Milgram experiment

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pages: 405 words: 121,531

Influence: Science and Practice by Robert B. Cialdini


Albert Einstein, attribution theory, bank run, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, desegregation, experimental subject, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milgram experiment, Ralph Waldo Emerson, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds

., & Hawes, R. (1978). Effects of film modeling on the reduction of anxiety-related behaviors in individuals varying in level of previous experience in the stress situation. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 46, 1357–1374. Meyerwitz, B. E., & Chaiken, S. (1987). The effect of message framing on breast self-examination attitudes, intentions, and behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 500–510. Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral study of obedience. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67, 371–378. Milgram, S. (1970). The experience of living in cities. Science, 13, 1461–1468. Milgram, S. (1974). Obedience to authority. New York: Harper & Row. Milgram, S., Bickman, L., & Berkowitz, O. (1969). Note on the drawing power of crowds of different size. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 13, 79–82.

First, a later experiment showed that the subjects’ sex was irrelevant to their willingness to give all the shocks to the victim; female Teachers were just as likely to do so as were the males in Milgram’s initial study. Another experiment investigated the explanation that subjects weren’t aware of the potential physical danger to the victim. In this experiment the victim was instructed to announce that he had a heart condition and to declare that his heart was being affected by the shock: “That’s all. Get me out of here. I told you I had heart trouble. My heart’s starting to bother me. I refuse to go on. Let me out.” Once again the results were the same; 65 percent of the subjects carried out their duties faithfully through to the maximum shock. Finally, the explanation that Milgram’s subjects were a twisted, sadistic bunch not at all representative of average citizens has proven unsatisfactory as well.

The people who answered Milgram’s newspaper ad to participate in his “memory” experiment represented a standard cross section of ages, occupations, and educational levels within our society. What’s more, later on, a battery of personality scales showed these people to be quite normal psychologically, with not a hint of psychosis as a group. They were, in fact, just like you and me; or, as Milgram likes to term it, they are you and me. If he is right that his studies implicate us in their grisly findings, the unanswered question becomes an uncomfortably personal one, “What could make us do such things?” * * * The Milgram Study The picture shows the Learner (victim) being strapped into a chair and fitted with electrodes by the lab-coated experimenter and the true subject. * * * Milgram is sure he knows the answer.


pages: 577 words: 149,554

The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey by Michael Huemer


Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, cognitive dissonance, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky,, Eratosthenes, experimental subject, framing effect, Gini coefficient, illegal immigration, impulse control, Isaac Newton, Julian Assange, laissez-faire capitalism, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, Milgram experiment, moral hazard, Phillip Zimbardo, profit maximization, profit motive, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, unbiased observer, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks

Postexperimental interviews established that subjects were convinced that the situation was what it appeared to be and that the learner was receiving extremely painful electric shocks. Given this, a teacher clearly ought not to continue administering shocks after the learner demands to be released. To do so would have been a serious violation of the victim’s human rights. At some point, the experiment would have amounted to torture and then murder. While the experimenter has some right to direct the conduct of his experiment, no one would say he has the right to order torture and murder. What would you have done if you had been a subject in the experiment? Milgram described the experiment to students, psychiatrists, and ordinary adults and asked them to predict both how they themselves would behave if they were in the experiment and how most other people would behave.10 Of 110 respondents, every one said that they would defy the experimenter at some point, explaining their reasons in terms of compassion, empathy, and principles of justice.

Some believe that it is dangerous to undermine belief in authority. 6.1.2 The appeal to popular opinion Some believe that the rejection of authority is too far from common-sense political beliefs to be taken seriously. 6.2 The Milgram experiments 6.2.1 Setup Milgram devised an experiment in which subjects would be ordered to administer electric shocks to helpless others. 6.2.2 Predictions Most people expect that subjects will defy the orders of the experimenter. 6.2.3 Results Two-thirds of subjects obey fully, even to the point of administering apparently lethal shocks. 6.2.4 The dangers of obedience The experiment shows that belief in authority is very dangerous. 6.2.5 The unreliability of opinions about authority The experiment also shows that people have a strong pro-authority bias. 6.3 Cognitive dissonance People may seek to rationalize their own obedience to the state by devising theories of authority. 6.4 Social proof and status quo bias People are biased toward commonly held beliefs and the practices of their own society. 6.5 The power of political aesthetics 6.5.1 Symbols The state employs symbols to create an emotional and aesthetic sense of its own power and authority. 6.5.2 Rituals Rituals serve a similar function. 6.5.3 Authoritative language Legal language and the language of some political philosophers serve to encourage feelings of respect for authority. 6.6 Stockholm Syndrome and the charisma of power 6.6.1 The phenomenon of Stockholm Syndrome Kidnapping victims sometimes emotionally bond with their captors, as in the case of the Stockholm bank robbery. 6.6.2 Why does Stockholm Syndrome occur?

Their predictions of others’ behavior were only slightly less optimistic: respondents expected that only a pathological fringe of 1–2 percent of the population would proceed all the way to 450 volts. The psychiatrists Milgram surveyed thought that only one experimental subject in a thousand would proceed to the end of the shock board. 6.2.3 Results Milgram’s experiment shows something surprising, not only about our dispositions to obey but also about our self-understanding. The predictions of psychiatrists, students, and lay people fell shockingly far from reality. In the actual experiment, 65 percent of subjects complied fully, eventually administering the 450-volt shock three times to a silent and apparently lifeless victim. Most subjects protested and showed obvious signs of anxiety and reluctance – but ultimately, they did what they were told. Milgram followed up the experiment with mailed surveys to participants. Despite the stress involved in the experiment, virtually no one regretted participating.


pages: 379 words: 113,656

Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age by Duncan J. Watts


Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, business process, corporate governance, Drosophila, Erdős number, experimental subject, Frank Gehry, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, invisible hand, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, Milgram experiment, Murray Gell-Mann, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Paul Erdős, rolodex, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, Y2K

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 99, 2566–2572 (2002). CHAPTER FIVE: SEARCH IN NETWORKS A compendium of Milgram’s research over his entire, fascinating career is Milgram, S. The Individual in a Social World: Essays and Experiments, 2d ed. (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1992). A detailed description of his obedience experiments is in Milgram, S. Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View (Harper & Row, New York, 1974). So What Did Milgram Really Show? Judith Kleinfeld’s paper that exams the history and empirical validity of the small-world problem is Kleinfeld, J. S. The small world problem. Society, 39(2), 61–66 (2002). The most significant follow-up study to the original experiment is one that Milgram conducted with another student, Charles Korte, in which they attempted to connect a white population of senders in Los Angeles with white and African-American targets in New York: Korte, C., and Milgram, S.

In another variation, the participant was required to hold the subject’s hand on an electric plate as he was being shocked! Even today, it is hard to read Obedience to Authority, Milgram’s elegant account of this work, without pausing for an occasional shudder. But in the postwar ideological landscape of 1950s America, Milgram’s findings defied belief, and the experiment became a focus of national outrage. Although supremely controversial, this experiment did propel Milgram into the pantheon of public intellectuals whose work is so widely remembered and frequently recounted that it has become embedded in the culture itself. We are still shocked (so to speak) by Milgram’s experimental results, but we don’t question their authenticity, even though his experiments have never been repeated. (In fact, under today’s human subjects regulations, they couldn’t be.) Nor do we generally question his research on the small-world problem (from chapter 1), even though we continue to find his results intriguing and surprising.

SO WHAT DID MILGRAM REALLY SHOW? THE PSYCHOLOGIST JUDITH KLEINFELD STUMBLED ONTO WHAT now seems a classic instance of such misplaced faith while she was teaching her undergraduate psychology class. She was casting around for a hands-on experiment that her students could perform and that would give them a sense of the applicability of what they were learning in lectures to their lives outside the classroom. Milgram’s small-world experiment seemed like a perfect candidate, and Kleinfeld decided she would get her students to redo it in twenty-first-century style, using e-mail instead of paper letters. As it turned out, she never actually got around to it. In preparation for the experiment itself, Kleinfeld started by reading Milgram’s papers. Rather than setting a firm base for her experiment, however, Milgram’s results—scrutinized carefully—seemed only to raise discomforting questions about his own.


pages: 327 words: 103,336

Everything Is Obvious: *Once You Know the Answer by Duncan J. Watts


affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, butterfly effect, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, East Village, easy for humans, difficult for computers, edge city,, Erik Brynjolfsson, framing effect, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, happiness index / gross national happiness, high batting average, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, interest rate swap, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, lake wobegon effect, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, medical malpractice, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, oil shock, packet switching, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, planetary scale, prediction markets, pre–internet, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, school choice, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, ultimatum game, urban planning, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

And yet that’s precisely what happened one day in the early 1970s when a group of psychology students went out into the subway system on the suggestion of their teacher, the social psychologist Stanley Milgram. Milgram was already famous for his controversial “obedience” studies, conducted some years earlier at Yale, in which he had shown that ordinary people brought into a lab would apply what they thought were deadly electrical shocks to a human subject (really an actor who was pretending to be shocked) simply because they were told to do so by a white-coated researcher who claimed to be running an experiment on learning. The finding that otherwise respectable citizens could, under relatively unexceptional circumstances, perform what seemed like morally incomprehensible acts was deeply disturbing to many people—and the phrase “obedience to authority” has carried a negative connotation ever since.1 What people appreciated less, however, is that following the instructions of authority figures is, as a general rule, indispensible to the proper functioning of society.

