Often, it feels like humans are one bunch of totally unpredictable beings. So finding out the answers to questions about our behavior requires some serious measures.

Would we go mad if we read too much bad news daily? Would we take the stairs over an escalator? Would we slow down on the roads if we get rewarded for driving safely? In order to find out, Bored Panda compiled some of the most interesting experiments on human behavior that brought various results, some of which were illuminating, and some—totally unexpected.

But at least we got a teeny tiny step closer to finding out just what’s going on in that odd and magical place called the brain.

#1

If A Field Is Left Unattended, Would People Steal Agricultural Produce, Or Would They Pay For It?

If A Field Is Left Unattended, Would People Steal Agricultural Produce, Or Would They Pay For It?

Idea: The self-service fields that run by the roads mean anyone is invited to pick whatever they please in the field, whether it’s fruits, vegetables, or flowers. There is no vendor to control the transactions. The sign with a price tag and a box to put money in is all there is to make a purchase for whatever it is that people picked in the fields.

Result: Not only were no thefts reported, but people would pay even more than the price tags asked.

Annemarie Rencken Report

HorizonBlood
Community Member
3 months ago

..but the sign literally says "field and cash register are monitored" :D

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#2

How Do People See Themselves, And How Are They Seen By Strangers?

How Do People See Themselves, And How Are They Seen By Strangers?

Idea: The “Real Beauty Sketches” experiment conducted by Dove asked women to describe themselves to an FBI forensic artist, who drew their portraits based solely on the description. Then, strangers described the appearance of the same women, and the artist drew another set of portraits of them. Each participant was given two portraits of themselves that turned out to be radically different.

Result: The portraits based on the strangers’ descriptions were clearly more beautiful, happier, and more accurate. An average person tends to exaggerate her own flaws, while strangers see the appearance as a whole, focusing on positive features.

“What has stayed with me are the emotional reactions the women had when they viewed the composite sketches hung side by side. I think many of these brave women realized that they had a distorted self-perception that had affected parts of their lives in significant ways,” said the FBI forensic artist.

dandad , dove Report

Hans
Community Member
3 months ago

Embrace yourself, and even more importantly, be kind to yourself.

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#3

Carlsberg Social Experiment

Carlsberg Social Experiment

Idea: In this social experiment by the Danish brewery Carlsberg, the subjects, unsuspecting couples out to watch a movie, walk into a crowded cinema. There are only 2 seats remaining, right in the middle, with each of the rest taken by a rather tough-looking and tattooed male biker.

Result: As the informal experiment (which was actually intended to be just an advertisement) unfolds, not all of the couples end up taking a seat, and upon seeing the bikers decide to leave immediately. Some couples do choose to take their seats however, and are rewarded with cheers from the crowd and a round of free Carlsberg beers. The experiment was a good example of why people shouldn't always judge a book by its cover.

Video

Carlsberg Report

zims
Community Member
3 months ago

If I walked into a theater full of biker dudes I'd wonder if I was mislead about the rating of the cartoon I was about to see.

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#4

What Will Happen If All Foreign Products Are Removed From Supermarket Shelves?

Idea: As part of a campaign against xenophobia, the prejudice against people from other countries, supermarket 'Edeka' in Hamburg, Germany launched a social experiment. Supermarket employees removed all the foreign-made products from the shelves and left only those that were made within the country. 

Result: Supermarket customers were greeted by empty shelves and helped raise awareness about how different and lower-quality life in Germany would be without cooperation with other countries. The experiment also shows that foreigners can add value to our lives even on a domestic scale.

heinzinger Report

Hans
Community Member
3 months ago

I think this campaign is having a good idea, yet also poses problems. It should counter Xenophopia, yet at the same time it is advisable for health reasons to not buy too much processes foods (fewer ingredients, thus less likely to have something foreign in it) and for ecological reasons to by locally and regionally (shorter transportation).

