Category:
Psychology

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 ()
Category: Money, Experiments, Psychology, 1930s

Cash Amnesia

The term "cash amnesia" describes using cash for purchases you don't want to be reminded of later (such as "guilty pleasures and other hard-to-justify purchases"). As opposed to using a credit card, where you'll see the purchases on your statement later.

Researchers at the Stanford Graduate School of Business studied whether people really now use cash in this way by analyzing purchases at the Stanford Bookstore. They concluded that "customers were more likely to pay in cash for harder-to-justify items like stuffed plush mascots and Christmas ornaments."

Makes sense to me. I don't often carry cash in my wallet, but when I do it always feels like I've got free money to spend — because anything I buy with it won't bump up that month's credit card bill.

More info: stanford.edu

Posted By: Alex - Sun Aug 06, 2023 - Comments (2)
Category: Money, Psychology

Model of the year

I'm sure some psychologist must have conducted a study to see how much pain people would suffer in order to avoid embarrassment. If not, the case of Marcy Kwapil, chosen as "1975 model of the year" in Racine, Wisconsin, would offer an example. Rather than risk the embarrassment of disrupting a parade to get off the burning hot hood of a car, she suffered through to the end, incurring third-degree burns.

Roanoke Times - Aug 19, 1975



Below is the only picture I could find of Marcy Kwapil. She's the second from the right.

Racine Journal Times - Oct 25, 1973

Posted By: Alex - Wed May 03, 2023 - Comments (2)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Psychology, 1970s

The influence of odors on creative thinking

There have been a variety of studies examining how psychoactive drugs affect behavior and creative output. But could smells also have a psychoactive effect? That was the question posed in a 1958 experiment conducted by scientist Leo H. Narodny — published in an obscure trade journal, The Perfumery & Essential Oil Record. Narodny wrote: "It may be possible, by inhaling certain odours, to influence creative imagination without endangering the whole brain by an excessive dosage of drugs."

He used a textile designer as his test subject. Every day, for two weeks, he had her draw a design while breathing unscented air. Then, after breathing in air saturated with an odorous essential oil (such as bergamot, vanilla, peppermint, or cedarwood), she drew a second design. Some of the results are below.







It was hard to draw conclusions based on such a small sample size, but Narodny felt that the designer tended to draw more abstract patterns when exposed to the essential oils.

Nadia Berenstein offers more details about the experiment on her "Flavor Added" blog.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Mar 25, 2023 - Comments (2)
Category: Art, Experiments, Psychology, Smells and Odors

The taste of food in dark isolation

Beatrice Finkelstein, a nutrition researcher at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, conducted a series of "dark-isolation studies" during the 1950s. Subjects were placed for periods of 6 to 72 hours in a totally dark, sound proof chamber furnished with a bed, chair, refrigerator, and chemical toilet.



The purpose of this was to find out how astronauts might react to being confined in a small, dark space for a prolonged period of time. And in particular how their responses to food might change.

Some of her results:

Food has had varying degrees of significance. Some subjects have spent excessive amounts of time eating, nibbling, or counting food; others have become very angry with the food or very fond of it. Here again, evidence is strong that food in a situation of stress may be used as a tool to obtain personal satisfactions.


But the stranger result was how the lack of visual input completely changed the flavor of the food:

Palatability and acceptability of food in many instances are contrary to that on the ground or in the air; e.g., brownies have enjoyed only a fair degree of acceptability whereas ordinarily they are highly acceptable; canned orange juice usually rates low in acceptability; in isolation it has moderate to high acceptability. Data also indicate that the ability to discriminate one food from another within the same food group is impaired. All meats taste alike. Subjects are unable to distinguish one canned fruit from another. White, whole wheat, and rye breads used in sandwiches are similar in taste. Thus it is quite apparent that removal of the visual cues ordinarily associated with eating interferes with the taste and enjoyment of food and therefore the acceptability of food.

More info: "Feeding crews in air vehicles of the future"

Beatrice Finkelstein (source)

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jan 30, 2023 - Comments (4)
Category: Food, Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy, Experiments, Psychology

Noses

Read it here.



Posted By: Paul - Fri Jan 20, 2023 - Comments ()
Category: Body, Science, Psychology, Self-help Schemes, 1950s

Asneezia

In a 1985 report published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, Dr. G.D. Shukla brought a new condition to the attention of the medical community — the inability to sneeze. He named this 'Asneezia'. The sufferers were 'Asneezics'. His original article is behind a paywall, but a summary from Brain/Mind Bulletin is below:

Brain/Mind Bulletin - July 1990



Later correspondents to the British Journal of Psychiatry were skeptical. One questioned whether Shukla's patients really suffered from this condition, or if they were simply delusional. Another proposed verifying the reality of Asneezia by exposing patients to "the most noxious inhalant allergen."

Posted By: Alex - Fri Oct 21, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Health, Psychology

Hi-Fi Addiction

Back in 1957, Dr. H. Angus Bowes argued that many Hi-Fi enthusiasts were, in fact, addicted to their music systems in an unhealthy way. I'm sure there are still people today who exhibit similar symptoms.

The addict gets a great feeling of control when, with a flick of the wrist, he can attenuate his treble, emphasize his bass, turn the volume down to a whisper or blast his neighborhood with a "Niagara" of sound.

One addict said he would not be satisfied until he could hear the drip of saliva from the French horns as they were emptied after a powerful brass passage, Dr. Bowes reported.

El Paso Herald-Post - Apr 15, 1957

Posted By: Alex - Wed Oct 19, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Music, Psychology, 1950s

Another Miss Psy War

I looked through an online newspaper archive to see if I could find out anything about those "Miss Psywar" photos Paul posted two days ago. I didn't. But I did come across another Miss Psywar.

Bonnie Halpin was chosen as "Miss Psy War of 1962" by the 349th Psychological Warfare Company.

Arlington Heights Herald - July 12, 1962



Halpin, it turns out, is a minor celebrity. She had the distinction of being the very first Playboy bunny ever. She also appeared on the cover of the Oct 1962 issue of Playboy magazine. Unfortunately she died in 2004 at the relatively young age of 65.

More info about Halpin: FindAGrave.com



Hackensack Record - Apr 30, 2004

Posted By: Alex - Thu Aug 25, 2022 - Comments ()
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Psychology, 1960s, Armed Forces

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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