See Hoorens (1993), Klar and Giladi (1999), Dunning et al (1989), and Zuckerman and Jost (2001) for other examples of illusory superiority bias. See Alicke and Govorun (2005) for the leadership result. CHAPTER 1: THE MYTH OF COMMON SENSE 1. See Milgram’s Obedience to Authority for details (Milgram, 1969). An engaging account of Milgram’s life and research is given in Blass (2009). 2. Milgram’s reaction was described in a 1974 interview in Psychology Today, and is reprinted in Blass (2009). The original report on the subway experiment is Milgram and Sabini (1983) and has been reprinted in Milgram (1992). Three decades later, two New York Times reporters set out to repeat Milgram’s experiment. They reported almost exactly the same experience: bafflement, even anger, from riders; and extreme discomfort themselves (Luo 2004, Ramirez and Medina 2004). 3. Although the nature and limitations of common sense are discussed in introductory sociology textbooks (according to Mathisen [1989], roughly half of the sociology texts he surveyed contained references to common sense), the topic is rarely discussed in sociology journals.

As plausible as this method sounds, however, it is not how messages actually propagate through social networks, as we know now from a series of “small-world experiments” that began not long after Jacobs was writing. The first of these experiments was conducted by none other than Stanley Milgram, the social psychologist whose subway experiment I discussed in Chapter 1. Milgram recruited three hundred people, two hundred from Omaha, Nebraska, and the other hundred from around Boston, to play a version of the messages game with a Boston stockbroker who was a friend of Milgram’s and who had volunteered to serve as the “target” of the exercise. Much as in Jacobs’s imaginary version, participants in Milgram’s experiment knew whom they were trying to reach, but could only send the message to someone whom they knew on a first-name basis; thus each of the three hundred “starters” would send it to a friend, who would send it to a friend, and so on, until someone either refused to participate or else the message chain reached the target.


pages: 369 words: 90,630

Mindwise: Why We Misunderstand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want by Nicholas Epley


affirmative action, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Cass Sunstein, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, friendly fire, invisible hand, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, payday loans, Peter Singer: altruism, pirate software, Richard Thaler, school choice, the scientific method, theory of mind

The list of similar scientific demonstrations is long. One of the most famous series of experiments in psychology’s history is Stanley Milgram’s research on obedience to authority. Most of us believe we’re independent thinkers with kind hearts, so if we were told to deliver enough electric shock to kill another person in an experiment, most of us would believe that we’d refuse immediately. Indeed, when Milgram surveyed different groups of people, nobody predicted that they would be willing to deliver more than 300 volts of electricity to another person, and most believed they would stop far sooner. And yet when Milgram set up an experiment in which people were asked to do just that, he found that in his experiment everyone was willing to deliver 300 volts of electric shock to another person and a full 62.6 percent pressed a switch that they were told would deliver 450 volts, long past the point where it appeared that the other person might have died from the experience.4 Results like these are interesting but, in my experience, rarely convince anyone that their powers of introspection are weaker than they would guess.

You are missing the contextual triggers and unconscious associations that are actually responsible for much of what you think and do. LaPiere’s hotel and restaurant clerks (whom I described at the beginning of this chapter) knew their conscious attitudes toward Asians, but they missed the behavioral responses that would be triggered automatically when a smiling, friendly, and real Asian human being actually asked for a room. When thinking about how you would respond if asked to deliver electric shocks to another human being in the Milgram obedience studies, you know your conscious aversion to harming another person, but you miss the difficulty you would have in saying no to a clear and reassuring authority figure in the heat of the moment after having lived much of your life following orders from authority figures. You are missing the construction that happens inside your own brain: the triggers and intervening neural processes that make you do what you do and think what you think.

Attitudes vs. actions. Social Forces 13: 230–37. 2. Kawakami, K., et al. (2009). Mispredicting affective and behavioral responses to racism. Science 323: 276–78. 3. LaFrance, M., and J. Woodzicka (2001). Real versus imagined reactions to sexual harassment. Journal of Social Issues 57: 15–30. 4. Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral study of obedience. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 67: 371–78. A recent replication of this experiment found nearly identical obedience rates: Burger, J. M. (2009). Replicating Milgram: Would people still obey today? American Psychologist 64: 1–11. 5. Buehler, R., D. Griffin, and M. Ross (1994). Exploring the “Planning Fallacy”: Why people underestimate their task completion times. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 67: 366–81. 6. Buehler, R., D. Griffin, and M.


pages: 755 words: 121,290

Statistics hacks by Bruce Frey


Berlin Wall, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, distributed generation,, feminist movement, game design, Hacker Ethic, index card, Milgram experiment, p-value, place-making, RFID, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, statistical model

With his obedience studies of the early 1960s, Milgram demonstrated that when people of authority (such as research assistants in lab coats) ask study participants to do something that makes them uncomfortable, such as administering (or believing that they are administering) an electric shock to another research subject, a surprising number of people will do it. His research led to much insight as to why people might "obey orders" even if they disagree with them. Two more recent studies have confirmed that the average number of connections between people in social networks is about six or even a little less. Doing a Small Study There are a couple of ways to use these methods that don't take quite as much work. The goal of the activity could be scientific or just party fun. Milgram via email Duplicate the Milgram study, but use the convenience of email.

The best way is to duplicate the methods used by Stanley Milgram. Choose a target Milgram started by picking someone he knew who worked in Boston, Massachusetts, where Milgram lived. It wasn't Kevin Bacon, but a stockbroker who agreed to act as the target, the final end of a chain that Milgram hoped to build. You could pick your best friend or your school principal or your University's president. You gotta ask their permission first, though (something about ethics). Recruit participates Milgram then randomly sampled from two communities: Boston and Omaha, Nebraska. This sampling scheme was meant to represent the two extremes of likelihood that anyone would know the target. Start with people close by and people far away, and the average of their data should be fairly representative of the population. Milgram used 300 randomly chosen recruits.

Find the smallest number necessary to include even the longest chain, and you have the maximum distance. The Boston target in Milgram's study eventually received about 100 letters. Of those, the average number of links was sixthus, the origin of the number six in "six degrees of separation." Notice, however, that not all letters arrived, so we don't know from this one study that six is really the right number. The study also took place in the U.S. only, not worldwide, so grander views of there being only a few degrees of separation between any two people on the whole planet are philosophically based, not empirically derived. The response rate that Milgram enjoyed was very high, considering the complicated requests made of participants. This is not surprising, because Milgram knew something about obedience. Stanley Milgram is probably better known for another clever study with more disturbing results he conducted some years before his small world study.


pages: 415 words: 123,373

Inviting Disaster by James R. Chiles


airline deregulation, cuban missile crisis, Exxon Valdez, Maui Hawaii, Milgram experiment, North Sea oil, Piper Alpha, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance

In a simple but thorough set of psychological investigations at Yale in 1961, Stanley Milgram discovered that most of the people he tested were entirely willing to give somebody else multiple strong electric shocks if the commands to continue came from an authority figure, in this case a white-coated “scientist” who told them that shocks were necessary as part of a memory and learning experiment. The shocks were not real, and the forty-seven-year-old “victim” was following a script, but for all Milgram’s subjects knew, the jolts were bringing a man to unconsciousness and perhaps even death. Milgram found immediately that subjects were so willing to continue straight through the series of thirty shocks, rising from 15 to 450 volts, that he had to change the experiment to have the victim yell and plead for release as the shocks went up.

There’s the risk of being fired for insubordination. Even without this fear, the average employee is going to have some second thoughts about causing trouble for the people who hired him or for his coworkers. A sharply worded internal memo, then, is a feel-good solution. It puts the worker on record as one of the good guys without challenging the structure of power and obedience that Stanley Milgram’s experiments revealed. We know from a long list of catastrophes that warning memos from inside didn’t make any difference. That would include the R.101, the Challenger, Three Mile Island, Bhopal, the DC-10 and its cargo doors, Apollo 1, and others. The mistake made by people who stop at memos is that they think their writing will stand on its own—that its hard truth will somehow vanquish opposition as quickly as Dorothy Gale’s bucket of water melted the Wicked Witch.

Nevertheless, some participants continued to administer the shock all the way to the end of the series even after the “victim” went completely silent, apparently unconscious or dead. Many of Milgram’s subjects were unhappy and tense about what they were doing: pausing, fretting, questioning, but then going ahead under pressure of orders. One of the comparative few who stopped and flatly refused to continue, despite repeated demands from the “scientist,” was a thirty-one-year-old German-born woman who had spent part of her adolescence under Hitler’s rule. Not a single subject simply stood up and walked out. One way that some people made themselves feel better was to try and excel with the technical details, concentrating on which switch to push and for how long. “This is, perhaps, the most fundamental lesson of our study,” Milgram wrote, “[that] ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process….


pages: 387 words: 120,155

Inside the Nudge Unit: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference by David Halpern


Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, availability heuristic, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, cognitive dissonance, collaborative consumption, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, happiness index / gross national happiness, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, libertarian paternalism, market design, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, nudge unit, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, presumed consent, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Simon Kuznets, skunkworks, the built environment, theory of mind, traffic fines, World Values Survey

Most people – and certainly not just psychology students – have heard of the famous ‘compliance experiments’ of Stanley Milgram, in which subjects seemed prepared to electrocute a fellow subject to death just because they were asked to do so. Milgram showed that ordinary Americans, invited to take part in a ‘learning experiment’ in a respectable university, would keep administering a steadily increasing shock to the subject that they had just met but who was now screaming and pounding on the wall in the next room for them to stop. All it seemed to take was a man in a white coat telling them that ‘the experiment required them to continue’. More than two-thirds of subjects did continue (in Milgram’s typical experiment) even though, as far as they could tell, the now silent subject had either passed out or died. 10 Milgram’s work itself built on earlier studies by Solomon Asch showing that most subjects would choose an obviously wrong answer if those before them also chose it.

