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Saturday, 23 June 2012

G.R. Stephenson's experiment (with monkeys) and prejudice

This, I've been told, is an experiment attributed to G. R. Stephenson. 


A group of scientists placed 5 monkeys in a cage and, in the middle, a ladder with bananas on the top. 
Every time a monkey went up the ladder, the scientists would soak the rest of the monkeys with cold water. 
After a while, each time a monkey attempted to go up the ladder, the others beat up the monkey on the ladder. 
After some time, none of them dared to go up the ladder regardless of the temptation.
The scientists then decided to substitute 1 of the monkeys. The 1st thing this monkey did was to go up the ladder and, of course, the others immediately beat him up even though no water was sprayed. 
After several beatings the new member learned not to go up the ladder though never knew why.
A 2nd monkey was substituted and the same thing occurred. The 1st monkey took part in beating the 2nd monkey. 
A 3rd monkey was changed and everything happened the same way. 
Then a 4th monkey was changed and finally the 5th. 
Now what was left was a group of 5 monkeys that although had never received cold water, continued to beat up any monkey that attempted to climb up the ladder. 
If it was possible to ask them why, they would say "I don't know- that's how things are done around here!" 


Does that ring a bell? 

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