At the University of Chicago in the early 1920s, psychology grad student William Blatz built a remote-controlled trick chair that would collapse when he pressed a switch. (It was padded to avoid injury.) Then he had subjects sit in the chair while wearing electrodes to measure heart rate and other vital signs. Blatz's goal was to "study the physiology of fear under controlled, repeatable conditions." I think he also probably just wanted to build a remote-controlled trick chair. From Weird Universe:
Blatz offered this description of their reactions:
"The observations of the subjects after the fall, of course, varied, but they were sufficiently in agreement to indicate the arousal of genuine fear in naive subjects. Some examples of these remarks were, 'startled,' 'surprised,' 'frightened,' scared,' etc. In most cases the subjects cried out, and some called the experimenter by name. They all made some effort to escape, thinking an accident had happened. In all cases they acknowledged that they had not anticipated 'anything like it at all.' From these statements, it was concluded that the stimulus was wholly unexpected, and unsuspected."
The electrodes registered the effect of the fright. The hearts of the subjects began hammering, and their breathing rapidly increased. Blatz also observed "striking changes in the electrical conditions of the body in the nature of an increased development of the electromotive force."
"Dr. Blatz’s Trick Chair of Terror" (Weird Universe)
When I watched the Brady Bunch as a youngster, there was one particular deep guffaw that always caught my attention. I knew the laughs were pre-recorded but always assumed that there was just a laugh track tape and they’d press play at the appropriate times. I liked (and still like) the faux communal experience that […]
The active ingredient in Ecstasy, MDMA, is safe and can help to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, a new clinical psychotherapy trial shows.
We think cats are our pets but we are mistaken. The New Yorker interviews Abigail Tucker, author of The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World: She explains how “cats domesticated themselves”—essentially by choosing proximity to people as their survival strategy—and then proceeded to infect one in […]
Few programming languages boast the versatility and user-friendliness of Python, which is why it’s the first language of choice for many aspiring programmers. Regardless of your experience level, you can take the first step to becoming Python-savvy with the Python 3 Bootcamp Bundle, available in the Boing Boing Store for $35 this week. Featuring more than […]
We live during a time where cyberattacks regularly make news headlines, so it should come as no surprise that cybersecurity professionals are experiencing a surge in demand at even the entry level, making now the ideal time to learn the tools of the trade if you’re considering a career switch. The 2018 Supercharged Cybersecurity Bundle offers […]
It’s no secret that companies are eager to hire new project managers and pay them hefty salaries to ensure their initiatives make it from A to B. However, demand alone isn’t quite enough to get your foot in the door as a project manager these days. Without the right certifications, companies will have a hard time […]