But you can immediately see that the disclosure is both intrusive and distorting of the actual experiment. This is not unusual in the social sciences or in business. Many experiments are run which depend on the subject not knowing that they are part of an experiment. For this reason, the academic community has developed extensive ethical clearance processes so that someone other than the experimenter themselves is involved in making the judgment as to whether the experiment is acceptable to perform. These rules and conventions have tightened over the years. Indeed, many of the most famous experiments in psychology from the 1950s and 1960s would probably no longer be given ethical clearance, such as Milgram’s compliance experiments at Stanford (see Chapter 1). Governments have different checks and balances from those in a university.

In particular, it felt too thin on the large variety of what those working on social cognition call ‘self-serving attributional biases’ (e.g. when things go well it’s down to us, but when they go badly its always someone else’s fault) and on important linked effects such as optimism bias. SNAP was also rather thin on some of the powerful influences documented by social psychology, such as the power of authority (cf. Milgram experiments) or reciprocity (e.g. our strong tendency to help someone who has helped us, in even the most minor way). Michael and Ivo spent several months trawling through the literature, identifying effects that had been vigorously and repeatedly demonstrated; filtering out those that there had been few replications of; and clustering those that seemed to be close relatives of each other. We used these reviews to create groups of related effects, trying to get them down to a robust but more limited and memorable summary of the burgeoning literature.


pages: 756 words: 228,797

Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne C. Heller


affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Bolshevik threat, conceptual framework, greed is good, laissez-faire capitalism, Milgram experiment, Mont Pelerin Society, New Journalism, open borders, price stability, profit motive, rent control, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, upwardly mobile, wage slave, War on Poverty, Works Progress Administration, young professional

FOUR: WE ARE NOT LIKE OUR BROTHERS: 1934–1938 “Men have been taught”: TF, p. 713. left Los Angeles in their secondhand Nash: Letter to Jean Wick, November 24, 1934 (LOAR, p. 20). in Virginia the car hit a pothole: TPOAR, p. 119. She had already begun to make mental notes: According to JOAR, p. 77, AR made her first actual notes for TF on December 4, 1935. Shoshana Milgram, who has access to the ARI Archives, claims that AR was already working on an outline when she traveled from California to New York (Shoshana Milgram, “The Hero in the Soul Manifested in the World,” a lecture presented at the ARI’s Centenary Conference, New York, April 23, 2005). The car was wrecked: “The Hero in the Soul, Manifested in the World.” She also got on well: Letter to Mary Inloes, December 10, 1934 (LOAR, pp. 20–21). one-room furnished apartment: Harry Binswanger, dinner lecture, ARI Centenary Conference, April 24, 2005; thanks to Fred Cookinham for his notes.

Royalties from the play were one of his few discovered sources of income when he declared bankruptcy in February 1936. By then, he was a mere employee of the Shubert Organization, working for $150 a week (“Ex-millionaire Reported Broke,” Los Angeles Times, February 8, 1936, p. 2). removing elements of the motivation of her characters: Unpublished letter cited in Shoshana Milgram’s “Ayn Rand’s Unique and Enduring Contributions to Literature,” lecture, ARI Centenary Conference, July 7, 2005, San Diego. According to Milgram, AR wrote about what was taken out of her play and the fact that she found the first “tier” unsatisfactory as a result. she reportedly told him: “The Hero in the Soul Manifested in the World.” Hayes and Weitzenkorn: “Second Arbitration on Play Royalties,” NYT, January 17, 1936, p. 15. to siphon off one-tenth of her royalties: “Agency Agreement with Ann Watkins,” October 30, 1935 (A.

only novelist she ever acknowledged: Ayn Rand, lecture on “The Art of Fiction,” January—June 1958, New York, private notes courtesy of John Allen. Anna would read aloud: Ayn Rand, “Victor Hugo Allows a Peek at Grandeur,” Los Angeles Times, September 16, 1962, p. 12. The first one of his novels she read: WIAR, p. 158. she retained traces of the plotting techniques: For an excellent discussion of Hugo’s influence on AR, see Shoshana Milgram’s “We the Living and Victor Hugo” in EOWTL, pp. 223–56. “greatest novelist in world literature”: Ayn Rand, introduction to Ninety-Three, The Romantic Manifesto, p. 154. spent in search of rationed millet, peas, and cooking oil: 100 Voices, NR, p. 14; WTL, p. xv. forced to walk all the way from Leningrad: JH, “Conversations with Ayn Rand,” p. 32; details provided in a telephone interview with author, December 13, 2004.


pages: 323 words: 95,939

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff


algorithmic trading, Andrew Keen, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, big-box store, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, cashless society, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, disintermediation, Donald Trump, double helix, East Village, Elliott wave, European colonialism, Extropian, facts on the ground, Flash crash, game design, global supply chain, global village, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, Inbox Zero, invention of agriculture, invention of hypertext, invisible hand, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, Law of Accelerating Returns, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Milgram experiment, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, passive investing, pattern recognition, peak oil, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Nelson Elliott, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y2K

It calls to mind the questions posed back in the 1960s by Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram, who had been fascinated by the impact of spectacle and authority on soldiers’ obedience in Nazi Germany. Milgram wanted to know if German war criminals could have been following orders, as they claimed, and not truly complicit in the death camp atrocities. At the very least, he was hoping to discover that Americans would not respond the same way under similar circumstances. He set up the now infamous experiment in which each subject was told by men in white lab coats to deliver increasingly intense electric shocks to a victim who screamed in pain, complained of a heart condition, and begged for the experiment to be halted. More than half of the subjects carried out the orders anyway, slowly increasing the electric shocks to what they believed were lethal voltages.

See drugs; healthcare “meet me” room (New York City), 180 Memento (movie), 31–32 memory: apocalypto and, 250, 255, 259–60; in computers, 140n; digiphrenia and, 82, 105, 122–23, 127; and digital memory as never forgetting, 155–57; fractalnoia and, 222, 238–39, 240; Michalski’s work on, 238–39; new “now” and, 4–5; overwinding and, 136, 140, 142, 155–57, 181–89; time binding and, 140. See also MyLifeBits; RAM; TheBrain Méro, László, 221–22 Michalski, Jerry, 237–39, 240 microchips, 88, 93, 122–23, 263 microphone screech analogy, 208, 210 Microsoft Corporation, 156, 239; MyLifeBits project at, 239–41 Milgram, Stanley, 37 millenium, 3, 10–11, 17 “Mind” (Bateson cybernetic system), 225–26 MMORPGs (multiplayer online role-playing games), 62–63 Mob Wives (TV show), 39, 149 money/currency: apocalypto and, 258; behavioral finance and, 174–75; cashless societies and, 183–84; centrally-issued, 171, 173; debt and, 5, 173–80; interest-bearing, 3, 171–73, 174, 175–76, 177; kinds of, 145–49; new “now” and, 3, 5; overwinding and, 145–49, 170–80, 183, 184–85, 194; time as, 135, 170–80 Moore, Gordon E., 9 Moore’s Law, 9 morality, 37–38, 250, 259, 260.

See also ethics; values Moritz, Michael, 236–37 mortgages, 5, 168, 174, 175, 176, 177–78, 229, 247 movies: apocalypto and, 247, 248–50; chronobiology and, 88; copies of, 71; digiphrenia and, 84, 101; fractalnoia and, 209; narrative collapse and, 28–32, 58, 67; zombie, 247, 248–50 Moyers, Bill, 13 MTV, 23, 35–36, 143, 154 multitasking, 3–4, 122–26 Museum of Modern Art (New York City), 154–55 music: illegally downloading, 192–93; time/sound and, 114 MyLifeBits (Microsoft project), 239–41 Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) (TV show), 24–25, 201 myths: apocalypto and, 263; brand, 210, 212; digiphrenia and, 76, 78, 111; fractalnoia and, 210, 212–13; narrative collapse and, 13, 16, 39, 64; new “now” and, 4; overwinding and, 164–65, 167, 190 narrative collapse: apocalypto and, 245; change and, 9–10, 14–16; culture and, 12, 13, 30; digiphrenia and, 73; fractalnoia and, 212; games and, 58–66, 67; initial reactions to, 66; as manifestation of present shock, 7, 9–67; millenium and, 10–11; movies and, 28–32, 58, 67; new “now” and, 2, 4, 6; 1965 events and, 14; 1990s and, 9–10, 38–39; now-ist pop culture and, 23–34; Occupy Movement and, 18, 55–58; real-time news and, 43–50; and responses to living in a world without narrative, 39–43; sports and, 39–43; television and, 20–28, 31, 32, 33–34, 35–50, 58, 66, 67; terrorism and, 10–11, 17–18, 48; traditional storytelling and, 18–34. See also storytelling; specific topic Nash, John, 221 Nass, Clifford, 123 National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA), 89–90, 223 National Football League, 41 Nazi Germany, Milgram’s research about obedience in, 37 New Aesthetic, 96 news: continuous cycle of, 54; fractalnoia and, 201–2, 216; narrative collapse and, 43–50, 66; overwinding and, 141–42, 143; public confidence in reporting about, 51; real-time, 43–50; stored, 143. See also blogs; Internet; newspapers; television newspapers, 44 Nisbett, Richard, 234–35 nonverbal communication, 126, 150 now: acting, 159–69; long, 140–49, 193, 194; new, 1–8; as nonexistent, 6; and now-ist popular culture, 23–34.


