FC: End of the Year Project 10 Psychological Experiments
1: 10 Psychological Experiments by: Amanda Raymond
2: 1 | Split Brain Surgery | Joseph Bogen and Philip Vogel 1961 These two surgeons thought that major epileptic seizures were caused by the amplification of abnormal brain activity that reverberated between the two left and right brain hemispheres. Most of the time, the seizures could be controlled by different medications. Other times, the doctors could surgically take out the specific brain tissue that was causing the seizure activity. But when the brain tissue causing the seizures was inoperable, there was nothing that doctors could do to help the patients. Bogen and Vogel decided to initiate Roger Sperry's idea. They decided to cut the main communication between the two hemispheres by cutting the corpus callosum. Their first patient was a man who sustained multiple head injuries from being in World War II. The results seemed to be successful. The seizures were gone and the patient was normal. Later experiments have shown that the patients are not always completely normal.
4: 2 | Split-Brain Effects | Michael Gazzaniga 1967 Michael Gazzinga decided to do some experimenting to find out the effects split-brain surgeries had on the brain. He flashed the word "HEART" across the visual field of the patient. He did this very quickly so that the patient had no time to move their eyes. The person reported only seeing the portion of the word transmitted to the left hemisphere of the brain, which they saw with their right eye. But when asked to indicate with their left hand what they saw, the patient pointed to the portion of the word transmitted to the right hemisphere of the brain, which they saw with their left eye. Gazzaniga did many different tests like this. He found that information shown to the right eye or objects felt with the right hand were easily identified and described. This revealed that the left hemisphere processed language. But when information was shown to the left eye or felt with the left hand, the patients had more difficulty. They sometimes even reported not seeing anything at all. But when asked to identify what they saw with their left hand, they can identify it almost subconsciously. The right hemisphere cannot express itself in complex sentences, but it can recognize words.
6: Harlow's Monkeys | Harry Harlow 1950s Harry Harlow discovered that it is comfort and bodily contact that babies are attached to, as opposed to just being attached to things that give them nourishment. Harlow proved this by experimenting on monkeys. He separated the baby monkeys from their mothers a few hours after birth. He created two surrogate mothers. One mother was made of just wire mesh. The other wire mother was covered in soft cloth. Both mothers dispensed milk. When given a choice between the two mothers, the monkeys seemed to spend more time with the soft mother. This showed that the babies were not just attached to the mothers for physiological needs. Then Harlow took the experiment a step farther. He separated the monkeys, denying them a choice between the cloth and wire mother. The two groups of monkeys physically developed the same, but the monkeys with the cloth mothers were more emotionally and psychologically sound. The baby monkeys had an attachment bond with the cloth mother. Harlow also discovered there was a critical period in which the monkeys had to have contact with a mother in order to function properly during life. After that period is passed, no amount of contact could reverse the damage already done. | 3
8: 4 | Hypnosis | Orne and Evans 1965 Hypnosis is defined as an artificially induced trance resembling sleep, characterized by the enhanced susceptibility to suggestion by dicionary.com. Orne and Evans wanted to test this theory, because many are skeptical of its reality. They created many different groups of different conditions. One group was instructed to pretend. Another was "hypnotized." Some were not told anything, but the experimenters continued to pressure them into obeying. In all groups, the participants were told to do a number of "dangerous" tasks. In all groups, the participants did as they were told. This showed that an authoritative person in a legitimate context could induce people, hypnotized or not, to perform some unlikely acts. Some believe hypnosis is just a social phenomenon. They believe the "hypnotized" people are like actors caught up in a role. Some believe hypnosis is an actual divided conscious, where there is a split in awareness. Some believe this is true because sometimes hypnotized subjects would carry out suggested behaviors on cue, even when they think no one is watching. This experiment explored how true hypnosis is.
10: 5 | Pavlov's Dogs | Ivan Pavlov Pavlov wanted to explore the concept of classical conditioning. Classical conditioning is when an organism comes to associate stimuli. He decided to use classical conditioning to teach a dog to salivate at the sound of a tone. There are certain responses and stimuli associated with classical conditioning. The unconditioned response is the unlearned, naturally occurring response to an unconditioned stimulus. In the experiment, this would be a dog's natural response to food, salivation. The unconditioned stimulus is the stimulus that naturally and automatically triggers a response. That would be the food because it automatically triggers the salivation. The conditioned response is the learned response to a previously neutral stimulus. This would be the dog salivating to the tone. Finally, the conditioned stimulus is the originally irrelevant stimulus that comes to trigger the conditioned response. That would be the tone. Therefore, the dog began to salivate at the sound of the tone, even though no food was present.