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#5

Rosenhan Experiment

Rosenhan Experiment

Idea: In his 1973 paper “On Being Sane in Insane Places”, psychologist David Rosenhan strongly criticized the psychiatric hospitals and the treatment the patients received there, but most of all, he criticized the quality of the psychiatric diagnosis. Rosenhan's stance was based on research conducted by himself and seven other experimenters who acted as pseudo-patients in different hospitals around the U.S. where they were all diagnosed with psychiatric disorders.

To be admitted into the hospitals, the pseudo-patients complained about auditory hallucinations. After admission, however, they behaved perfectly normal, telling the medical staff in the hospitals that their hallucinations had disappeared.

Result: The medical staff in the hospitals still regarded the pseudo-patients as mentally ill and fed them antipsychotic meds.

The pseudo-patients would flush the medications down the toilet, and continue acting in a calm, rational fashion, writing down their observations of the staff and the other patients. However, they were still treated as having mental problems. Instead of investigating the issue, nobody regarded their behavior as normal, because apparently inside the walls of a psychiatric hospital, the only sane ones are the employees.

I wonder if Rosenhan had read Chekhov's "Ward No. 6".

Wikipedia Report

Hans
Community Member
3 months ago

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"Sane" and "Insane" apparently are not binary but to be measured on an intervall.

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#6

The "Violinist In The Metro" Experiment

The "Violinist In The Metro" Experiment

Idea: On 12th January 2007, about a thousand morning commuters passing through a subway station in Washington, D.C. were, without publicity, treated to a free mini-concert performed by violin virtuoso Joshua Bell, who played for approximately 45 minutes, performing six classical pieces (two of which were by Bach), on his handcrafted 1713 Stradivarius violin (for which Bell reportedly paid $3.5 million).

Result: Only 6 people stopped and stayed to listen for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. No one noticed that one of the best musicians in the world had played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. The experiment raised some interesting questions about how we not only value beauty, but extent that which the setting and presentation make a difference. Three days earlier, Bell had played to a full house at Boston’s Symphony Hall, where seats went for over $100. (Source: Snopes)

Joshua Bell Report

James
Community Member
3 months ago

And what does this prove? That people walking through subway stations are busy and have places to be and don't have time to stand around listening to someone playing violin.

Wendillon
Community Member
3 months ago

Comparing it to the concert is a fallacy as well. The people who attended that concert were people who liked violin music and thus went out of their way to listen to it.

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Stijn V.
Community Member
3 months ago

so we value something more when we have the time to enjoy for it. when we have other plans and something to do, we might be less interested. Plus we already heard him play it 3 days before.

zims
Community Member
3 months ago

Other people have said it better than me, but an artist making $40 an hour sounds like a sweet gig, especially since "morning commute" implies people on their way to their own jobs, unable to stop without risking their livelihoods. The fact that he got such a positive reception is great, and even if nobody clapped I'm sure he brightened a lot of people's days.

Moose Face
Community Member
3 months ago

Did they ask how many of those people walking past had acknowledged the beauty internally, but couldn't stop because they'd be late, and maybe fired, and there's rent to pay and kids to feed? Did they consider that beauty is culturally defined and contingent? I love Bach, but if buddy here played this in my bedroom while I was trying to sleep I'd invite him to kindly stuff it.

JessG
Community Member
3 months ago

This only proves the setting makes a difference. No one goes to the subway station to hear beautiful music, just like people don’t go to a concert hall to take the train

ToGo
Community Member
3 months ago

It's probably a good thing no one realised he was playing on a violin worth $3.5m.

Tim Fischer
Community Member
3 months ago

In the end this does not really say much

razan youssef
Community Member
3 months ago

Not to argue or anything, but i actually think its does say something. We decided that his music was worth 3.5 million dollars when he played it at concerts, but decided it was only worth 32 dollars when played in a subway station. This shows that humans rely on packaging to decide what has value and what doesn’t. I think that is actually really cool

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Katinka Min
Community Member
3 months ago

Pick a different place for this experiment and do it again! When the excellent flute player is in my underground station some people always linger to listen.