The Economic Singularity: Artificial intelligence and the death of capitalism by Calum Chace


3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, call centre, Chris Urmson, congestion charging, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Elon Musk,, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, lump of labour, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, McJob, means of production, Milgram experiment, Narrative Science, natural language processing, new economy, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, post scarcity, post-industrial society, precariat, prediction markets, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional

We also know how fragile civilisation is from two famous episodes in experimental psychology. In 1961, Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram recruited students from that elite university, and told them to administer mild electric shocks to incentivise a stranger who was supposed to be learning pairs of words. The shocks were fake, but the students did not know this, and an extraordinary two-thirds of the students were prepared, when urged on by the experimenter, to deliver what appeared to be very painful and damaging doses of electricity.[cccxliv] The experiment has been replicated numerous times around the world, with similar results. Ten years later, Stanford psychology professor Philip Zimbardo, a school friend of Milgram’s, ran a different experiment in which students were recruited and arbitrarily assigned the roles of prisoners and guards in a make-believe prison.

As a trainee BBC journalist writing about Central and Eastern Europe long before the Berlin Wall fell, I soon realised how fortunate I was to have grown up in the capitalist West. I didn’t expect to be heading back in the other direction in later life. [cccxlii] [cccxliii] [cccxliv] [cccxlv] [cccxlvi] [cccxlvii] [cccxlviii] [cccxlix] [cccl] [cccli] [ccclii] : The Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI) in Northern California, The Future of Humanity Institute (FHI) and the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) in England’s Oxford and Cambridge respectively, and the Future of Life Institute (FLI) in Massachussetts.

[ccxcviii] Most current supporters of UBI are on the left, but it has had support from prominent right-wing politicians and economists in the past, notably President Richard Nixon and economists Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. Experiments There have been a surprising number of experiments with UBI: the Basic Income page on Reddit lists 25,[ccxcix] and gives potted descriptions of the purpose and outcomes of six of them.[ccc] All the researchers involved reported excellent results, with the subjects experiencing healthier, happier lives, and not collapsing into lazy lifestyles or squandering the money on alcohol or other drugs. Given that, it is curious that none of the experiments have been extended or made permanent. The declared purpose of many UBI experiments is to investigate the concern that when people receive money for nothing, they stop working. One of the biggest experiments conducted so far, involving all 10,000 people in the small town of Dauphin in Manitoba, Canada, found that the only two social groups which did stop working were teenagers and young mothers, and this was seen as a positive outcome.


pages: 422 words: 131,666

Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back by Douglas Rushkoff


affirmative action, Amazon Mechanical Turk, banks create money, big-box store, Bretton Woods, car-free, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, computer age, corporate governance, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, easy for humans, difficult for computers, financial innovation, Firefox, full employment, global village, Google Earth, greed is good, Howard Rheingold, income per capita, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, market bubble, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Milgram experiment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, peak oil, place-making, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, price stability, principal–agent problem, private military company, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, RFID, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social software, Steve Jobs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, union organizing, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Victor Gruen, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Y2K, young professional

The Real World Back in the 1960s, the psychologist Stanley Milgram was horrified and inspired by the trial of Adolf Eichmann, who engineered the transport of Jews to Nazi death camps. Milgram wanted to know if German war criminals could have been simply “following orders,” as they claimed, and not truly complicit in the death-camp atrocities. At the very least, he was hoping to discover that Americans would not respond the same way under similar circumstances. He set up a now famous experiment in which subjects were instructed by men in white lab coats to deliver increasingly intense electric shocks to victims who screamed in pain, complained of a heart condition, and begged for the experiment to be halted. More than half of the subjects carried out the orders anyway, slowly increasing the electric shocks to seemingly lethal levels.

More than half of the subjects carried out the orders anyway, slowly increasing the electric shocks to seemingly lethal levels. (Although the shocks were not real and the victims were only actors, such experiments were declared unethical by the American Psychological Association in 1973.) Reality TV, at its emotional core, is an ongoing experiment in interpersonal torture that picks up where Milgram left off. Although usually unscripted, reality shows are nonetheless as purposefully constructed as psych experiments: they are setups with clear hypotheses, designed to maximize the probability of conflict and embarrassment. America’s Next Top Model is not really about who wins a modeling contract, but rather about observing what young anorexics are willing to do to one another under the sanctioning authority of supermodel Tyra Banks. Will they steal food, sabotage another contestant’s makeup, or play particularly vicious mind games on one another?

Joe Millionaire was about the moment that an aspiring millionairess learns, under the glare of the television lights, that the man on whom she performed oral sex isn’t really a millionaire at all. Even Oprah Winfrey’s feel-good offering, Your Money or Your Life, features a family in a terrible crisis, and then offers an “expert action team” to fix up whichever toothless crack addict or obese divorcée begs the most pathetically. By sitting still for the elaborately staged social experiments we call reality TV, we are supplying further evidence for Milgram’s main conclusion: “Ordinary people …without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process.” But who is the authority figure in the lab coat granting us permission to delight in the pain of others? Who absolves us of the attendant guilt? Why, it’s the sponsor, whose ad for a national, wholesome brand interrupts the proceedings at just the right moment and bestows on them its seal of approval.


pages: 302 words: 83,116

SuperFreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner


agricultural Revolution, airport security, Andrei Shleifer, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, call centre, clean water, cognitive bias, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, disintermediation, endowment effect, experimental economics, food miles, indoor plumbing, John Nash: game theory, Joseph Schumpeter, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, market design, microcredit, Milgram experiment, oil shale / tar sands, patent troll, presumed consent, price discrimination, principal–agent problem, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, South China Sea, Stephen Hawking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, urban planning, women in the workforce, young professional

“Just about any request which could conceivably be asked of the subject by a reputable investigator,” he wrote, “is legitimized by the quasi-magical phrase “This is an experiment.’” Orne’s point was borne out rather spectacularly by at least two infamous lab experiments. In a 1961–62 study designed to understand why Nazi officers obeyed their superiors’ brutal orders, the Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram got volunteers to follow his instructions and administer a series of increasingly painful electric shocks—at least they thought the shocks were painful; the whole thing was a setup—to unseen lab partners. In 1971, the Stanford psychologist Philip Zimbardo conducted a prison experiment, with some volunteers playing guards and others playing inmates. The guards started behaving so sadistically that Zimbardo had to shut down the experiment. When you consider what Zimbardo and Milgram got their lab volunteers to do, it is no wonder that the esteemed researchers who ran the Dictator game, with its innocuous goal of transferring a few dollars from one undergrad to another, could, as List puts it, “induce almost any level of giving they desire.”

Indeed it did: with open baskets, the churchgoers gave more money, including fewer small-denomination coins, than with closed bags—although, interestingly, the effect petered out once the open baskets had been around for a while. See Soetevent, “Anonymity in Giving in a Natural Context—a Field Experiment in 30 Churches,” Journal of Public Economics 89 (2005). / 123 A “stupid automaton”: see A.H. Pierce, “The Subconscious Again,” Journal of Philosophy, Psychology, & Scientific Methods 5 (1908). / 123 “Forced cooperation”: see Martin T. Orne, “On the Social Psychological Experiment: With Particular Reference to Demand Characteristics and Their Implications,” American Psychologist 17, no. 10 (1962). / 123 “Why Nazi officers obeyed”: see Stanley Milgram, “Behavioral Study of Obedience,” Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 67, no. 4 (1963). / 123 The Stanford prison experiments: see Craig Haney, Curtis Banks, and Philip Zimbardo, “Interpersonal Dynamics in a Simulated Prison,” International Journal of Criminology and Penology 1 (1973).

., 17 life expectancy, 20 life insurance, 94, 200 life span, extending the, 82–87 List, John, 113–20, 121, 123, 125 locavore movement, 166 LoJack (anti-theft device), 173–75 London, England, terrorism in, 92 loss aversion, 214 Lovelock, James, 166, 170, 177 Lowell, Mike, 92 macroeconomics, 16–17, 211 Madison, Wisconsin, home-sales data in, 39 Maintenance of Parents Act, Singapore, 106 Major League Baseball, birthdays among players of, 61, 62 malaria, experiment about, 177, 180, 181 manipulation, and altruism, 125 March of Dimes, 145 marijuana, 66 Martinelli, César, 27–28 Masters, Will, 142 Matthews, H. Scott, 167 Mazumder, Bhashkar, 57, 58 MBA wage study, 45–46 McCloskey, Deirdre (aka Donald McCloskey), 48 McNamara, Robert S., 146–48, 150, 155, 158 media and altruism, 107 and global warming, 11, 165 shark stories in, 14, 15 medical information, 70–74 Medicare, 85 medicine emergency, 66–69, 70–82 errors in, 68–69, 72, 204 false positives in, 92 See also doctors; drugs; hospitals; specific disease methane, 170, 188 Mexico, Oportunidades program in, 27–28 microeconomics, 211 Microsoft Corporation, 73–74, 178, 179, 190 Milgram, Stanley, 123 military, deaths in, 87 monkeys, monetary exchange among, 212–16 Moretti, Enrico, 21–22 Morris, Eric, 9, 10 Moseley, Winston, 98, 125–26, 128, 130, 131 mosquitoes experiment, 177, 180, 181 Mount Pinatubo (Philippines), 175–77, 190, 191, 196 Mount St.


pages: 879 words: 233,093

The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis by Jeremy Rifkin


agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, British Empire, carbon footprint, collaborative economy, death of newspapers, delayed gratification, distributed generation,, energy security, feminist movement, global village, hydrogen economy, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, labour mobility, Mahatma Gandhi, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, planetary scale, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, supply-chain management, surplus humans, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, working poor, World Values Survey

Kocher concluded that in a country with a population the size of the United States and without social restrictions, “it is practically certain that any two individuals can contact one another by means of at least two intermediaries.”129 The American psychologist Stanley Milgram at the City University of New York, along with Jeffrey Travers at Harvard, followed up on Gurevich’s work in “network” theory in the 1960s. Milgram’s studies suggested that, at least in the United States, people were connected by an average of slightly more than five friendship links.130 Then in 1978, Milgram published an article in Psychology Today that helped create the popular lore on the subject. The theory of “six degrees of separation” became the subject of novels, films, and television shows. The film Six Degrees of Separation, released in 1993, became a box-office hit, and a more recent film, Babel, enjoyed similar success.

