RE: Words and memes: criteria for acceptance of new belief or meme

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Mon Feb 18 2002 - 21:07:25 GMT

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    Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 16:07:25 -0500
    From: Keith Henson <>
    Subject: RE: Words and memes: criteria for acceptance of new belief or  meme
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    At 12:09 PM 18/02/02 -0500, frankie wrote:

    >Keith said:
    >>There are papers by Zimbardo from Stanford (now president of the American
    >>Psychological Association) that are directly on this topic. It looks like
    >>the mechanism is more one of resistance to social pressure than
    >>learned. I am trying to remember the name associated with that test of
    >>resistance to social pressure where most of the group acts a shills and
    >>one person is given the choice of going against the group which insists
    >>the longer line on a slide is shorter or the other way around.
    >Millgram? It wasn't a long queue or a short queue, but numbers of dots on
    >paper IIRC, and administering electric shocks.

    No, this was lines measured in inches. The shills, 3-4 of them were
    instructed to pick a line which was not the longest and insist it
    was. This was to see if the subjects would to say something under social
    pressure that was in conflict with what their senses reported.

    It is a classic psychological experiment. A substantial fraction of the
    population would say they something in conflict with their
    perception. Most would admit they had given in to social pressure, but
    (IIRC) some would insist that they had really seen the shorter line as longer.

    This might be a way to sort out people who could be turned into cult members.

    Keith Henson

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