Mad Scientists and Their Experiments

Carney Landis – Universal Face Expressions

Carney Landis was a psychologist in 1924. He decided that he wanted to do an experiment on people, to see if emotions could evoke facial expressions. He brought many of the other graduates from his school together, and he recorded their facial expressions as he did different things to them. He did disturbing things, like emitting fetid gases into the air, electrocuting them, and even forcing them to cut off a rat’s head. Thankfully, this kind of experiment is no longer legal.

Duncan MacDougall – The Weight of a Soul

Duncan MacDougall wanted to use an experiment to find out if the soul had a mass. He decided to weigh 6 people with deathly illness before, and after they died. He weighed five men, and one woman. Although only four of the patients actually died, each one dropped about three quarters of an ounce in weight, the exact second they died (After the subtraction of the air in their lungs, lost bodily fluids, etc.)

After he completed this experiment, he repeated it on dogs, but none of them lost weight when they died. He then began to claim that dogs had no souls. Another scientists found that mice had the same results as dogs. Duncan soon abandoned these experiments, and instead attempted to photograph a soul leaving a body, yet he was unsuccessful.

Stanley Milgram – Obedience Testing

In July, 1961, Stanley Milgram decided to perform an experiment to see if anyone would do anything if asked to by a person of higher authority.

Large groups of people were gathered, and everyone was assigned a partner, who was actually an actor. There was a rigged draw, in which the actor would always be assigned the role of ‘learner’, whilst the random person was assigned the role of teacher. The ‘teacher’ would ask the ‘learner’ questions, and the ‘teacher’ would electrocute the ‘learner’ if they answered the question wrong. However, since the ‘learner’ was an actor, they were never actually electrocuted.

The ‘teacher’ was shown the voltage of the electric shock, and it kept increasing each time the ‘learner’ got a question wrong. Whenever the ‘teacher’ decided not to shock the ‘learner’ a man in a suit who would be watching the experiment would tell them to continue. Two thirds of the ‘teachers’ would have continued increasing the voltage, past the survivable limit.

Charles Sheridan and Richard King – Dog Electrocutionists

Charles Sheridan and Richard King were very surprised by the results of Stanley Milgram’s experiment. They decided to see if they could duplicate the results using animals. They had a very similar test, however instead of an actor, they used an animal that was actually getting shocked.

Thirteen men and thirteen women took part in this experiment. All of the women and seven of the men killed the puppy.



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