A study published in the journal Science reports on sixteen couples. In the study, the women were hooked up to an MRI machine while their romantic partners remained nearby. Then the researchers gave a brief electric shock either to the back of the woman’s hand or her partner’s. While she could not see her partner, an indicator informed her of who would be shocked next and how intense it would be. The same pain areas of the limbic system, including the anterior cingulate cortex, the thalamus and the insula, were activated in the women, causing pain both when it was directly administered to them or simply imagined, when administered to their partner.9 This experiment demonstrated, in an unusual way, how very real empathic response to another’s feelings can be. Even more complex social emotions like shame, embarrassment, guilt, and pride are attached to mirror neuron systems found in the insula of the brain.

If that’s the case, says de Waal, then “[e]mpathy is precisely such a mechanism.”45 In other words, the empathic impulse is the biological means of fostering communication, at least among the more evolved mammalian species. Close observation of other species shows a steady progression of the empathic impulse in biological evolution. For example, in a classic study conducted more than half a century ago, researchers found “that rats that had learned to press a lever to obtain food would stop doing so if their response was paired with the delivery of an electric shock to a visible neighboring rat.”46 Subsequent experiments with rhesus monkeys yielded the same results—except, in the latter case, the emotional response was more long- lasting and had deeper consequences. One monkey stopped pulling the lever for five days, another for twelve days, after seeing the shocking effect on another monkey. The monkeys would rather starve than be responsible for meting out pain on a fellow. 47 The behavior of the rats and the rhesus monkeys would simply be unexplainable if the empathic impulses were not in play.


pages: 384 words: 118,572

The Confidence Game: The Psychology of the Con and Why We Fall for It Every Time by Maria Konnikova


attribution theory, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, epigenetics, hindsight bias, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, Milgram experiment, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, publish or perish, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, side project, Skype, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, tulip mania, Walter Mischel

We trust that mind implicitly. The man who holds power, however illusory it may be, is a man in the perfect position to rope. We often obey power reflexively, without ever quite stopping to reflect on why we’re doing what we are and whether it is, in fact, something we should be doing. While the most famous—or, rather, infamous—study on the phenomenon is Stanley Milgram’s obedience study,1 in which people thought they were giving dangerous electric shocks to a man with a heart condition but did it anyway because they were told to continue, the phenomenon has been broadly replicated in multiple settings. In one study, personnel managers discriminated against applicants by race when their superiors instructed them to do so. In another, employees engaged in routinely corrupt practices, like stealing or price-fixing, when their higher-ups so directed them.

A loss, a good confidence artist knows, doesn’t spell the end: that’s why the breakdown sucks the mark in further rather than letting him off the hook. Under the right circumstances, a loss can signal a deepening of commitment. There’s evidence that if we experience a particularly painful situation—the loss of a lot of money, for example—and then successfully overcome it, or think we’ve done so, say, by deciding to give more money, we feel a great sense of accomplishment—and, a bit perversely, a greater sense of loyalty to the cause of our pain. In one early study, Harold Gerard and Grover Mathewson found that people who had to undergo a severe electric shock to be admitted to a group subsequently rated the group as more attractive. We may have lost, but it was all worth it: we become more loyal by virtue of pain, be it physical (shock) or emotional (financial loss).

And that is why the confidence game is both the oldest there is and the last one that will still be standing when all other professions have faded away. Ultimately, what a confidence artist sells is hope. Hope that you’ll be happier, healthier, richer, loved, accepted, better looking, younger, smarter, a deeper, more fulfilled human being—hope that the you that will emerge on the other side will be somehow superior to the you that came in. ENDNOTE 1. The study has been criticized in recent years as not showing what it purports, but Milgram’s original work—and series of studies, not just the one most frequently reported—do show that many (not all) people will indeed follow orders to a surprising degree. The effect has been widely replicated. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This book was born one fall evening as I settled in to watch David Mamet’s House of Games. Mamet’s continuing fascination with cons got me thinking: why hasn’t anyone written anything about why they work the way they do, and why even the smartest of us are endlessly vulnerable to the wiles of the confidence man?


pages: 284 words: 79,265

The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date by Samuel Arbesman


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Wiles, bioinformatics, British Empire, Chelsea Manning, Clayton Christensen, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, David Brooks, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Galaxy Zoo, guest worker program, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, index fund, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, life extension, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, Nicholas Carr, p-value, Paul Erdős, Pluto: dwarf planet, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, social graph, social web, text mining, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation

Instead, it is part of a grand tradition that, especially in the fields of sociology and social psychology, has unleashed a great many intriguing and clever experiments. Stanley Milgram, known for his shock experiment that explored obedience, and for being the first to measure the six degrees of separation, conceived of numerous elegant experiments. One of these has the whiff of Galton. Known as the sidewalk experiment, he had graduate students stand on a New York City sidewalk and look up. He then measured how many students were required for this group to get passersby to stop and join them, or at least to look up themselves. These data, carefully collected, brought certain ideas about collective behavior to the fore. Others have done similarly odd social experiments in order to collect data. For example, researchers have examined the drinking establishment locations and characteristics in different communities, and even whether the elderly are capable of crossing the street in the time a given traffic light provides them.

As science grows exponentially more difficult in some areas, affordable technology often proceeds along a similar curve: an exponential increase in computer processing power means that problems once considered hard, such as visualizing fractals, proving certain mathematical theorems, or simulating entire populations, can now be done quite easily. Some scientists arrive at new discoveries without a significant investment in resources by becoming more clever and innovative. When Stanley Milgram did his famous “six degrees of separation” experiment, the one that showed that everyone on Earth was much more closely linked than we imagined, he did it by using not much more than postcards and stamps. When one area of research becomes difficult, the scientists in that field either rise to the challenge by investing greater effort or shift their focus of inquiry. Physicists have moved into biology, raising new questions that no one had thought to ask before.

., 81–82 McWhorter, John, 191 measurement, 142–70 decline effect and, 155–56, 157 kilogram in, 147–48 meter in, 143–47 of Mount Everest, 140–41 precision and accuracy in, 149–50 prefixes in, 47–48, 142, 147 publication bias and, 156 of trees, 142 Mechanical Turk, 180–82 medical knowledge, 23, 32, 51–52, 53, 122, 197, 198, 208 about cirrhosis and hepatitis, 28–30 MEDLINE, 99–100 memorization, 198 Mendel, Gregor, 106 Mendeley, 117, 118 Merton, Robert, 61, 103, 104 mesofacts, 6–7, 195, 203 meta-analysis, 107–8 cumulative, 109–10 meter, 143–47 Milgram, Stanley, 24, 167 mobile phone calls, 69, 77 Moon, 2, 126–28, 129, 138, 174, 203 Moore, Gordon, 42, 55, 56 Moore’s Law, 41–43, 46, 48, 51, 55, 56, 64, 203 Moriarty, James, 85–86 Mount Everest, 140–41 Mueller, John, 165 Munroe, Randall, 84, 153–54 Murphy, Tom, 55 mutation, 87–94 Napier’s constant, 12 National Institutes of Health, 17 natural selection, 104–5, 187 Nature, 122, 154, 156, 162, 166 negative results, 162 Neptune, 154–55, 183 network science, 74–78 neuroscience, 48 New Scientist, 85 Newton, Isaac, 21, 36, 67, 94, 174, 186 New Yorker, 86 New York Times, 20, 75, 174 Nobel laureates, 18 nosebleeds, 180–82 Noyce, Robert, 42 null hypothesis, 152 Obama, Barack, 179 Oliver, John, 159 Onnela, Jukka-Pekka, 69, 77 On the Origin of Species (Darwin), 79, 187 opera, 14–15 orders, 60 Original Theory or New Hypothesis of the Universe, An (Wright), 121–22 Pacioli, Luca, 200 paleography, 87–90 paradigm, 186 paradigm shift, 186, 187 Parmentier, Antoine, 102 particle accelerator, 51 Patent Office, 54 Pauly, Daniel, 172–73 Pepys, Samuel, 52 periodic table, 50, 150–52, 182 Petroski, Henry, 49 phase transitions, 207 in acceptance and assimilation of knowledge, 185, 186 in facts, 121–39, 185 Ising model and, 124, 125–26, 138 in physics, 123–24, 126 Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 9, 12 physics, 32 Planck, Max, 186–88 planets, 6, 121–23, 128, 129–31, 132, 183–84 Planet X, 154–56, 160 Pluto, 122–23, 128, 138, 148–49, 155, 183–84 polio, 52 Pony Express, 70 Poovey, Mary, 200 Popeye the Sailor, 83, 213 population: innovation and, 135–37, 202 makeup of, 61 size of, 2, 6, 57–61, 122, 135–37, 204 Portugal, 207 posterior probability, 159 potatoes, 102 preferential attachment, 103 prefixes, 47–48, 142, 147 Price, Derek J. de Solla, 9, 12–13, 15, 17, 32, 47, 50, 103, 166–67 prices, 196–97 printing press, 70–74, 78, 115 prior probability, 159 Pritchett, Lant, 186 Prize4Life Foundation, 97–98 productivity, 55–56 programmed cell death, 111, 194 proteomics, 48 Proteus phenomenon, 161 publication bias, 156 p-values, 152–54, 156, 158 P versus NP, 133–35 “Quantitative Measures of the Development of Science” (Price), 12 Quebec, 193–94 Queloz, Didier, 122 radioactivity, 2–3, 29, 33 Raynaud’s syndrome, 99, 110 reading, 197–98 Real Time Statistics Project, 195 reinventions, 104–5 Rendezvous with Rama (Clarke), 19 Rényi, Alfréd, 104 replication, 161–62 Riggs, Elmer, 81 Robinson, Karen, 107–8 robots, 46 Royal Society, 94–95 Roychowdhury, Vwani, 91, 103–4 Russell, C.


