by Higher Perspective
1. The wooden door experiment.
The wooden door experiment was an experiment conducted by researchers in which college students were targeted. The researchers would ask for directions, and halfway through receiving directions from the students, workmen hauling a large wooden door passed between the two having the discussion, and then another researcher switched places with the individual who was asking for directions. Around half of the participants didn’t notice that the person asking for directions had changed.
This is called “change blindness.”
It demonstrates how we’re sometimes not aware of what’s happening before us.
2. The Stanford prison experiment.
This is one of the most famous psychological studies in existence. It examines how social environments affect our behavior. 24 undergraduates without a criminal background were placed in a fake prison. Some acted as guards, others as prisoners. Six days in, it had to be cut short because the guards became so violent.
“The guards escalated their aggression against the prisoners,” says Phillip Zimbardo, the researcher who initiated the experiment. “Stripping them naked, putting bags over their heads, and then finally had them engage in increasingly humiliating sexual activities.”
3. The Harvard grant study.
Over 75 years, 268 male Harvard graduates were followed over various points in their life to gather data on how they live. What did they find? Love makes you happy. It’s a corny message but true. Love gives us the greatest sense of self-satisfaction.
4. Cognitive dissonance experiments.
Cognitive dissonance is a popular theory in psychology. It states that humans can’t cope with conflicting thoughts and emotions without experiencing some degree of mental distress. One experiment on this matter, conducted by Leon Festinger, involved participants who completed long, mundane tasks. Once completed, half were offered $1 and the other half were offered $20. The $20 group was told to tell the $1 group how much fun they had doing the task. The $1 group justified that they also thought it was a fun task as well, even though they clearly didn’t.
It tells us that we lie to ourselves to justify how we live our lives.