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)
Emma Byrne, a science writer and artificial intelligence researcher, has just published a new book called Swearing is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language and it sounds fucking great. “If you ask people what they think about swearing, they tend to insist that it diminishes the speaker’s credibility and persuasiveness—-especially if the […]
While the typical answer is 33 beats per minute, musician Adam Neely’s answer morphs into a great primer on the “perceptual present,” a concept widely discussed in both the philosophy of music and of consciousness.
People have a tendency towards “illusory superiority,” that is, they imagine themselves to be better than others. Interestingly, the more incompetent you are, the more superior you feel. It comes down to the fact that people who are bad at something “lack the very expertise needed to recognize how badly they’re doing.” This phenomenon is […]
The web is vast, and while there’s room for everyone, competition is stiff when it comes to landing on that first page of a Google search. That’s why developers aren’t afraid to spend exorbitant amounts of time and money on search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure their sites rank higher than others. However, not all […]
Many of us enjoy the aesthetic of vintage electronics, but trying to use most hardware from the 1950’s isn’t necessarily practical. This is especially true where speakers are concerned. While most of us can appreciate the old-school feel of retro speakers, they have a hard time matching the convenience and power delivered by today’s Bluetooth speakers. […]
Python is one of the most popular and versatile programming languages used by developers today, making it an ideal first choice for those looking to kickstart a career in programming. While you could go back to school or sign up for a pricey coding bootcamp, you can learn the essentials of coding with Python at […]