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673

Short answer: Your friends who think torture is effective at getting reliable information are wrong. New Edit/info: Since this is in the news (December 2014), the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has just recently issued a report (PDF) on torture activities that the US engaged in (the link is the 500 page version). While the majority of details ...


343

The earliest mention I could find of this experiment was in the popular business/self-help book, Competing for the future by Gary Hamel and C. K. Prahalad (1996). Here is the quote from the book: 4 monkeys in a room. In the center of the room is a tall pole with a bunch of bananas suspended from the top. One of the four monkeys scampers up the pole and ...


184

TL;DR: It sounds like a similar monkey experiment did take place, and the results were similar to that presented in the picture, but if this is the same experiment, most of the details are wrong. The first google result for monkeys ladder experiment contains to the following information: Stephenson (1967) trained adult male and female rhesus monkeys to ...


136

No. Elevator manufacturers do not purposefully provide a door close button that doesn't actually work. Elevator manufacturers provide door open and close buttons because they are required by code. (in the US) CHAPTER K1 MODIFICATIONS TO ASME A17.1 - 2000, SAFETY CODE FOR ELEVATORS AND ESCALATORS SECTION 2.27 EMERGENCY OPERATION AND ...


134

Counter-argument: One of the most successful interrogators of Nazi Germany did not use torture. Quite the opposite really. Hanns Scharff, "Master Interrogator" of the Luftwaffe. Scharff was opposed to physically abusing prisoners to obtain information. Learning on the job, Scharff instead relied upon the Luftwaffe's approved list of techniques, which ...


123

Yes, humans are more predictable than random chance. It is known as the "Blue-Seven Phenomena", because when asked for a colour and a number from one to nine, these perform beyond expectation. This 2015 encyclopedia entry surveys the research. One large sample of Japanese university students found: As for the preferred number, the subjects in Saito’s ...


106

This is the study the article mentions. Does the study have those conclusions? Not really. The experimental results could equally be explained by a simpler conclusion, that people are less likely to ask others out when they feel disappointed, deflated or embarrassed by something (in this case, the public revelation of a poor test result). The researchers ...


91

Definitely not. Here's a video of a science reporter, Veritasium, staying in an anaechoic chamber for one hour, in the dark. Not only they do so at the first attempt, but they come out of it convinced they could have stayed indefinitely -- that there was no "driving crazy effect". Clearly this is weak evidence by scientific standards, but the evidence ...


75

Masturbation is in NO way bad for your health. Just keep in mind... Masturbation is very safe -- but not entirely safe. But masturbation safety isn't guaranteed. "Masturbation is just about the safest sex there is," says Cornog. "But the laws of physics and biology don't stop operating just because someone is masturbating." In ...


72

The table provided is directly copied from page 173 of The Wisdom of Psychopaths. It explains the source is The Great British Psychopath Study, where self-selected people submit their own Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale, and categorise themselves according to a list of a hundred or so occupations. The occupations listed notably do not include "...


62

Apparently it is a psychological marketing technique that assumes consumers ignore the least significant digit, reading from left to right. This explains why you'll often see the 99 in superscript (e.g. $1999). A study by Nicolas Guéguen and Céline Jacob(pdf) found that "nine-ending prices led to increase the amount of purchasing of women-customers". ...


60

No. Human thought precedes language. The anecdotal evidence for this should suffice, but you cannot be trusted (as you already have language skills). Short Answer: Prelingual infants think. In 2004 researchers Hespos and Spelke explored Korean language concepts with a group of five-month-old (human) infants from English-speaking homes... The example ...


58

"Smell" is a sense that is said to be more directly tied to emotional processing in the brain than other senses. But all interpretations of sensory information is subject to subjectivity. And smell is a sense that is easily and quickly dulled. Live in the stink and you get used to it, quickly. That makes it this a No. Smell is not objectively measurable as ...


51

This ties in with The Wine Trials of Robin Goldstein: In 17 brown-bag blind tastings around America, Goldstein and his colleagues served more than 6,000 glasses of 500 different wines, priced from $1.50 to $150, to more than 500 people. The results surprised even the experimenters: the correlation between price and preference was actually ...