JessG
Community Member
3 months ago

This is why I feel so bad for some buskers, they just need to be “discovered” by someone in order for their talent to be recognized.

Luther von Wolfen
Community Member
3 months ago

He was at the wrong stop at the wrong time. I know a guy who was able to quit his job and make a living playing violin at a DC train station. He tried different locations at different times of day and found the right times and places, when people were most likely to listen and tip.

Henry Tuttle
Community Member
3 months ago

If he played in a park where people had time to sit and listen, it would have been different. When he played that concert where seats went for over $100, was it at 10am on a workday?

Calypso poet
Community Member
3 months ago

In early '17 I took my mom then my husband to NYC. We stayed in Times Square. I loved stopping and watching and listening to street performers. I always tossed at least a paper single, good or bad. Both my husband and mom did not care for them. They got impatient with me and we were never on a time schedule.

Shawna Kimble
Community Member
3 months ago

That's sad.

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Ant1
Community Member
3 months ago

That was filmed and a woman stayed to appreciate the concert in subway... she has recognized him !!!

D. Pitbull
Community Member
3 months ago

There are a few things this shows...? Status/visibility/boastability is what people are really paying the $100 for... also... would explain why visual media/marketing for musicians has been attempted to make them all rockstars (I mean in posters/how they're positioned on the covers of albums/cds back in the day). I remember there being so much whining and complaining about "Why do you need to sexualize... [violin player/piano player, etc.]" This is why. The society has been conditioned to put value to the visual. He wasn't crowded around and treated like a superstar because classical musicians aren't advertised that way. Can you imagine what would have happened if... say... Keith Richards or... Ariana Grande (ie: someone instantly visually recognizable) were to do this? There'd have been a fire hazard because of all the people. Essentially... this shows that whether we like to admit it or not... we're a superficial bunch of creatures.

jamie1707
Community Member
3 months ago

He's one of my favorites. Super talented.

Gilda Farrell
Community Member
3 months ago

I agree with this. Anyone who could recognize the genius of the performance would have stopped in amazement. You may have someplace to go, but if you hear something very unusual and very beautiful you do notice it happening. I was part of something similar. I was in a fiction writing class where students wrote short stories, read them to the class and then the class critiqued it. One person who suspected many students were critiquing because they couldn't imagine amateurs writing something perfect, read an obscure Ernest Hemingway short story instead of his own. The class assumed the student had wrote it and ripped it apart with criticism. Some people cannot recognize "good" unless it comes in a setting that indicates it's good -- like a book published by a professional publishing house, sold in a bookstore with the name 'Ernest Hemingway' on it. And then they are likely to let the renowned artist get away with a lot of mistakes and still load the work of art with praise.

Thomas Robb
Community Member
3 months ago

Proof that people are busy and most people these days don't like classical music enough to hang out in a dirty subway.

Jaded Queen
Community Member
3 months ago

This is stupid. I would listen to a music cause I like it WHEN I have free time. It has nothing to do with how much it is known or what charts it has climbed. Or who palyed it. I no nothing About or care for violin. I won't hear it . I like TS but that also doesn't mean I like her every song just cause she sang it or how billion views it got. Even if it was set and presented in hall I won't listen

Fieke Engelen
Community Member
1 week ago

Somehow, the comments are more disappointing than the actual facts. I'm not sure why and I don't even know what I would have done, although I do stop and pay for buskers in the shopping centres

Bean53
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

I was there, passing through, like hundreds of thousands of people passing through every day. He is not the only musician who has played in a DC Metro station. It's almost a daily occurrence in all the different stations. No one passing by would have any way of knowing the cost of his violin, most would not have known the difficulty of playing the pieces, although many would still think it was beautiful music. Most would not have recognized him as "one of the best musicians in the world". This was a Friday; lots of other things on people's minds. I myself thought it was quite lovely.

Lou Herout
Community Member
3 months ago

$32 isn't too bad for 45 minutes...

