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

From: Francesca S. Alcorn (
Date: Mon Feb 18 2002 - 21:28:20 GMT

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    Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 16:28:20 -0500
    From: "Francesca S. Alcorn" <>
    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

    Yes, but it *was* Stanley Millgram who did the experiments, there are
    numerous variations.


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