pages: 484 words: 131,168

The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart by Bill Bishop, Robert G. Cushing


1960s counterculture, affirmative action, big-box store, blue-collar work, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, demographic transition, desegregation, Edward Glaeser, immigration reform, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, knowledge economy, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, music of the spheres, New Urbanism, post-industrial society, Post-materialism, post-materialism, Ralph Nader, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, superstar cities, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, union organizing, War on Poverty, white flight, World Values Survey

[back] *** *As a U.S. senator, Santorum bought his own house in northern Virginia. That house became an issue in his 2006 reelection campaign against Democrat Bob Casey Jr., a race Santorum lost [back] *** *Stanley Milgram conducted the most extreme—and most famous—conformity experiments. He asked subjects to apply electric shocks to a victim As the charge was increased, the victim (unseen by the subjects) would moan, howl, and eventually scream The subjects were ordered to increase the power of the charge and to administer another shock. The subjects in the tests all administered shocks well beyond the level Milgram expected. No subject stopped prior to the level where the "victim kick[ed] the wall" and could not answer questions. Of forty subjects, twenty-six administered the strongest level of shock. One of the more interesting findings was that subjects were more apt to administer higher voltages when instructed to do so by someone in person.

One of the more interesting findings was that subjects were more apt to administer higher voltages when instructed to do so by someone in person. They were less likely to do so if the instructions were phoned in. See Stanley Milgram, "Behavioral Study of Obedience," Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology (yj, no. 4 (1963): 371–78; Stanley Milgram, "Some Conditions of Obedience and Disobedience to Authority," Human Relations 18 (1965): 57–76. Face-to-face contact is powerful. The George W Bush campaign, especially in 2004, used face-to-face contact among culturally similar people to increase voter turnout. [back] *** *For example, women claiming sex discrimination won 75 percent of the time in front of an all-Democratic panel; they won only 31 percent of the time in front of an all-Republican panel.

., [>] Michel, Robert, [>] Michigan, [>] Micklethwait, John, [>], [>] n Microsoft, [>] Midterm elections (2006), [>]–[>], [>], [>]–[>] Migration and age, [>], [>] n, and assortative mating, [>], [>], and Colorado, [>]–[>]; and communities of like-rmnded-ness, [>]–[>], [>]–[>], economics of, [>]–[>]; and educational level, [>]–[>], [>] n, future of politics of migration, [>]–[>]; and high-tech cities, [>]–[>], [>], [>], [>], [>] n, in 1990s, [>]–[>], and occupation, [>], [>]–[>]; and patents, [>], politics of, [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>], and power couples, [>] n; and race, [>], [>]–[>]; research evidence on, [>]–[>], and superstar cities, [>]–[>]; Tiebout theory of, [>]–[>], of U.S. population generally, [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>], and wages, [>], and white flight, [>], [>], [>]–[>] Milbank, Dana, [>] Milgram, Stanley, [>] n Mill, John Stuart, [>] Miller, Arnold, [>], [>] n Miller, Arthur, [>] Miller, Dale, [>]–[>] Miller, David J., [>] Miller, George, [>] Miller, J. D., [>] Mills, C. Wright, [>] Minneapolis, Minn Bluer church service m, [>]–[>], [>], [>]–[>], [>]; creative-class workers in, [>]; Edina as suburb of, [>]–[>]; gays and lesbians in, [>]; as high-tech city, [>], and lifestyle of Scott County, [>], [>]–[>], [>], [>]–[>], [>], migration to, [>]; Vineyard Church in, [>]–[>] Minneapolis Star Tribune, [>] Minnesota-Democratic Party in, [>], [>]–[>], families in, [>]–[>], lifestyle of Scott County, [>]–[>], [>], [>]–[>], [>], Republican Party in, [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>], [>]–[>].


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Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception by George A. Akerlof, Robert J. Shiller, Stanley B Resor Professor Of Economics Robert J Shiller


Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, Bernie Madoff, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, David Brooks,, endowment effect, equity premium, financial intermediation, full employment, George Akerlof, greed is good, income per capita, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Rogoff, late fees, loss aversion, Menlo Park, mental accounting, Milgram experiment, moral hazard, new economy, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, wage slave

People want to be liked: to do so they must be taking part in a story in which they are liked, or not liked, by someone else. People have deference to authority: to have this emotion they must consider themselves part of a story in which someone has authority over them. For example, in the famous experiment by Stanley Milgram in which a “teacher” told subjects to deliver electric shocks to a “learner,” the subjects were identifying with the “teacher” who was in “authority,” and they strongly resisted their inclinations to disobey (Stanley Milgram, Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View (New York: Harper & Row, 1974). People tend to follow others (social proof): in this case they must be telling themselves a story in which either those others have better judgment or information than they do (in the information explanation); or else they do not want to incur disapproval by failing to conform (in the social conformity explanation).

Last accessed May 12, 2015. http://money.cnn. com/2006/05/29/news/enron_guiltyest/. —. The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Fall of Enron. New York: Portfolio / Penguin Books, 2003. Mead, Rebecca. One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding. New York: Penguin Books, 2007. Kindle. 194 Akerlof.indb 194 BIB LIOGR APHY 6/19/15 10:24 AM Mérimée, Prosper. Carmen and Other Stories. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989. Milgram, Stanley. Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View. New York: Harper & Row, 1974. Miller, Jessica. “Ads Prove Grassley’s Greener on His Side of the Ballot.” Waterloo–Cedar Falls Courier, October 25, 2004. Accessed November 16, 2014. Miller, Stephen. “Income Subject to FICA Payroll Tax Increases in 2015.” Society for Human Resource Management, October 23, 2014.

If all your friends are posting on Facebook, opting out is like not going to the party where everyone else will be. But Facebook is not without its negative aspects (as expressed by our interviewees as well as seen in the Humboldt survey). Where those negative aspects dominate, there is yet another new innovation. Robert Morris and Daniel McDuff, two students at the MIT media lab, have developed what they call “The Pavlov Poke,” whereby your computer can be programmed to give you an electric shock if your time on Facebook has exceeded some limit.9 Rankings Everywhere. For another example of innovation (an economist might call it a “technical change”), consider the method adopted by United Airlines for herding passengers onto airplanes. In the spirit of a nineteenth-century duchy, United has conjured up a slew of 100 Akerlof.indb 100 CHAPTER SE VEN 6/19/15 10:24 AM honors and statuses.


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The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Richard Wilkinson; Kate Pickett


Berlin Wall, clean water, Diane Coyle, epigenetics, experimental economics, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, impulse control, income inequality, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, land reform, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, offshore financial centre, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit maximization, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, statistical model, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, World Values Survey

Not only are the purposes not your responsibility, but as an employee you are likely to feel absolved from responsibility for them. This is why people have so often disclaimed responsibility for what they were doing by saying that they were ‘only carrying out orders’. The famous Milgram experiments showed that we have such a strong tendency to obey authority that it can result in us doing some pretty awful things. In what was presented as a ‘learning’ experiment, Milgram showed that people were willing to deliver what they believed were not only very painful, but also life-threatening electric shocks to a learning partner whenever the partner gave the wrong answer to a question. They did this at the request of a man in a white coat conducting the experiment, despite hearing what they thought were the screams caused by the shocks they delivered.394 However, within a framework of employee-ownership and control, people specifically regain ownership and control of the purposes of their work.

Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, 2003. 391. R. de Vogli, J. E. Ferrie, T. Chandola, M. Kivimaki and M. G. Marmot, ‘Unfairness and health: evidence from the Whitehall II Study’, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (2007) 61 (6): 513–18. 392. D. Erdal, Local Heroes. London: Viking, 2008. 393. D. Erdal, ‘The Psychology of Sharing: An evolutionary approach’. Unpublished PhD thesis, St Andrews, 2000. 394. S. Milgram, Obedience to Authority. New York: Harper, 1969. 395. L. T. Hobhouse, Liberalism. London: Williams & Norgate, 1911. 396. D. Coyle, The Weightless World. Oxford: Capstone, 1997. The Equality Trust If reading this book leaves you wanting to do something to help reduce inequality, then please visit The Equality Trust web site at There you will find downloadable slides which we hope you will use, a downloadable lecture on DVD, short summaries of the evidence, answers to frequently asked questions, and suggestions for campaigning.