Mumof1
Community Member
3 months ago

It's an unfair lac to stage such an experiment. Most people passing through a busy subway/train/bus staion are on their way to or from somewhere else. They're busy! They're probaly in a hurry. Put the violinist in a town square, or a park, where many of the people might just be strolling by and then guage the reaction.

Wim Cossement
Community Member
3 months ago

Well, nowadays people want songs about WAP...

Barbara Corson
Community Member
3 months ago

Very human to ignore beauty that happens spontaneously. not a good thing, but very human.

Caroline Seguin
Community Member
3 months ago

I think that regardless of who is playing, if you stop to listen then you should give money

M Dream
Community Member
3 months ago

He collected $32 in 45 minutes. So people regognized good music.

Teresa Lynn White de Roulet
Community Member
3 months ago

I used to ride the El to downtown Chicago, and there was a square where musicians regularly played. They were often applauded at the end of songs, and I like to think that they made more money. The trains ran about 9 minutes apart. Maybe something else about the setting of the experiment caused this lack of reaction. I'm glad that I sometimes took a moment to appreciate them.

Quazmodic
Community Member
3 months ago

ALL the people at the "Sympathy Hall" are interested in classical violin. MOST people in a subway are not. I'm amazed these dummies running the "experiment" don't seem to realise this obvious fact. lol

ahmad fauzi md sharif
Community Member
3 months ago

Maybe he should try playing in a park, where people are relaxing and having fun.....

*sigh*, The Yellow Teletubby
Community Member
3 months ago

and then there is this game I play, and if ONE PERSON plays happy birthday or literally anything on their little instruments, anywhere from 1-20 people will gather around them and sit down and listen to them until they're finished, and when they are done, the "audience" claps and pops firecrackers and fireworks. I love that game <3

Kent Fishburn
Community Member
3 months ago

Hype is reality?

Emilingo
Community Member
3 months ago

I've seen this before on some sort of TV show.

Kryogen
Community Member
3 months ago

Sure, listening bach in middle of a crowded subway is the better place to appreciate it... It's like taking a dump in middle of the street. It's not the right place, nor the right moment to do it.

Iris
Community Member
3 months ago

That's entirely accurate. One person recognized him, stayed to listen and gave him 20 dollars (which are not counted in the 32 dollars mentioned above).

thepinkrobot
Community Member
3 months ago

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It proves that people are only into this music for it's posh optics?

kjorn
Community Member
3 months ago

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most people have no interest in classical music.

Wolfstar
Community Member
3 months ago

You do know you just insulted classical musicians around the globe, including me? Besides, most people actually do have an interest in classical music, they just don't know enough about it to actually listen to the good pieces. The only piece they'll probably know is overplayed Fur Elise, or even worse, Canon in D.

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ivan bolitekurac
Community Member
3 months ago

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Because the average person doesn't like classical music.I don't like pop and i hate when the same bs plays on the radio every day.Why would i care if someone would play that same music somewhere else?People have different tastes and this experiment doesn't show much.

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#7

What Will Happen If A Piano Staircase Is Installed Near An Escalator?

Idea: In another experiment from Volkswagen’s Fun Theory campaign, a regular staircase was replaced with a musical one. By stepping on the stairs, a person would play their own melody on a gigantic piano. The idea was to make people take the stairs instead of an escalator.

Result: The musical stairs, which were right next to an escalator, were used 66% more than normal as people took their time playing a tune. The idea quickly blew up around the globe and became installed in Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, San Francisco, Mexico City, Sarajevo, Vienna, and other cities.

strotokan Report

Steve Barnett
Community Member
3 months ago

Now you can have your Tom Hanks moment. Remember, think Big! (Sorry, really sorry)

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#8

How Much Are We Alike?

How Much Are We Alike?

Idea: The travel search company Momondo asked 67 people from all over the world to take a DNA test. They wanted to prove that people have much more in common with other nationalities than one would think. Most participants were absolutely confident in their genetic roots, and some even had a level of prejudice against other nations.

