Over the decades, there have been numerous behavioral and psychological experiments to demonstrate ways that people will predictably react when put into certain circumstances. The circumstances of today’s society are predictable given the times and environment that we are experiencing. It is refreshing to know that this programmed behavior can be altered with different inputs. Here are two very well-known experiments in behavioral psychology to demonstrate the point.
The Milgram Social Obedience Experiment
Stanley Milgram’s psychological experiments at Yale in the early 1960’s demonstrated people’s obedience to orders from authority figures. There were three people in each test. The ‘teacher’ (the real test subject) was told by an ‘instructor’ (an actor dressed in a lab coat to insinuate authority) to ask questions to a hidden ‘learner’ (an actor hidden behind a screen). For each wrong answer, the teacher would give the learner an electric shock to prod them. There were increasing screams of pain by the learner as the voltage was increased by the teacher for each wrong answer.
Prior to the experiment, Milgram polled many people as to how much voltage would the teacher administer before saying “I won’t do this!”. The poll showed that people figured that about 3% of the ‘teachers’ (the real test subjects) would go all the way to the full dose (450 volts) despite screams from the learner. In actual fact, 100% gave the 300 volt dose while listening to the screams of the ‘learner’ (an actor pretending to scream) and an astounding 65% gave the full dose. This was shocking! (pardon the pun) Why did they do this?
Milgram concluded that two things must be in place to create such an obedient scenario. First, the person giving the orders is perceived as being qualified to direct the other person’s behavior. In the experiment, it is instructor/teacher. In today’s terms, it is government and public health authorities professing qualifications and scientific data to direct the public’s behavior. Second, the person being ordered about believes that the authority will accept responsibility for what happens. In the experiment the instructor accepted full responsibility. Today, governments and public health authorities are assuring us of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, the value of masks, isolation and the need for mandates to control activity for everyone’s sake. Main stream and social media are supporting the narrative. However, people are increasingly losing trust in authority as they see more and more vaccinated people getting COVID-19. Who will burst the bubble of authority? Enter the truckers, bikers, other protesters and scientists released from censorship by the new Twitter!
The Asch Conformity, Compliance and Obedience Experiment
In the 1950’s, Solomon Asch conducted an experiment to test people’s desire to conform. For example, he would ask 6 people which of three lines (a, b or c) was the same length as the test line. Only one of the 6 responders was the test subject. The other 5 were actors who would deliberately choose the wrong line.
Asch found that 76% of the test subjects conformed to choose the wrong line at least once. When he had one of the 5 actors in the group give the right answer, the conformity of the test subject fell to near zero! People tend not to conform, but trust themselves, when they perceive they are not alone.
Canadians are realizing that the government and public health have had an agenda of control, albeit supposedly for the good of the population at large. Journalists have been complicit in this movement as well with biased reporting. They are represented by the 5 actors in Asch’s first experiment. Who will come forth to give the right answer and let the test subjects, the public, make up their own mind? Enter, the truckers, bikers, other protesters and scientists released from censorship by the new Twitter.
We are experiencing a valuable lesson in social conformity and obedience. The Canadian trucker’s Freedom Convoy has been a resounding success to raise awareness, even if governments don’t make any changes in the near term. The totalitarian tide is starting to turn, thanks to the men and women who deliver just about everything that we eat, wear and use.