There have now been numerous experiments in which volunteers have been invited to come into a laboratory to have their salivary cortisol levels measured while being exposed to some situation or task designed to be stressful. Different experiments have used different stressors: some have tried asking volunteers to do a series of arithmetic problems – sometimes publicly comparing results with those of others – some have exposed them to loud noises or asked them to write about an unpleasant experience, or filmed them while doing a task. Because so many different kinds of stressor have been used in these experiments, Sally Dickerson and Margaret Kemeny, both psychologists at the University of California, Los Angeles, realized that they could use the results of all these experiments to see what kinds of stressors most reliably caused people’s cortisol levels to rise.16 They collected findings from 208 published reports of experiments in which people’s cortisol levels were measured while they were exposed to an experimental stressor.


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Big Dead Place: Inside the Strange and Menacing World of Antarctica by Nicholas Johnson


job satisfaction, Milgram experiment, Ronald Reagan, telerobotics, trade route, young professional

I try to adapt. I accept in order to understand. That makes me gullible.” “Okay. What is your greatest success?” “I’m where I want to be.” “And your greatest disappointment?” In 1974, psychologist Stanley Milgram published the results of a program of experiments at Yale University in which unwary subjects were recruited and paid a small sum to act as “teachers” in a “Study of Memory” that was actually an experiment in obedience. A learner-victim sat in a separate room and was to memorize word-pairs read by the teacher. The “teachers” were told by a scientist to administer electric shocks to the victim each time he failed to memorize the word pairs, with the shocks getting progressively stronger by 50 volts with each incorrect response. The victim was an actor and, after 150 (fake) volts, began protesting the shocks and asked to be released from his chair, and by 270 volts screamed in agony.

The Enterprise Mission, retrieved May, 2001 from Behrendt, John C. Innocents on the Ice: A Memoir of Antarctic Exploration, 1957. University Press of Colorado, 1998. Bickel, Lennard. Shackleton’s Forgotten Argonauts. The Macmillan Company of Australia Pty Ltd., 1982. Bickel, Lennard. This Accursed Land. The MacMillan Company of Australia, 1977. Blass, Thomas, ed. Obedience to Authority: Current Perspectives on the Milgram Paradigm. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 2000. Burke, David. Moments of Terror. New South Wales University Press, 1994. Campbell, Victor. The Wicked Mate: The Antarctic Diary of Victor Campbell. Bluntisham Books and Erskine Press, 1988. Carter, Paul A. Little America: Town at the End of the World. Columbia University Press, 1979. Charles Wilkes v. Samuel Dinsman. 48 U.S. 89, US Supreme Court, 1849.

June 12, 2000, from Law, Philip. Antarctic Odyssey. William Heinemann Australia, 1983. Lennhoff, Eugen. The Freemasons: The History, Nature, Development and Secret of the Royal Art. Lewis Masonic Books, 1994. “Lifeline to Antarctica.” CBS, July 8, 1999. [CBS website] Mawson’s Antarctic Diaries. University of Adelaide, 1988. McMahon, Patrick. “Emergency Flight Heads for Coldest of Winters.” USA Today, July 9, 1999. Milgram, Stanley. Obedience to Authority. Pinter and Martin Ltd., 1997. Mohsberg, Margot. “Smooth Landing.” The Capital, Nov. 26, 1999. Nansen, Fridtjof. To the Ends of the Earth. HarperCollins UK, 2002. National Science Foundation. External Panel Report. NSF, 1997. National Science Foundation. Safety in Antarctica: Report of the USAP Safety Review Panel. Publication no. NSF 88-78, 1988. National Science Foundation. NASA/NSF.


pages: 208 words: 67,582

What About Me?: The Struggle for Identity in a Market-Based Society by Paul Verhaeghe


Berlin Wall, call centre, cognitive dissonance, deskilling, epigenetics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, income inequality, invisible hand, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Louis Pasteur, market fundamentalism, Milgram experiment, new economy, post-industrial society, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, stem cell, The Spirit Level, ultimatum game, working poor

NOTES In the interests of readability, I have confined bibliographic references in the text to a minimum. When mention is made of an author, the relevant book or article can be found in the bibliography under the author’s name. I only use footnotes for very specific references. Introduction 1 The best known is the 1963 experiment by Stanley Milgram, in which, after a certain amount of prompting, ordinary people gave dangerous electric shocks (or so they thought) to individuals taking part in what they had been told was a ‘learning experiment’. Around ten years later, Philip Zimbardo carried out his Stanford prison experiment, in which students took their roles as guards so much to heart that it became an Abu Ghraib avant la lettre. Chapter Three: The Perfectible Individual 1 Kołakowski, 2007. Two quotations: ‘… and the possessors of universal truth know that they have access not only to inviolable (“scientific”) knowledge of all essential human affairs but also to the precepts of a perfect society’ (p. 45); ‘Many have pointed out that the principles of empiricism are not themselves empirical propositions.

Amsterdam: Boom, 2008. Lyotard, J.-F. The Postmodern Condition: a report on knowledge. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984. MacIntyre, A. After Virtue: a study in moral theory. London: Duckworth, 2007. Masschelein, J. & Simons, M. ‘Competentiegericht onderwijs: voor wie? Over de “kapitalistische” ethiek van het lerende individu’. Ethische Perspectieven, 2007, 17 (4), pp. 398–421. Milgram, S. Obedience to Authority. London: Tavistock, 1974. Moïsi, D. The Geopolitics of Emotion: how cultures of fear, humiliation, and hope are reshaping the world. New York: Doubleday, 2009. Pattyn, B. ‘Competenties en ideologie: het dictaat van een expanderend concept’. Ethische Perspectieven, 2007, 17 (4), pp. 422–435. Pels, D. De economie van de eer: een nieuwe visie op verdienste en beloning.

They also share less when they know the other ape, but he is only partly visible, or cannot be seen at all, because of the set-up of the experiment. And if a particular token leads to the other ape getting more and better food, the ape who did the work is more likely to choose the token that will reward only itself. Sharing is fine, and so is giving away, but there are limits to generosity. (The importance of vision is made clear by these experiments. As soon as another individual is out of sight, the level of exchange declines. The human variant is a decision taken online by anonymous shareholders that has extremely negative consequences for unseen workers. Modern warfare is an even better example: when you’re looking at a screen, killing isn’t so very different from playing computer games. Even the consoles are identical.) Interestingly, the above two experiments were based on an economic experiment involving human participants, known as the ultimatum game.


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People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil by M Scott Peck


Milgram experiment, profit motive, school choice, the scientific method

The dependency of the soldier on his leader is not simply encouraged, it is mandated.* *Even civilians will commit evil with remarkable ease under obedience. As David Myers described in his excellent article “A Psychology of Evil” (The Other Side [April 1982], p. 29): “The clearest example is Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiments. Faced with an imposing, close-at-hand commander, sixty-five percent of his adult subjects fully obeyed instructions. On command, they would deliver what appeared to be traumatizing electric shocks to a screaming innocent victim in an adjacent room. These were regular people—a mix of blue-collar, white-collar and professional men. They despised their task. Yet obedience took precedence over their own moral sense.” By nature of its mission the military designedly and probably realistically fosters the naturally occurring regressive dependency of individuals within its groups.

I had read Martin’s book before witnessing my first exorcism, and while I was intrigued, I was hardly convinced of the devil’s reality. It was another matter after I had personally met Satan face-to-face. There is no way I can translate my experience into your experience. It is my intent, however, that, as a result of my experience, closed-minded readers will become more open-minded in relation to the reality of evil spirit. Finally, on the basis of two cases alone, I am simply not able to offer a broad, in-depth, scientific presentation on the subjects of evil spirit, possession, and exorcism. It is an old maxim of science that once you answer a question, others immediately take its place. Previously I had a single question: Does the devil exist? Now that this has been answered in the affirmative to my personal satisfaction, I have several dozen new questions I did not have before.

In the middle of the other exorcism, when asked whether the possession was by multiple spirits, the patient with hooded, serpentine eyes answered quietly, almost in a hiss, “They all belong to me. As the title of a recent article asks, “Who in the hell is Satan?” I don’t know. The experience of two exorcisms is hardly sufficient for one to unravel all the mystery of the spiritual realm. Nor would the experience of a hundred be sufficient. But I think I now know a few things about Satan and also have the basis to make a few speculations. While my experience is insufficient to prove Judeo-Christian myth and doctrine about Satan, I have learned nothing that fails to support it. According to this myth and doctrine, in the beginning Satan was God’s second-in-command, chief among all His angels, the beautiful and beloved Lucifer.


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Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk by Satyajit Das


affirmative action, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Andy Kessler, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, Celtic Tiger, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, discrete time, diversification, diversified portfolio, Doomsday Clock, Emanuel Derman,, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial independence, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, global reserve currency, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, index fund, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kevin Kelly, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, load shedding, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, merger arbitrage, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milgram experiment, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, Nixon shock, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shock, Own Your Own Home,, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price stability, profit maximization, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, savings glut, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the market place, the medium is the message, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Nature of the Firm, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Yogi Berra, zero-coupon bond

Investors and traders routinely pursue actions to make money, which could cause hardship and suffering to fellow human beings. Speculators trading necessities effectively bet on human life and suffering in the market casinos. In a reversal of the dictum of TV personal finance adviser Suze Orman, money and profits were placed before people, especially poor people. Silent Mass Murder In a famous series of experiments delivering electric shocks to people, Stanley Milgram found that: Ordinary people can become agents in a terrible destructive process.... Even when the destructive effects of their work becomes patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.48 Bankers became willing agents in a highly destructive process, even when they were aware of the consequences of their actions.

