Blue eyed are better than brown eyed

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Behaviour experiments, can, as with any methodology, tool or ideology, go too far. Hopefully they are meant to teach, but how can you tell if you are ”in an experiment” in the first place? Could ”real life” too be sort of an experiment?

Contents


A class divided

Jane Elliot, the schoolteacher who gave her third graders the experience of discrimination. Blue eyed are superior to brown eyed, for one day. The tables are turned the next day so as to give the experience both ways. They felt how to be hurt and how to hurt. Afterwords, indeed many years after, the now adult students repeated over and over – We're like a family now. Watch the PBS documentary online.


The Wave

A similar school class experiment, The Third Wave, in 1967 with history teacher Ron Jones. The students couldn't believe how so many Germans ignored the rise of Nazism or indeed joined the movement, till they got a taste of what ”superiority” might mean for themselves. Below, the 1981 TV movie version. Also Die Welle 2008 German adaptation.


googlevideo


  • The (third) Wave – City Year – Remix Pt 1 of 2


The Stanford prison experiment

1971 Guard-Prisoner experiment, conducted at Stanford University. This one was perhaps an experiment ”gone too far” where sadism and trauma made strong imprints on the participators. One problem it was criticized, was that in these type of role-playing games, often the participants all to eagerly play their designated stereotypical character, ruining the scientific method and control. The Jane Elliot approach, doing the both-way experience, is meant more for the participants rather than for herself. Her own results and analysis is not disregarded, but the essence is the individual understanding. Das Experiment, a German film somewhat based on the same.


Milgram experiment

Yet another even earlier obedience test 1961.


From above Wikipedia link;


  • The first is the theory of conformism, based on Solomon Asch's work, describing the fundamental relationship between the group of reference and the individual person. A subject who has neither ability nor expertise to make decisions, especially in a crisis, will leave decision making to the group and its hierarchy. The group is the person's behavioural model.
  • The second is the agentic state theory, wherein, per Milgram, the essence of obedience consists in the fact that a person comes to view himself as the instrument for carrying out another person's wishes, and he therefore no longer sees himself as responsible for his actions. Once this critical shift of viewpoint has occurred in the person, all of the essential features of obedience follow.


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