On March 16, 1964, 28-year-old Kitty Genovese was attacked by a serial rapist and murderer while walking back to her apartment in New York. Genovese screamed and pleaded for help for over half an hour as the assailant stabbed and raped her, eventually killing her and fleeing. Though neighbors overheard the majority of the attack, the New York Times reported that none interfered or called the police until after it was over. Four years later, social psychologists John Darley and Bibb Latané set out to discover why.
Dear Reddit: thanks for sharing! You guys are awesome.
A few weeks ago I wrote about how our brains make up what we can’t see, and people loved it. Here is something even more wild about how your brain is predisposed to follow a hive mind.
We all know other people influence how we think. Friends, family, and idols help us form opinions on just about everything. But how far can this impact go? What if someone could change not only what we think but what we see? Enter the Asch Conformity Experiments.
In 1951, social psychology pioneer Solomon Asch designed an experiment to test how individuals reacted to group pressure. The setup was simple: subjects were told they were participating in a perceptual experiment. Each was placed in a room with seven “confederates” (actors) posing as fellow participants. Groups were shown two cards, one with a single line and the other with three more lines, and told to match which of the three was the same length as the first. Seats were arranged so that the subject answered last. For the first two trials, everyone gave the obvious, correct answer. Then the real experiment began.
This has been on my mind for quite some time. In fact, I’ve been meaning to post about it for a while now. I cannot understand how anyone could like me.
Allow me to explain. I am not talking about any sort of depression (don’t worry, Mom!). What I am describing is quite different. Though on one level it makes perfect sense, I find it odd that other people can feel toward me as they do toward any other human being.
If you think really hard about what it feels like to exist, you will probably say that you feel like some sort of thing peering out from a body. While you encounter dozens, possibly hundreds of human beings every day, your understanding of them is fundamentally different from your understanding of yourself. Your friends, family, and acquaintances all behave in similar ways to you, but they cannot feel what you feel. Though you can understand and relate to one another, they will never know what it is like to be you.
BOO! Did that scare you? Probably not. There’s nothing scary about reading the word “boo.” Under certain circumstances, however, the word “boo” could be quite frightening. What makes things scary? Why are we afraid? Evolutionary psychologists think they might have the answer.
Fear is a reaction to a perceived danger or threat. Often called a “fight-or-flight” response, fear causes a person to confront the danger or flee to safety. Scientists consider the emotion a result of natural selection—individuals averse to threats survive at a higher rate than their fearless counterparts, allowing them to reproduce and pass their genes to future generations. Basic examples of fear include the urge to hide from monsters or run away from hungry lions.
Sound. It envelopes us. We use it as a tool to communicate with one another and evaluate our surroundings. Sometimes a sound can trigger our emotions. We hear; we laugh. We listen; we cry. Sound holds a mysterious power over us, one we barely understand.