Result: It turned out that not one of the total 67 people were purely one race or ethnicity. The experiment challenged participants’ beliefs about their and other peoples’ identities. Some participants were so impressed with the results they suggested running the same experiments as a way to get rid of xenophobia, racism, and national extremism.

momondo Report

Hans
Community Member
3 months ago

Anyone believing in "pure blood" ideologies is an idiot.

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#9

Smoke Filled Room Experiment

Smoke Filled Room Experiment

Idea: This experiment had people alone in a room filling out a questionnaire, when smoke starts coming from under the door. What do you do? You would get up and leave, tell someone in charge and do so without hesitation, right? Now imagine the same situation, except that you are not alone, you are with several other people who don't seem to care about the smoke. What do you do now?

Results: When alone, 75% of people reported the smoke almost immediately. The average time to report was 2 minutes of first noticing the smoke. However when two actors were present, who were working with the experimenters and told to act as if nothing was wrong, only 10% of the subjects left the room or reported the smoke. 9 out of 10 subjects actually kept working on the questionnaire, while rubbing their eyes and waving smoke out of their faces. The experiment was a great example of people responding slower (or not at all) to emergency situations in the presence of passive others. We seem to rely heavily on the responses of others even against our own instincts. If the group acts as if everything is OK then it must be, right? Wrong. Don't let the passivity of others result in your inaction. Don't always assume that someone else will help, that someone is specified to take action on behalf of others. Be the one to take action!

APA Psyc Net Report

Hans
Community Member
3 months ago

This also applis to other way around. If you need help, address people directly. "Hey you, the guy in the green shirt, please help me stop that bully from beating up the guy" will likely get a response, "Please help" not.

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#10

How Does Music In A Taxi Affect Passengers?

How Does Music In A Taxi Affect Passengers?

Idea: Our surroundings and environment can affect how we (re)act. What's left to determine is to what extent. A taxi driver changed the music in his car, then noted how this affect his passengers' behavior, as well as his rating on the taxi app. The driver conducted his mini-experiments in week-long stretches; he'd switch up the music after 7 days. The results might just surprise some of you Pandas.

Result: The taxi driver noticed that his rating on the app dropped and rose depending on the type of music he was playing inside the cab. Rock music and retro songs caused his rating to fall. However, rap music affected his rating the most negatively. And while some customers enjoyed older hit songs, most people enjoyed a combination of classical music with a dash of rock. In the end, the taxi driver decided to play just classical music in his cab. That's because it gave his clients the most positive emotions and fattened up his wallet as a result: after all, happy customers leave better tips and reviews.

The Late Late Show with James Corden Report

Hans
Community Member
3 months ago

I wonder how silence would haev worked....

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#11

What Will Happen If Some Drivers Are Penalized And Others Are Rewarded?

What Will Happen If Some Drivers Are Penalized And Others Are Rewarded?

Idea: The “Fun Theory” campaign from Volkswagen aimed at getting people to change their behavior and do the right thing.

Part of the campaign was the speed camera lottery, which meant that when a car passed a specific crossing, the speed camera would take a picture of it and measure its speed. If the driver was above the speed limit, they would get a fine. But interestingly, the fine fund was used to cover the lottery price for obedient drivers.

Result: Previous to the speed camera lottery, the average speed on this part of the road was 20 miles per hour. After its launch, the speed was reduced by 22% to 15 miles per hour since drivers were much more motivated not to exceed the speed limit. As a result, The Swedish National Society for Road Safety installed a few such speed cameras along their national highways.

thefuntheory Report

Hans
Community Member
3 months ago

Why not give this in km/h, the original unit? mp/h is an obsolete unit pretty much everywhere in the world, and where it isn't, it ought to be.

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#12

How To Unite People With Different Views?

How To Unite People With Different Views?

Idea: In a small scale social experiment by Heineken, as part of their ad campaign, 3 pairs of complete strangers with (secretly) wildly-differing views went to a warehouse. There, they built various constructions in pairs and asked each other questions that were prepared in advance by the event organizers. In the end, everyone finds out that their partner had completely opposite beliefs than their own. Everyone then decides if they want to talk to their partner over a bottle of beer.

