Artificial Blitzkriegs

I came across a description of this experiment in an old newspaper (Reno Evening Gazette, Sep 8, 1941) and have never found any other references to it. The experiment was conducted by British psychologists who wanted to find out if "civilian populations can be made immune, through familiarity, to fear caused by air raid noises." The methodological problems with the design of the experiment are obvious, but it's interesting that it was conducted nevertheless. The details follow:

The London experiment consisted of herding workers, children and bomb-shocked neurotics into underground vaults and there subjecting them to an 'artificial blitz bombing.'
Sound effects used in the test were recordings made during one of London's worst air raids last year, amplified to simulate the real thing. An Associated Press writer who witnessed the experiment reported:
"The sounds swelled in the dark vault. The guns kept banging. Then big bombs burst. The guns kept up. More bombs. Then the crackle of flames. Next clanging fire engines added their noise, the other sounds continuing."
According to the reporter, the subjects stood the test very well: 'No one was crying out. A flashlight swung around the room, revealing drawn faces and frightened eyes. But no one was swooning. The experimenters stepped up the amplification.'
The British psychologists responsible for the experiment were reported delighted with the results. They said it proved their theory that whole populations could be exposed to 'artificial blitzkriegs' and thus rendered immune to fear during air raids.
     Posted By: Alex - Thu Apr 09, 2009
     Category: Science | Experiments | Psychology | War

Dumbfouned, ASD didn't exist back in 1941. Human testing wasn't uncommon back then. The evidence suggests that my dad was a victim of human testing in WWII. Of course the records we all lost/burnt up but the scaring on his lungs told the story.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 04/09/09 at 11:48 AM
Ah, the birth of Heavy Metal Rock. Louder.....No LOUDER.

What were these guys thinking? People who live next to railroad crossings become immune to the noise and sleep through the train travel and horn tooting. In Nam, Airforce personnel slept a couple of feet from an active flightline, but the squeak of the screen door woke them all up.

And these poor folks, they probably knew that they weren't being bombed.
Posted by Paul in Athens GA on 04/09/09 at 01:57 PM
i guess bombing sounds no longer scare you once you are deaf from the loud noise. also- way to cause post traumatic stress disorder guys!
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 04/09/09 at 02:28 PM
"...children and bomb-shocked neurotics..."

WTF?? gulp

Bomb-shocked neurotics!?! So here you have folks already mentally stressed and let's just put some more on 'em. Yeah, that makes for good, sound research. Won't hurt 'em a bit, I say, not a bit.

"Bomb-shocked Neurotics" sounds like a good name for a band.
Posted by vegas_girl in Vegas Baby!! on 04/09/09 at 02:33 PM
"Bomb-shocked Neurotics"

Headlining at your local brew pub this weekend.
Posted by Paul in Athens GA on 04/09/09 at 02:39 PM
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 04/09/09 at 03:54 PM
Patty, PTSD didn't exist back then; it was shell shock. (see: George Carlin)
Posted by kingmonkey in Athens, Ontario on 04/09/09 at 04:48 PM
ah carlin, he is missed. downer that is a great bit kingmonkey!
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 04/09/09 at 07:34 PM
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