Massachusetts experiment. James Rogers. Experimental Psychology

Quite recently, the following content began to roam across the expanses of the Internet: Dr. James Rogers is shown in the picture. In 1965 he was sentenced for his experiment, called the Massachusetts, to the death penalty - electrocution.

James Rogers

But two days before the execution of the sentence, he committed suicide by taking potassium cyanide. One of his patients brought him a vial of poison. After the incident, the rector of the University of Massachusetts psychology and neuropathology Phil Rosenttern made an official statement that James Rogers made a huge contribution to the development of psychology, and also asked forgiveness for his distressed relatives.

Massachusetts Experiment

Understandably, no one is sentenced to death. What did Dr. James Rogers, a psychologist and an employee of the University of Massachusetts, do to get such a harsh sentence?

The fact is that Dr. Rogers developed a unique method for the treatment of mental disorders, which flowed into deep paranoia, and which had not been treated before. Instead of treating paranoid disorder, he, on the contrary, strengthened it so much that the new step corrected the previous one. To make it clearer, we give an example.

massachusetts experiment

Suppose a person believes that beetles crawl everywhere in the world. Instead of digging into the reasons for this, James Rogers told the patient that this was indeed the case, that beetles were everywhere. Moreover, only very sensitive people see them, the rest simply do not notice them. At the same time, the government is silent about this information, fearing panic. Convinced that he is absolutely normal, the patient calms down and eventually gets used to this thought, not paying any attention to the bugs. Some even stopped seeing them.

Patient testimony

It is also known that at the trial the patient was testified by Dr. Rogers, who suffered from cognitive-confusion disorder and considered himself a giraffe.

experimental psychology

No arguments at the same time could not prove the opposite, even comparative photos.Moreover, he began to refuse normal nutrition, claiming that he eats only the leaves of trees. James Rogers did the following: he asked his friend biologist to write an article that describes the phenomenal scientific discovery of scientists. It indicates that a new type of giraffe has been found, which is almost entirely similar to humans (appearance, behavior, way of thinking, etc.). The differences were insignificant - the spleen was reduced a little and the heart was enlarged. He who read this article was obliged to burn it after reading so as not to cause panic in the rest of the population. The method worked, and the patient not only perfectly joined the society, but at the time of the court session he worked in a large company as an auditor.

The court's decision

But despite the excellent results and the crowd of happy and well-feeling patients, the Massachusetts experiment was recognized as falsification, Dr. Rogers himself was a charlatan, and his treatment was immoral and inhuman. As already mentioned, the court sentenced the doctor to death. He did not make excuses and even refused the last word, just handed the judge a note and asked him to publish its contents in some newspaper. It read the following.

Rogers Massachusetts experiment

There is something to think about

A very entertaining story, isn't it? Not only does she evoke some sympathy for Dr. Rogers, who organized the Massachusetts experiment, but also pushes some thoughts. For example, why condemn to death a person who gives a second chance for a normal life to people suffering from paranoia? After all, having become accustomed to their “demons” in the form of hallucinations or erroneous (as the others, “normal” inhabitants of society) say about simple things or for themselves (as in the case of a giraffe), the patients accepted their flaws and did not even pay attention to them, living among mentally healthy people.

Or another question: why did the court consider it immoral that the Massachusetts experiment helped the patient accept his mental illness, which allowed him to live and work normally among people? Indeed, over time, such people stopped paying attention to all the disorders, which in some cases disappeared altogether. Well and, perhaps, the most important question: can the opposite effect really help if the treatment using conventional methods does not help?

Truth or lie?

james rogers psychologist

One might think that the last question is meaningless, since the results of the research and the recovered patients are the best proof of that. And that would be so if it were not for one thing. This story - no more than fiction, which instantly spread on the world wide web. And he came up with someone Alexander Shamarin and posted on his page on Facebook in 2013, May 21. Do not believe it? Well, no one bothers to look for information about the doctor on their own.

Was the Massachusetts experiment actually conducted? Hardly. On most services (about 80% of the total), this story will be described exactly as the author has on a page on the social network, even spelling errors.

What is this all for?

Why such a grand fake (by the way, on Facebook this story gained more than 350 thousand views) was created? According to the author himself, Dr. Rogers’s Massachusetts experiment is described for fun. Somehow Alexander Shamarin thought up himself to have fun and make friends happy, and wrote about 15 pieces of similar stories, after he printed them out, put them in a frame culturally and arranged the exhibition “Persona non grata” at home. The purpose of creating the exhibition was one and only: to invite friends to visit not just a drink, but also to spend time culturally and usefully.

The author of the cult fake

Alexander Shamarin can rightly be called the author of the cult fake, which attracted the attention of more than a third of a million Facebook dwellers and filled the Internet with lightning speed. Understandably, no James Rogers exists, and the photo shows none other than Thompson Hunter Stockton, a journalist and writer from the United States who founded gonzo journalism and wrote the world famous novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas basis filmed movie). And experimental psychology does not apply to him.

James Rogers in 1965

Massachusetts Alexander chose solely due to the fact that it “hilariously sounds,” in addition, at Massachusetts technological, Howard Wolowitz (the character of the Big Bang Theory), Gordon Freeman (the protagonist of the Half-Life universe) and Professor Farnsworth (character cartoon series "Futurama"). By the way, even though the author did not read the “Far Rainbow” of the Strugatsky brothers, his story is a reference to the “Massachusetts machine” from this work, as this automatically adds +10 to the level of intelligence and coolness.

You need to think, not blindly believe

No one has the right to blame Alexander Shamarin for having created such a grand fake.He only wrote an interesting and even a little instructive story that can give rise to thoughts about many things. People themselves believed in it and spread it over the network. What does it mean? Do not blindly believe every article or news posted on blogs, and even more so in social networks. However, this is no reason not to read them.

In addition, it is quite possible that such an experimental psychology or similar methods of treating diseases will actually appear and will show amazing results.

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