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Lacking human subjects, researchers torture virtual females for science


Back in the 1960s, the hot new research was Stanley Milgram's tests on human behavior that involved subjects who thought they were administering electrical shocks to female victims for failing to answer test questions correctly. Some participants could hear their "victim" scream in response to the fake shocks being administered, which would sometimes escalate to lethal voltage levels. Turns out, the tests were unethical due to the stress levels and deception involved -- even though nobody was actually getting shocked to death -- but the research was valuable for its insights into human behavior, especially that nasty "yes, I will shock someone to death for misquoting the Gettysburg Address" behavior we hear so much about. Now the experiments have been recreated by Professor Mel Slater of Catalan Polytechnic University, but he's replaced the fake "real" torture victims with real virtual victims. Capiche? Apparently participants in the study ended up acting quite similarly to the original subjects, with sweaty palms, rising heart rates, and a similar quantity of lethal voltage applications. So until such nastiness upon virtual women is deemed unethical, it looks like scientists have a new way to monitor human behavior in extreme conditions. Will no one stand up to defend the ones and zeros?

[Via Medgadget

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