Meet the most frightening author of the twentieth century. And I don't mean Stephen King or Clive Barker. Who needs Pennywise the Clown or Mamoulian when all you have to do is look in the mirror and realize that under the right circumstances, you'd make a good Nazi? All you need is an authority you trust to give you the right orders. [more inside]
Contesting the “Nature” Of Conformity: What Milgram and Zimbardo's Studies Really Show [FULL TEXT] [more inside]
"Milgram and Bishop are opposed to reforms of mathematics teaching and support the continuation of a model in which students learn mathematics without engaging in realistic problems or discussing mathematical methods. They are, of course, entitled to this opinion, and there has been an ongoing, spirited academic debate about mathematics learning for a number of years. But Milgram and Bishop have gone beyond the bounds of reasoned discourse in a campaign to systematically suppress empirical evidence that contradicts their stance. Academic disagreement is an inevitable consequence of academic freedom, and I welcome it. However, responsible disagreement and academic bullying are not the same thing. Milgram and Bishop have engaged in a range of tactics to discredit me and damage my work which I have now decided to make public." Jo Boaler, professor of mathematics education at Stanford, accuses two mathematicians, one her colleague of Stanford, of unethical attempts to discredit her research, which supports "active engagement" with mathematics (aka "reform math") over the more traditional "practicing procedures" approach. [more inside]
A French, state-run TV channel appears to be stirring controversy by airing a documentary about a fake game show in which contestants torture eachother, called "Game of Death." Based on the well-known Stanley Milgram experiments of the 1960's that, in the wake of Nazi Germany, sought out to measure man's willingness to obey orders. [more inside]
The tech business world has forever hyped the idea of "virtual communities," but it appears that the internet is actually making us more connected. Back in 1967, Stanley Milgram (of Milgram Experiment fame), proposed that we are all connected, on average, by six degrees of separation. The idea rapidly entered the popular consciousness, spawning a parlor game, and a hit play (and subsequent movie.) [more inside]
The Milgram Experiment Today? "Students commonly assume that, even if Milgram’s famous experiment sheds important light on the power of situation today, were his experiment precisely reproduced today, it would not generate comparable results. To oversimplify the argument behind that claim: The power of white lab coats just ain’t what it used to be. Of course, that assertion has been difficult to challenge given that the option of replicating the Milgram experiment has been presumptively unavailable — indeed, it has been the paradigmatic example of why psychology experiments must be reviewed by institutional review boards ('IRBs'). Who would even attempt to challenge that presumption? The answer: Jerry Burger, a psychology professor at Santa Clara University. With some slight modifications, Burger manage to obtain permission to replicate Milgram’s experiment — and the results may surprise you." [Via MindHacks]
Of forty participants in Milgram's first experiment on obedience to authority, fifteen refused to continue at some point. An insight into the thoughts of one man who refused to obey Milgram's immoral orders.
Mass. school punishes students with electric shocks "They can be shocked for behaviors including ’failure to maintain a neat appearance’, ‘stopping work for more than 10 seconds’, ‘interrupting others’, ‘nagging’, ‘whispering and/or moving conversation away from staff’, ‘slouch in chair’ ' I have spoke before of American Enantiodromia. Further, Thomas Moore wrote in Dark Eros: The Imagination of Sadism , that in any culture that does not acknowledge it's skeletons, --it's sins, if you will-- will have that imagination played out in real life.
The ways of Sade are not limited to bedroom and scenes of bondage or porno theaters or forbidden books. Any aspect of culture, from the great to the small, insofar as it is engaged in issues of power has therefore Sadean qualities. Furthermore, since life is never perfect, every aspect of culture will know the split of power into torture and suffering, dominance and submission, or sentimentality and cruelty.I wont editorialize anymore than I have, but I can't help but wonder, When did psychological abuse become entertainment? or has it always been thus? Also see: N.Y. report denounces shock use at school. I look forward to your Parallax View.
Stanley Milgram invented the term "six degrees of separation" after discovering in an experiment how closely interconnected social networks can be. The "six degrees" concept also inspired a play, a film, and a party game. The original study has recently attracted criticism, but now sociologists at Columbia University are planning to re-do the study over the Internet, using e-mail forwarding. Volunteers can sign up here.
So, I saw an interesting film this weekend. Here's a great site about the experiment on which it was based. Here's another equally disturbing experiment. Or you can just have fun running some psychological test on yourself. But, at the end of the day, who are we? Of what are we capable?