Masters, Testimony before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs United States Senate (20 May 2008). 45. “Sweet dreams: a hedge fund bets big on chocolate” (5 August 2010) The Economist. 46. Interagency Task Force on Commodity Markets, “Interim report on crude oil” (July 2008), CFTC. 47. Ghosh “The unnatural coupling.” 48. Stanley Milgram (1983) Obedience to Authority, Harper, New York: 6. 49. Kai Bord and Martin J. Sherwin (2006) American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Vintage Books, New York: 51. Chapter 22—Financial Gravity 1. Quoted in Bertrand Russell (1956) Portraits from Memory and Other Essays, Simon & Schuster, London: 152. 2. Quoted in Edward Chancellor (2000) Devil Take The Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation, Plume Books, New York: 84. 3.

., 80, 329 Mephistopheles, 36 Merchant of Venice, 117, 366 mergers, 57-59, 242, 310 CitiGroup, 75 General Electric (GE), 61 Meriwether, John, 248-249 Merkel, Angela, 325 Merlin Entertainments, 163 Merrill Lynch, 66, 76, 148, 178, 191, 280, 315, 330 bonuses, 319 Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP), 131 merger with BoA, 339 MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System), 271 Merton, Robert K., 121, 130, 248 Metallgesellschaft, 56 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 155 Metromedia, 149 Metromedia Broadcasting Corporation, 149 Metropolitan Club, 304 Meyer, Phillipe, 141 mezzanine “mezz” debt, 154 notes, 170-171 Mickey Mouse, 324 microeconomics, definition of, 102 middle class for blue-collar workers, 42 Middle East, 264 petro-dollars, 82 Mikado, The, 128 Milgram, Stanley, 335 military industrial complex, 294 Milken, Michael, 141, 144-150, 152, 168, 244 1987 equity crash, 153 Milken’s mobsters, 146-147 purchases of, 322 Mill, John Stuart, 126, 305 Millennium Challenge, 264-265 Miller, Bill, 245, 360 Miller, Daniel, 130 Miller, Merton, 116, 119, 248 Mills, Susan, 299 Milton, John, 359 Minibonds, 220 Minogue, Kylie, 157 Minsky machines, 261.


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Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein


Al Roth, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, availability heuristic, call centre, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, continuous integration, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, diversification, diversified portfolio, endowment effect, equity premium, feminist movement, framing effect, full employment, George Akerlof, index fund, invisible hand, late fees, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, Mason jar, medical malpractice, medical residency, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, pension reform, presumed consent, profit maximization, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Saturday Night Live, school choice, school vouchers, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, Zipcar

“Company Stock in Pension Plans: How Costly Is It?” Harvard Business School Working Paper no. 02-058, 2002. facpubs/workingpapers/papers2/0102/02-058.pdf. Meyer, Robert J. “Why We Under-Prepare for Hazards.” In On Risk and Disaster: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina, ed. Ronald J. Daniels, Donald F. Kettl, and Howard Kunreuther, 153–74. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006. Milgram, Stanley. Obedience to Authority. New York: HarperCollins, 1974. Mitchell, Olivia S., and Stephen P. Utkus. “The Role of Company Stock in Defined Contribution Plans,” In The Pension Challenge: Risk Transfers and Retirement Income Security, ed. Olivia Mitchell and Kent Smetters, 33 –70. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Mokdad, Ali H., Barbara A. Bowman, Earl S. Ford, Frank Vinicor, James S.

“Understanding Patients’ Decisions: Cognitive and Emotional Perspectives.” Journal of the American Medical Association 270 (1993): 72–76. Revesz, Richard L. “Environmental Regulation, Cost-Benefit Analysis, and the Discounting of Human Lives.” Columbia Law Review 99 (1999): 941–1017. Ross, Lee, and Richard Nisbett. The Person and the Situation. New York: McGrawHill, 1991. Rottenstreich, Yuval, and Christopher Hsee. “Money, Kisses, and Electric Shocks: On the Affective Psychology of Risk.” Psychological Science 12 (2001): 185–90. Rozin, Paul, and Edward B. Royzman. “Negativity Bias, Negativity Dominance, and Contagion.” Personality and Social Psychology Review 5 (2001): 296–320. Sacerdote, Bruce. “Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 116 (2001): 681–704. Sageman, Marc. Understanding Terror Networks.

You are independent-minded and so you will tell the truth. But if you are a Human, and you really participated in the experiment, you might well follow those who preceded you, and say what they say, thus defying the evidence of your own senses. In the 1950s Solomon Asch (1995), a brilliant social psychologist, conducted a series of experiments in just this vein. When asked to decide on their own, without seeing judgments from others, people almost never erred, since the test was easy. But when everyone else gave an incorrect answer, people erred more than one-third of the time. Indeed, in a series of twelve questions, nearly three-quarters of people went along with the group at least once, defying the evidence of their own senses. Notice that in Asch’s experiment, people were responding to the decisions of strangers, whom they would probably never see again.


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The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick


Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, bank run, bioinformatics, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, citation needed, Claude Shannon: information theory, clockwork universe, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter,, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, index card, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microbiome, Milgram experiment, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, PageRank, pattern recognition, phenotype, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Simon Singh, Socratic dialogue, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, talking drums, the High Line, The Wisdom of Crowds, transcontinental railway, Turing machine, Turing test, women in the workforce

The defining quality of a small-world network is the one unforgettably captured by John Guare in his 1990 play, Six Degrees of Separation. The canonical explanation is this: I read somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. Six degrees of separation. Between us and everyone else on this planet. The President of the United States. A gondolier in Venice. Fill in the names.♦ The idea can be traced back to a 1967 social-networking experiment by the Harvard psychologist Stanley Milgram and, even further, to a 1929 short story by a Hungarian writer, Frigyes Karinthy, titled “Láncszemek”—Chains.♦ Watts and Strogatz took it seriously: it seems to be true, and it is counterintuitive, because in the kinds of networks they studied, nodes tended to be highly clustered. They are cliquish. You may know many people, but they tend to be your neighbors—in a social space, if not literally—and they tend to know mostly the same people.

., 3.1, 11.1 Mendel, Gregor Mercury: or the Secret and Swift Messenger (Wilkins) Merlin, John Mermin, David, 13.1n, 13.2 Merrill, James messenger RNA, 11.1, 13.1 meta-language Metalogicon metamathematics, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 10.1, 12.1 metaphor “Method of Expressing by Signs the Action of Machinery, On a” (Babbage), 4.1, 4.2 Metropolis, Nicholas microfilm microstates, 9.1, 9.2 Middleton, Thomas Milbanke, Anna Isabella Milgram, Stanley Miller, George, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3 Miller, Jonathan, 2.1, 2.2 Million Random Digits, A, 12.1, 12.2 Milton, John, 3.1, 11.1 Mingjia (School of Names) Minsky, Marvin Miot de Melito, Count n Mitchell, David mondegreens, 3.1, 3.2 Monod, Jacques Monte Carlo simulations, 11.1, 12.1 Moore, Francis Moore, Gordon Morse, Samuel F. B., 1.1, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6 Morse code, prl.1, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 5.1, 6.1, 11.1, 12.1 mortality tables, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 Mulcaster, Richard multiplexed signals Mumford, Lewis Munch, Edvard Murray, James, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6 music, 10.1, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 12.4 Nagel, Ernest naming, 2.1, 14.1, 14.2, 14.3, 14.4, 14.5, 14.6 Napier, John, 4.1, 4.2 Napoleon Bonaparte, 5.1, 5.2 National Defense Research Committee natural history, 14.1, 14.2 natural philosophy, prl.1, prl.2, 3.1 natural selection, 5.1, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 11.1; see also evolution Nature, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, epl.1 Nautical Almanac, 4.1, 4.2 navigation, number tables for, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 needle telegraphy, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6 networks applications of Shannon’s theories, 8.1, 8.2 barbed-wire telephone biological analogies for electrical cloud processing clustering in collective judgment and behavior enabled by, epl.1, epl.2 e-mail emergence of global consciousness, epl.1, epl.2, epl.3 English poetry global information in, epl.1, epl.2 science of small-world, epl.1, epl.2 spread of memes through telegraphic, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.1 telephone, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4 see also cyberspace; Internet Neugebauer, Otto neurophysiology analog versus digital descriptions of, 8.1, 8.2 concept of human global organism, epl.1, epl.2, epl.3 feedback systems in, 8.1, 8.2 human–computer comparison, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3 metaphors for electrical systems neurosis New Logic, 6.1, 6.2 Newman, James R.

What James had identified as central topics—“the stream of thought,” “the consciousness of self,” the perception of time and space, imagination, reasoning, and will—had no place in Pavlov’s laboratory. All a scientist could observe was behavior, and this, at least, could be recorded and measured. The behaviorists, particularly John B. Watson in the United States and then, most famously, B. F. Skinner, made a science based on stimulus and response: food pellets, bells, electric shocks; salivation, lever pressing, maze running. Watson said that the whole purpose of psychology was to predict what responses would follow a given stimulus and what stimuli could produce a given behavior. Between stimulus and response lay a black box, known to be composed of sense organs, neural pathways, and motor functions, but fundamentally off limits. In effect, the behaviorists were saying yet again that the soul is ineffable.