- People are uncomfortable with any study that assumes that evolution is true. The experiment assumes that we have a lot in common with other apes and monkeys. If this describes you, don't let that stop you from reading this text. Evolution is a topic for another forum post. I will address this topic later. There will be more to ArgueMax.com than just politics. Until then, please assume that there are shared psychology that human beings can have with other living creatures.
- There is some sort of nursery rhyme or children's moralistic song about 5 monkeys. So, people might get the "Five Monkey's Jumping On A Bed" children's song with the 5 monkeys experiment. This experiment has nothing to do with jumping on a bed
- The story of the experiment is often told in seminars and business meetings with the message to "think outside the box" and people miss the gravity and importance of the whole message and the meaning of the experiment.
Five monkeys were put in a large cage. In the center of the cage, a step ladder was places that the monkeys could use to climb towards the top of the cage. At the top of the cage, a bunch of bananas was was wired to the ceiling of the cage. Volunteers and researchers were assigned to watch over the cage around the clock and every day. The person on watch was armed with a fire hose that could be used to shoot a stream of ice-cold water into the cage.
The first part of the experiment required the person on watch to shoot ice cold water into the cage whenever a monkey approached the base of the later as if to make his way to the top of the latter towards the bananas. The researcher would not only douse the monkey who was attempting to clime the latter, but all five monkeys would be soaked.
This phase of the experiment continued until no monkey dare approach the ladder. At this point, the researcher with the fire hose would be removed from the proximity of the cage and the monkeys would be observed to see if they would still not approach the ladder. When it was certain that the learned behavior was established. The next phase of the experiment began.
At this point, one of the five monkeys in the cage was removed and replaced with a new monkey who had not been conditioned with the fire hose water. Almost immediately, the new monkey made his way to the base of the later to climb and reach the bananas. But the other four monkeys quickly grabbed the new monkey and pulled him away from the ladder and began beating him.
After the beating and after some time had passed, the new monkey would forget the lesson or the association that approaching the ladder equaled beatings and he would try again, but each time he was reminded by the other four monkeys who would always pull the new monkey away from the ladder and harass him. This went on until the new monkey would not dare approach the ladder.
At this point, one of the original four monkeys was removed and replaced with another new monkey who was oblivious to the experiment. This new monkey behaved exactly as the monkey before him had. And the results were the same. What is interesting to note at this point is that the first replacement monkey, who had not been exposed to the ice cold water hose, was participating in the beating more fiercely than any of the other three original monkeys.
What follows next is that, one by one, each of the remaining three original monkeys was replaced with a new monkey who was unfamiliar of the "why" in the rule of why it was dangerously important not to go to the base of the ladder to climb up to the bananas. Each replacement monkey had assumed it was OK to climb the latter to the bananas and each one was quickly taught that it was not allowed.
Finally, all of the monkeys in the cage were living under a rule and were oblivious of its origin or purpose. They only followed the rule because the other monkeys were following the rule. It can be said that they were acting as human beings act when they are told "it is done this way because it has always been done this way". I have met people who were either "born and raised Democrats" or "born and raised as a Republican". This makes no sense to me. Politics should not be like a religion that people follow just because they have been conditioned to do so. We should also not follow the crowd and surrender our capacity to think for ourselves.
I was motivated to write this blog after a conversation I was having with a Hillary Clinton supporter. I patiently showed her that all the reasons for her supporting Hillary Clinton were baseless or false or contrived. Then I gave her solid reasons why a Hillary Clinton presidency would not be favorable. After some time, she admitted that "nothing would change her mind". The only conceivable reason I can think of her to adhere to a devotion and condition after logically being shown that she should not do so is because of the same psychology unveiled by this experiment. She would not support Hillary Clinton if not for the fact that she feels that she must support the Democratic front runner because "it has always been this way" and/or she is compelled to do so to feel that she is part of the group. Human beings are social beings just like the monkeys in the experiment. The pull of peer pressure is overwhelming and people are forced to do and think things just because it is required to be part of the group. My hope is that we can use technology brought forth by the Information Age to change people's mind to think more rationally and logically.
We must raise above our own nature and above our base carnal instincts because, as John Kennedy once said "conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth".
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