Result: Among the 3 pairs of participants there was a supporter of the climate change theory and an skeptic; a feminist and a man holding conservative views; and a transgender individual, as well as a man against gender reassignment. In the end, friendship and curiosity prevailed, as every single person decided to drink a beer together, chatted, got to know each other, and deepened their knowledge about the questions they thought they had all figured out.

Video

Heineken Report

Hans
Community Member
3 months ago

Also this sounds romantic, I do not think these friendship will prevail. Getting people drunk and hope they hang out with each other is a bit too easy. Besides, getting drunken on Heineken is rather nasty.

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#13

False Memory Experiment

False Memory Experiment

Idea: In 1974, Elizabeth Loftus and John Palmer tried to investigate the effects of language on the development of false memory. The experiment involved two separate studies.

In the first test, 45 participants were randomly assigned to watch different videos of a car accident. The videos had shown collisions at 20 mph (32 km/h), 30 mph (48 km/h) and 40 mph (64 km/h). Afterwards, participants filled out a survey, which asked the question, "About how fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?" The question always asked the same thing, except the verb used to describe the collision varied. Rather than "smashed", other verbs used included "bumped", "collided", "hit", or "contacted". Participants estimated collisions of all speeds to average between 35 mph (56 km/h) to just below 40 mph (64 km/h). If actual speed was the main factor in estimate, it could be assumed that participants would have lower estimates for lower speed collisions. Instead, the word being used to describe the collision seemed to better predict the estimate in speed rather than the speed itself.

The second experiment also showed participants videos of a car accident, but the phrasing of the follow-up questionnaire was critical in participant responses. 150 participants were randomly assigned to three conditions. Those in the first condition were asked the same question as the first study using the verb "smashed". The second group was asked the same question as the first study, replacing "smashed" with "hit". The final group was not asked about the speed of the crashed cars. The researchers then asked the participants if they had seen any broken glass, knowing that there was no broken glass in the video. The responses to this question had shown that the difference between whether broken glass was recalled or not heavily depended on the verb used. A larger sum of participants in the "smashed" group declared that there was broken glass.

Result: In this study, the first point brought up in the discussion is that the words used to phrase a question can heavily influence the response given. Second, the study indicates that the phrasing of a question can give expectations to previously ignored details, and therefore, a misconstruction of our memory recall. This indication supports false memory as an existing phenomenon.

films media group Report

Ljdia
Community Member
3 months ago

Interesting results, scary if used with ill intentions. We humans are so easily manipulated!

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#14

What Will Happen If Network Users Are Given Freedom Of Actions And A Little Bit Of Free Space?

What Will Happen If Network Users Are Given Freedom Of Actions And A Little Bit Of Free Space?

Idea: A creative collaborative project on Reddit invited internet users to draw on a blank online canvas by choosing pixels and changing their color. In order to color another pixel, each user had to wait for a 5-minute 'cooldown' to end or had to act as part of a group. While it might sound complicated, it led to a group of redditors, 'creators,' banding together to create intricate drawings. Meanwhile, other groups painted different parts of the blank canvas with the same color. So-called 'guardians' also sprang up who saw it as their role to 'protect' the canvas from any destructive misconduct.

Result: At the start of the 72-hour-long project, the 'creators' let their creativity and imagination loose to create complex drawings. All with the help of the 'guardians' who protected their artistic endeavors. Unfortunately, things didn't last. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The 'guardians' started to pick and choose which drawings to protect and which ones to leave open to the destructive forces of chaos. Eventually, this led to in-fighting. Some redditors began painting random pixels black and wreaking havoc where they could. However, just like a forest fire, this opened up the space for new drawings and creations.

egeesin Report

Hans
Community Member
3 months ago

This one is absolutely fantastic. I recommend everyone to watch the video with condensed time. It is stunning to see the "battles" but how the trolls do not ultimately prevail.

