Do you personally know of anyone who would deny their senses to fit in with the majority?
When I was in college I was walking through the psych building. Some students were recruiting others for a psychology experiment. I signed up in a heart beat. I was all of 18 years old, out on my own for the first time, trusting as a baby in the big bad world. It was all an adventure to me, and I was expecting to be answering some questions and stuff. That’s what they told me anyway, so I was totally unprepared for what actually happened.
The scene was this: Big round table, about 5 people, plus me, sitting around the table. I was told that we were all strangers to one another, picked at random the way I had been picked.
The first guy, the one putting on the experiment, picked up a piece of blue paper and said some stuff concluding with, “So before we begin I’ll pass around this yellow paper and I want you all to sign your names.” (There was a little more to it than that so that his comment made sense in the context, but I forget exactly what he said…)
Then he passed it around and people started signing. I said, “But that paper isn’t yellow!” (Sucker me!!)
Where upon the debate began. “What you you mean it’s not yellow? Of course it’s yellow!”
And as the paper went around each person concurred that it was yellow and they’d sign it. These were supposed strangers to each other….
I’m staring at these people like they’re nuts. The paper was BLUE. I was starting to feel a little nervous because they were so natural, sincere and convincing, and I had no idea I was actually IN the experiment, and I began to worry that I was locked in a room with crazy people. (I’d probably see right through the ‘acting’ today, but this was long ago.)
Finally the paper gets to me. I looked at it long and hard and finally said, “Ya’ll are crazy. It’s blue. And I’m not signing it.”
All five started arguing with me over the color. It was a fine job of acting on their part, and really had me kind of shook up but I held my ground.
When I stood up to flat walk out, angry and confused, that’s when the experimenter called time out. Well the paper WAS blue, of course, and that WAS the experiment. I just didn’t know it. The purpose was to see how many people would deny their own senses in order to side with the majority. They told me I’d be surprised how many people did just that.
Do you know of anyone who would deny their own senses like that?