Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Eli Roth's "Fear Buried Alive" is a research project studying audience
Eli Roth's "Fear Buried Alive" claims to be a research project to study the reactions of the three people that they buried alive with their consent, presumably with peer review from other psychologists to ensure they abide by what they consider appropriate guidelines; however it is virtually guaranteed that there is another objective behind it; and the sociology and psychology community have a track record of studying people without full disclosure.
A large portion of the past research projects to study a large variety of situations including psychological manipulation has been published in locations that are available to the general public as well as the academic community; however the vast majority of the public doesn't know what to look for or where, nor do they have the time to sort through the details and find out how this could be, and is being used to manipulate people, creating political propaganda or psychological manipulation for advertising purposes, that often scam consumers.
A sample of the sources that describe many of the interlocking research projects that sociologists and psychologists do on people without full disclosure are listed below; and this isn't the first time Eli Roth has been involved in one of them which I reviewed previously in Eli Roth and Milgram's Obedience to Authority experiments much more extensive than most people realize. Whether Eli Roth knows it or not the Obedience to Authority experiments were done with the support of the Office of Naval Research who have a motive to study the most effective ways to obtain obedience from their recruits, which is the opposite of what Milgram claimed he was trying to accomplish. The Office of Naval Research also directly funded Philip Zimbardo's so-called Stanford Prison Experiment which as I indicated in a previous post is part of a series of research experiments to study how to indoctrinate military recruits more effectively among other things.
Anyone who is familiar with all the research projects they come up with about how people react to different situation will almost certainly agree that even though it is technically possible for these psychologists to pass on an opportunity to study the reaction of the audience, there is no possibility that they will do so which indicates that one of the reasons for this show is almost certainly to use audience members as research subjects, although in a subtle, seemingly harmless manner. It is also possible that at least part of this show is fake, which has been common in some of the past research projects including the Obedience to Authority experiments. Some of the people including the person getting shocked in that experiment was actually in on the experiment, and there have been numerous other similar research projects that have done the same thing; so there is plenty of precedent for faking, or partly faking, the burials.
However my best guess is that to make it look as realistic as possible they probably didn't fake too much of it, although the people buried alive were almost certainly not given the impression that they would have a serious threat to their life including poisonous animals being dropped in their coffins.
That doesn't mean that the research being done was competent, or beneficial to the public, though. The vast majority of the best psychological research, that I know of, about a variety of subjects including how violence escalates, advertising to children, how media violence affects children and many other subjects don't involve experiments that have major ethical problems like this does, assuming people fully review how it is being used and why, which might not be likely soon.
Social research on the audience is almost certainly not limited to this show; it must be standard operating procedure and has been going on for years. So-called reality shows have dramatically escalated over the past two decades as they have cut funding for entertainment that is much higher quality and occasionally has some real educational content. Shows like MASH and All In The Family are ancient history and even though they have many more channels what they show is all very low quality, or to put it bluntly, it is crap.
One of the simple methods that the Obedience to Authority experiments might have enabled propagandists or other people trying to manipulate the public is that people are much more likely to stand up to unjust authority if they're not alone and others are also willing to stand with them. Experiments that were intended to study how people react when they see violent situations could also be used to shame people into acting in the way that is considered socially acceptable as indicated previously in Anti-violence social experiments could be part of a slippery slope; and there are many other ways these experiments can be used to study how to manipulate people.
The vast majority of the public spends very little time thinking about these things but sociologists and psychologists go through an enormous amount of research on the subject, including many that work for advertising agencies or political consultants. Ironically sometimes they admit that some of what they're doing can be used for manipulation purposes; however they rarely go into full details so those that don't look through the research might not suspect how thorough and effective it can be. On other occasion some of the people, like Philip Zimbardo, that expose some of these manipulation tactics simultaneously use them to attempt to manipulate people at the same time. Many of these tactics seem very subtle put advertisers and political consultants spend an enormous amount of time studying them; and it is hard to imagine why corporations or other special interests would pay big money for this research if it wasn't effective.
This means that either the manipulation tactics developed with the help of all these research projects are effective or corporations are wasting an enormous amount of money.
I will be going into more detail on this when I cover related subjects mentioned in Steven Pinker "The Better Angels of Our Nature" in a couple follow up posts. I ahve already covered more about how these manipulation tactics have been used in the past in numerous posts including the following:
Fundamentals of Psychology
Philip Zimbardo, Lucifer Effect, Stanford Prison Experiment
Corruption or Bias in the American Psychological Association
Eli Roth’s Milgram/Obedience experiment much more extensive than most people realize
Political Psychologist Are Suppressing Democracy
Human Research Subjects
Anti-violence social experiments could be part of a slippery slope
American Psychological Association exposed again
The following books describe an enormous amount of research projects that are similar; however since they have been written by people involved in the experiments a reasonable about of discretion is advised, they may not want to fully admit the negative impact their research might do:
Arthur Miller "The Social Psychology of Good and Evil" 2005
Steven Pinker "The Better Angels of Our Nature"
Stanley Milgram "Obedience to Authority" 1974
Philip Zimbardo, "Lucifer Effect" 2007
There ahve also been at least a couple more credible books covering ethics of research including psychological research including the following:
Harriet Washington “Medical Apartheid” PDF at Original People
Peter Singer "Practical Ethics" now in it's third edition