51

There are some (in)famous experiments done by Rupert Sheldrake who claims that a so-called "morphogenetic" field is responsible for this sort of thing. Alas, his experiments had quite sloppy methodology. The feeling itself is real, as most here will testify. But it has nothing to do with being actually stared at/observed. http://www.scientificamerican.com/...


51

"Black magic" is a really large umbrella for a wide range of claims, but the very definition of any "magic" is that it is somehow supernatural. Naturally (!), no compelling evidence has ever been put forth for any supernatural phenomenon. Once a phenomenon is observable, reproducible, and testable, and shown to exist, it may turn out to violate our current ...


46

Human beings are really bad at picking random numbers. The reason is that we are hard-wired to identify patterns in nature -- even to the extent of seeing patterns where none exist. But while this helps us hunt (we are predators, after all, and the outline of an animal shape in the bushes means prey), we experience a cognitive dissonance when trying to ...


43

Dr. Phil Plait, and Astronomer, has a great write up that debunks astrology (I cannot encourage you enough to read that page (or the google cache of it).) Sadly his web page seems to be down, so here’s the Google Cache copy of the same page. After a long discussion and research (with sources), he concludes with There is no force, known or unknown, that ...


41

God? No. Does this piece of news correspond to the findings of the studies? Belief in God is part of human nature - The Telegraph Religious belief is human nature, huge new study claims - CNN All correspond to the findings of a press release... Humans 'predisposed' to believe in gods and the afterlife - University of Oxford ...and to any ...


40

To be clear, science has thus far failed to produce reproducible experimental evidence demonstrating a statistically significant genetic predisposition to any sexuality or a lack of one. There are only theories, no consensus. This is part of a much larger problem dubbed "Nature vs. Nurture" that makes it extremely difficult to tell whether a great number of ...


40

Short answer: no. See this literature: http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_molestation.html (has further bibliography) For the present discussion, the important point is that many child molesters cannot be meaningfully described as homosexuals, heterosexuals, or bisexuals (in the usual sense of those terms) because they are not ...


40

It seems that all of the answers have gravitated towards depictions of sex. Either because nudity equals sex (while in Hollywood, this appears to generally be the case - it's extremely rare to see a nude scene that isn't purely for titillation, rather than because someone just woke up or got out of the shower), or because it hadn't occurred to them that they ...


38

Studies The Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender-Nonconforming People has a good summary of studies (starting at page 229 (PDF page 65)). All quotes are from the standard of care (not in order though), and I linked to those studies that I could find freely available online for easy reference. These studies measure more ...


37

The answer to your question is, for the most part, no: Opposites do not attract. Like-minded people attract; that is, the relationships they form are fuller and longer-lasting than when paired with an opposite-minded partner. This is despite the fact that people often claim, in surveys and when asked directly by interviewers, that they would like someone ...


37

Doesn't look like it. The most likely source of the quote is The Science of Swearing by Timothy Jay and Kristin Janschewitz or possibly Dr. Neel Burton's Hell Yes: The 7 Best Reasons for Swearing or possibly the summation by Psych2Go which draws on both of them: The basic premise that is put forth is that those who cuss are seen as more loyal, trustworthy,...


36

Finally, someone has done a study that will provide an answer. The study, run by Dr Terri Fisher, asked 163 students to carry a tally counter, and note when they had thoughts about sex: It won't be published until January 2012 so I have had to rely on early press reports, such as this one in MedicalXpress: the research discredits the persistent ...


36

Cornell psychologist Edward Titchener (who studied under Wundt) tested the ability to detect unseen staring and published in Science (1898). His conclusion: people cannot detect when they are being stared at, though a great many believe they can. Though others have tested this `ability' over the years (e.g., Rupert Sheldrake), the results are mixed, and ...


35

Like NP problems in computer science, torture could useful only where determining the answer is hard but verifying it is easy. The somewhat contrived example is that a bomb is known to have been planted in a building downtown, but nobody knows which one. A conspirator being captured, could be compelled to answer, with it quickly known if the information ...


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