25 Incredibly Disturbing Science Experiments In History

Posted by , Updated on April 20, 2017

Creepy science experiments come in all shapes and sizes. Some psychological experiments are creepy because they tell us something disturbing about ourselves. However, other experiments are creepy because they’re just wrong. Quite often human experiments have been excessively brutal and violent. So be warned, the word “creepy” may be an understatement for some of the experiments on this list. Nonetheless, these are the 25 Incredibly Disturbing Science Experiments In History.

10

Pit of Despair

Harry HarlowSource: pages.uoregon.edu

Harry Harlow wasn’t exactly known for his empathy. This researcher basically gave birth to the animal rights movement in response to his crazy experiments. He separated baby monkeys from their mothers and kept them in isolation for up to a year. Many of the monkeys went crazy and never recovered.

9

The Facial Expressions Experiment

knifeSource: madsciencemuseum.com

In 1924, a psychology student named Carney Landis performed a crazy experiment at the University of Minnesota. He basically painted lines on the faces of the participants in order to record their facial expressions in reaction to various stimuli (smelling ammonia, looking at various images, etc). The final bit, however, was where the insanity began. He gave the participants a rat and asked them to behead it. Although nobody liked the idea, a third of the participants actually did it. For the other two thirds, he picked up the knife and did it himself.

8

Monkey Drug Trials

monkeysSource: garfield.library.upenn.edu

Conducted in 1969 by Deneau, Yanagita & Seevers, the researchers basically gave drugs to monkeys (everything from cocaine to alcohol). Although you may have expected the monkeys to go a little crazy…they went absolutely insane. Some of them tore off their own fingers or ripped out all of their hair.

7

The Aversion Project

soldiersSource: theguardian.com

Once again, “creepy” is too light of a term here, but during the 70’s and 80’s, the military in South Africa tried to convert gay recruits by castration and other methods. The psychiatrist who oversaw the experiments, Dr. Aubrey Levin, then moved to Canada where he practiced until recently (he was convicted for sexual abuse).

6

The Monster Study

speechSource: nytimes.com

In 1939, Wendell Johnson performed this experiment at the University of Iowa. He basically separated orphans into two groups. He gave positive speech therapy to half the children (praising their fluency) and negative speech therapy to the other half (telling them they stuttered, couldn’t speak well, etc). The orphans in the negative group developed self esteem problems that lasted into adulthood. In fact, some of them even developed actual problems with their speech. This experiment was labeled the “Monster Experiment” because his colleagues couldn’t believe that Johnson would experiment on orphans like this.

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