Category:
Psychology

No TV for a year

Back in the early 1970s, a German research group called "The Society for Rational Psychology" challenged 184 people (all regular TV watchers) to go without TV for a year.. with financial incentives to encourage them to stick to the plan.

Briefly all went well, but then things quickly began to go downhill. Frustration grew. The people started to become moody and aggressive. After five months they were all back to watching TV.

The lesson the researchers concluded: "people who watch television regularly are likely to become so addicted they can no longer be happy without it."

What would they conclude about the Internet?

Of course, the study probably needs to be taken with a grain of salt because I can't find any info about this Society for Rational Psychology. Was it some kind of market research group? Nor can I find the write-up from the study itself. Just lots of references to the study in the media.

Buffalo Evening News - May 8, 1972

Posted By: Alex - Fri May 17, 2024 - Comments (3)
Category: Addictions, Television, Psychology, 1970s

The doctor who made rats go insane

Dr. Norman Maier is pretty much unknown today, but Wikipedia notes that his research "received extensive publicity in its day." That research involved making rats go insane.



Life - Mar 6, 1939





The cause of man's mental suffering identified: not being given his breakfast promptly at 7 am.

The Michigan scientist said he could not actually say that his rats suffered nervous breakdowns when they were frustrated, but that their reactions resembled very closely the reactions of human beings when they did not get what they wanted.

Thus a man who is "conditioned" to expect his breakfast promptly at 7 o'clock in the morning and does not get it may develop a nervous disorder if his wife fails to provide it at that time for many mornings in succession.

Detroit Free Press - Jan 1, 1939

Posted By: Alex - Mon May 13, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Animals, Psychology, 1930s

Aspirin-Induced Musical Hallucinations

A 1985 letter in the New England Journal of Medicine reported the unusual case of a 70-year-old woman who kept hearing music playing in her head, particularly the song "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling." After ruling out other possible causes, her doctor eventually suspected the music might be due to the high doses of aspirin she was taking. And sure enough, when she reduced her aspirin intake, the music stopped.

I would never have thought that aspirin could cause musical hallucinations!

Tampa Bay Times - Apr 2, 1986



The letter itself is behind a paywall, but I was able to find a brief article that the woman's doctor (James R. Allen) wrote about the case in the magazine of the Minnesota Medical Association.





Minnesota Medicine - Nov 2008

Posted By: Alex - Wed May 01, 2024 - Comments (5)
Category: Medicine, Music, Psychology

For relief of emotional stress

For housewives on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Medical Economics - Mar 2, 1959

Posted By: Alex - Wed Mar 20, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Medicine, Psychology, 1950s

Person-Alysis Game

Reveal which member of the family has an Oedipus Complex! Who's a sociopath? Good fun!

The entry at Board Game Geek.



Posted By: Paul - Thu Mar 14, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Bad Habits, Neuroses and Psychoses, Games, Hobbies and DIY, Psychology, 1950s

The science of shaking Christmas presents

Researchers at the University of Michigan have been studying people shaking boxes in order to shed light on "epistemic action understanding." Or rather, "Can one person tell, just by observing another person’s movements, what they are trying to learn?"

In other words, as you watch someone shake a box, can you figure out what information they're trying to gather about the contents of the box (i.e. the shape or quantity of things in it)?

More info: "Seeing and understanding epistemic actions"

Posted By: Alex - Sat Dec 30, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Science, Experiments, Psychology, Christmas

Twin Telepathy

1965: Two eye doctors published an article in the journal Science detailing what appeared to be a form of telepathy found in two sets of twins. The brainwaves of the twins seemed to be linked. When the brainwaves of one changed (by having him close his eyes), the brainwaves of the other twin would change also, even though the two were in separate rooms.

The doctors examined 16 sets of twins, but only found the linked brainwave phenomenon in two of them. Why these two? The doctors speculated that they were "serene" whereas the other twins demonstrated "impatient anxiety and apprehension about the testing procedure."

It's surprising the doctors got their article published in Science, since that journal doesn't usually consider anything that smacks too much of parapsychology.

You can find a copy of their Science article ("Extrasensory Electroencephalographic Induction between Identical Twins") here.

More info about twin telepathy at Psi Encyclopedia.

Los Angeles Times - Dec 22, 1965



Science - Oct 15, 1965

Posted By: Alex - Sun Nov 12, 2023 - Comments (5)
Category: Paranormal, Science, Psychology, Twins, Lookalikes & Doppelgangers, 1960s

Cigarette Psychology

Dr. William Neutra claimed that he could know a person's personality simply by observing the way they held a cigarette. At least, a man's personality. Women, he believed, were too "affected and unnatural" as smokers, and so didn't reveal much of their true personality.

The two illustrated articles below were published twenty years apart. Note that some of the interpretations differ, such as the gesture that he believes indicates a "hail fellow."





Life - May 8, 1939



Harrisburg Telegraph - Sep 6, 1939





Caper Magazine - May 1959

Posted By: Alex - Fri Oct 20, 2023 - Comments (8)
Category: Psychology, Smoking and Tobacco

Hoover Dam music soothes mentally ill

I've visited the Hoover Dam a number of times but had never heard about its unusual acoustic properties that produce "a soothing effect on violently ill mental patients when they listen to musical recordings made at the dam site."

I searched in vain for copies of these Hoover Dam sound recordings.

Los Angeles Times - Sep 22, 1955

Posted By: Alex - Mon Sep 11, 2023 - Comments (3)
Category: Music, Psychology, 1950s

Whole brain not needed for handling money

Mention to any friends who are bankers or accountants that science has shown they could have a frontal lobotomy and still do their job, and see how they react.

Click to enlarge

Posted By: Alex - Mon Sep 04, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Money, Experiments, Psychology, 1930s

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