratory tract. This, in turn, prevents the immune cells from interrupting the intrusion in time - they simply do not have enough at the right time in the right place. In addition, stresses in principle have a poor effect on immunity - and this is not the only harmful effect they have on our health.
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How to convert a living person into a Pikku
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