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#15

What Will Happen If People Start Reading Bad News Every Day?

What Will Happen If People Start Reading Bad News Every Day?

Idea: 689,003 Facebook users participated in a social experiment during which researchers wanted to see what would happen if people started reading bad news every day. For an entire week, some users had to view news posts which had negative information, some of which were incredibly stressful emotionally. The opposite was also tested out by using positive news instead of negative posts.

Result: Like a lot of us instinctively predicted, reading lots of negative news over 7 days changed Facebook users' behavior online. Not only were they more prone to posting similar information as in the negative news more often, they were also more likely to emphasize negative emotions. Meanwhile, positive news stories made people feel happier, act more compassionately and kindly towards others. In other words, the news that we consume on social media shapes how we react because, on some level, we feel that what we see and read happens to us in reality.

PNAS Report

Hans
Community Member
3 months ago

In a way it is very easy. On this planet, every day countless horrible things happen. But countless fantastic things happen as well. While it is not advisable to close the eyes to easier, it will clearly make us happier to focus on the great stuff. Thus, let's visit BP more often, at least if neither TikTok nor Disney reimagination stories are posted.

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#16

How Much Does An Opinion Cost- A Little Or A Lot?

How Much Does An Opinion Cost- A Little Or A Lot?

Study Conducted in 1957 at Stanford University

Idea: Cognitive dissonance is a concept that refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors. This conflict produces an inherent feeling of discomfort leading to a change in one of the attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors to minimize or eliminate the discomfort and restore balance.

It was first investigated by Leon Festinger, after an observational study of a cult that believed that a flood will destroy the Earth. This study inspired an intriguing experiment, conducted by Leon Festinger and James Merrill Carlsmith. The researchers asked the participants to perform a series of dull tasks (such as turning pegs in a pegboard for an hour). Participants' initial attitudes toward this task were highly negative. They were then paid either $1 or $20 to tell a participant waiting in the lobby that the tasks were really interesting.

Result: Almost all of the participants agreed to walk into the waiting room and persuade the next participant that the boring experiment would be fun. When the participants were later asked to evaluate the experiment, the participants who were paid only $1 rated the tedious task as more fun and enjoyable than the participants who were paid $20 to lie. Being paid only $1 is not a sufficient incentive for lying and so those who were paid $1 experienced dissonance. They could only overcome that dissonance by coming to believe that the tasks really were interesting and enjoyable. Being paid $20 provides a reason for turning pegs and therefore, there's no dissonance.

Pictures of Money , APA Psych Net Report

DuG Lipp
Community Member
3 months ago

Cognitive dissonance is one of the most powerful forces shaping our modern political landscape. Too many people shift their views based on group identity who independently wouldn't hold these views. Something to the effect of I'm a (political party) so I agree that climate change is (party's view).

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#17

Study Conducted In 1977 At Stanford University

Study Conducted In 1977 At Stanford University

Study Conducted in 1977 at Stanford University

Idea: A social psychology professor at Stanford University named Lee Ross conducted an experiment that focuses on how people can incorrectly conclude that others think the same way they do, or form a “false consensus” about the beliefs and preferences of others.

In the first part of the study, participants were asked to read about situations in which a conflict occurred and then were told two alternative ways of responding to the situation. They were asked to do three things:

  • Guess which option other people would choose;
  • Say which option they themselves would choose;
  • Describe the attributes of the person who would likely choose each of the two options.

Result: The study showed that most of the subjects believed that other people would do the same as them, regardless of which of the two responses they actually chose themselves.

This phenomenon is referred to as the “false consensus effect”, where an individual thinks that other people think the same way they do when they may not.

The second observation coming from this study is that when participants were asked to describe the attributes of the people who will likely make the choice opposite of their own, they made bold and sometimes negative predictions about the personalities of those who did not share their choice.

Antenna , Stanford University Report

JessG
Community Member
3 months ago

Another instance of how assumptions affect opinions

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