12: 6 | Little Albert | John Watson John Watson was a psychologist who believed he could shape people into the people he wanted them to be. He designed an experiment to test his theory. He used the principle of classical conditioning. This is where an organism comes to associate stimuli with a response. In his experiment, he took a young child, about eleven months, and made him scared of certain, random objects. They named this child "Little Albert." He would present these objects with a loud noise. Eventually Little Albert became afraid of the objects even without the loud noises. This experiment was informative but highly unethical. It caused Little Albert psychological harm. This experiment showed the applications of classical conditioning. It can be used in negative and positive. Negatively, it can be used to condition someone to be afraid of things, like in the case of Little Albert. But it can also be used to help people break bad habits like smoking. If smoking became associated with negative stimuli, it would become easier for the person to quit.
14: 7 | Skinner Box | B.F. Skinner Skinner wanted to test the principle of operant conditioning. That is where organisms associate their own actions with consequences. It centers on behavior that operates on an environment that produces rewarding or punishing stimuli. Skinner based his research on Thorndike's idea of the law of effect. It states that rewarded behavior is likely to recur. Skinner put animals in a glass box with a bar. The pressing of the bar would give the animal rewards, like food. Sometimes the bar would help the animal avoid harmful stimuli, like electric shocks. The Skinner box experiments showed how operant conditioning works. Shaping is involved. This is where reinforcers guide behavior closer and closer to the desired behaviors. It includes different types of reinforcement, continuous or partial. It includes different reward schedules, like fixed-ratio, variable-ratio, fixed-interval, and variable-interval. There are many factors to consider when conditioning an organism with rewards and punishments.
16: 8 | Bobo Doll | Albert Bandura It was once believed that human behavior was inherited through the genes. Albert Bandura proved that some behaviors are learned through simple observation. He was the pioneering researcher of observational learning. His experiments focused on the concept of modeling. That is the process of observing and imitating specific behavior. Mirror neurons in the frontal lobe of the brain fire when performing certain actions or when observing another doing so. So it has been biologically proven that we can learn by observing others. Bandura wanted to see whether or not a child would imitate an adult role model's behaviors. Children were put into a room with an adult who verbally and physically attacked the doll for ten minutes. When the children who watched the aggressive adult were put into the same situation, the children reacted to the doll in the same way the adult did. Some even repeated the exact same words. Observational learning has many applications and lessons. Parents need to lead by example and be sure to make their actions match their words. Observational learning may explain why abusive fathers lead to abusive sons.
18: 9 | Shocking Obedience | Stanley Milgram Stanley Milgram conducted a number of experiments to test how far a person would obey an authority figure. The participants were put in a student-teacher scenario, where the teacher would administer electric shocks to incorrect answers. Though the participant thought they were administering real electric shocks to the students, the students were actually just acting. The shocks were given at different levels. As the experiment progressed, the student was heard complaining and wanting to stop the experiment. Some even complained of a heart condition. The authority figure urged the teacher to continue on. Then the student would refuse to answer anymore questions because they did not want to continue on with the experiment. Still, the authority figure told the teacher to continue. The surprising fact of it all: most teachers continued until the maximum shocks. This showed how far people go in obeying authority.
20: 10 | Prison Experiments | Philip Zimbardo Zimbardo conducted this prison experiment to see the psychological effects of prison on a person. He took college students and randomly separated them into prisoners and guards. The participants were, of course, told of what the experiment was testing, and also told they could leave the experiment at any time. The prison they were in had no contact with the outside world, not even windows. There was a room for solitary confinement and a hall for a courtyard. The experiment was supposed to last two weeks, but only lasted six days because of the things that were happening in the prison. The guards became abusive and dehumanizing. The prisoners became extremely anxious and stressed. The prisoners also became unusually passive. Some prisoners were so emotionally distraught, they had to be let out of the prison early. Even Zimbardo, who played the prison's warden, got caught up in the illusion. This experiment showed the power of situation. People act different when put in different situations.