Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Top 25 The Most Unsettling Scientific Experiments of All Time

By Tram Anh Feb 19, 2024

25. Brain Research on Neuromarketing

Simply put, neuromarketing is the study of human brains with the goal of developing ads or marketing strategies that are physiologically certain to be effective. Is it unsettling? Sure enough, everyone is doing it. This kind of study is funded by every major corporation, from Google to Frito-Lay. Take note: the effectiveness of it is still up for discussion.

24. An Examination of Schizophrenia at UCLA

When studying the effects of weaning schizophrenia patients off their regular medication, researchers were told to immediately resume medication administration in the event that symptoms drastically deteriorated. The word “significantly” seems to be rather subjective. Tony Lamadrid leapt from a building, while one patient threatened to murder his parents.

23. Trying Different Eye Colors

A teacher named Jane Elliot chose to educate her students about prejudice following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. She made a distinction between those with brown eyes and those with blue eyes. She reprimanded the brown-eyed students and told the class that the blue-eyed kids were better.

The blue-eyed group was given special treatment in every way possible, including extra food at lunch and more time to play. While the results of this “experiment” may not be shocking now, they were shocking when it happened—the brown-eyed students actually began to do worse academically. The prophecy came true as expected.

22. Ypsilanti’s Three Christs

In one experiment, psychologist Milton Rokeach grouped three mentally ill people who professed to be God. Initially, the men nearly got physical as they fought over who was more holy. The three of them eventually came to terms with the fact that the other two were completely insane.

21. Cameras

The infamous Soviet research facility known as “chamber” exposed victims to extremely toxic substances. People who have seen the impact of deadly poisons like K-2 have testified. The victims would physically contract and eventually perish within minutes. Can you believe it? K-2 remains totally undetected. More bizarre still? Rumor has it that the Kamera was re-opened in the 1990s.

20. The DPRK

The word “creepy” falls very short of being adequate, demonstrating how the English language fails us. Some of the North Korean government’s most notoriously cruel experiments involve gas chamber suffocation and anesthesia-free surgery. A witness even went so far as to say he saw a family of four—a father, son, and daughter—suffocate in a room while testifying before the United States Congress. It seems like the parents did all they could to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to their children.


The Central Intelligence Agency conducted this study to determine the potential for mind control as a weapon. What steps did they take to accomplish this? Through the administration of LSD to prostitutes. We mean it seriously.

18. Tuskegee Syphilis Study

The government essentially promised a group of African American men who tested positive for syphilis that they would receive free healthcare for the rest of their lives, which is the most frustrating thing that could happen to them. They were observed continuously throughout their lives rather than treated. A whistleblower was instrumental in ending the study.

17. Experiments on Orphans by Pavlov

Everyone is familiar with Pavlov’s famous bell-conditioning experiment with dogs. Then again, Pavlov used orphans in a similar fashion. Nevertheless, he restrained and force-fed the orphans because they are less amiable.

16. Willpower

All of our decisions are influenced by subconscious variables in the brain, according to brain imaging tests conducted by Benjamin Libet. Despite the ongoing debate, the idea of being unable to choose one’s own actions is unsettling. In other words, the outcome of your actions is already decided upon.

15. Studies on Mengele’s Twins

The archetype of a malicious scientist is Dr. Mengele. Twins were his thing, and he was a Nazi researcher. Why? It would allow him to conduct a wide range of wild experiments on one while keeping the other under control.

14. Anticipation

A study asserted by social scientist Daryl Bem in 2010 demonstrated that individuals’ decisions were influenced by what was happening in the future. He adhered to the traditional priming method, which involves “conditioning” a patient to select a predetermined response. The most intriguing aspect? After the participants had made their selection, he introduced his “primers,” also known as conditioning variables. His research indicates that the primers that came after them had an effect on the participants’ decisions. Take note: the methods are still controversial, despite the ludicrous results.

13. Among the Mall’s Lost

Psychologists Jacqueline Pickrell, Elizabeth Loftus, and James Coan were able to successfully implant false memories into participants’ minds in the 1990s by interspersing discussions of the false memories with real ones. The shopping mishap and their encounter with Bugs Bunny at Disneyland were the two most memorable experiences of their lives. Despite the unsettling nature of implanted false memories, this study has caused quite a stir in the field of psychology. Memory and eyewitness accounts are seriously called into question by this. Our recollections are infamously untrustworthy, according to other studies. The thing that will scare you the most is that most of what you recall is inaccurate. On top of that, memory corruption worsens with each access.

12. Experiments on Nazi Freezing

Once again, the adjective “spooky” falls short of describing what’s going on. The Nazis’ deeply immoral medical experiments are largely responsible for our current understanding of diseases like hypothermia. Nazi scientists subjected inmates to varying durations of submersion in cold water. Additionally, they attempted to rewarm them (sometimes in quite cruel ways) after leaving them outside in the bitter cold.

11. David Reimer

Circumcisions were suggested as a solution to David and his twin’s urinary issues when they were born in Canada. David had a disastrous operation, in contrast to his brother Brian who had a successful one. Because David’s genitalia was so severely damaged, his parents opted to raise him as a girl after consulting with specialists.

Hormone injections and treatment sessions were administered to him. David had the identity of a girl named Brenda up until he was fourteen years old. John Money, the psychologist who gave David this advice, had insane intentions—he intended to establish that gender is a product of environment rather than biology—but he never told his parents that.

When David was fourteen years old, his parents gave him the hard truth: he’d always felt more like a boy. He reverted to his masculine identity without delay. After getting testosterone injections, a mastectomy, and phalloplasty, he changed his name to David. The tragedy devastated David and his loved ones. Because of the pressure on his parents’ relationship and his brother’s depression, David took his own life.

10. Desperation Pit

One thing Harry Harlow wasn’t known for was his capacity for empathy. As a direct result of his inhumane experiments, this scientist essentially started the animal rights movement. He would separate monkey babies from their moms and keep them apart for as long as a year. A large number of the monkeys eventually lost their minds.

9. Facial Expressions

Carney Landis, a student of psychology at the University of Minnesota, conducted an insane experiment in 1924. He essentially used face painting to record participants’ reactions to different stimuli (smelling ammonia, looking at different images, etc.) and capture their facial emotions. But the final portion was when the madness started. In his experiment, he had the volunteers decapitate a rat. Even though no one was a fan of the plan, one-third of the people involved pulled it off. The remaining two-thirds he handled by himself using the knife.

8. Drug Trials on Monkeys

In a 1969 study by Deneau, Yanagita, and Seevers, the participants were monkeys that had been administered various substances, including alcohol and cocaine. Even if you would have anticipated some level of lunacy from the monkeys, they went completely bonkers. A few of them severed their own fingers or yanked out their hair in an extreme manner.

7. The Aversion Study

Again, “creepy” is a bit of a stretch, but the South African military attempted to convert gay recruits by castration and other means in the 1970s and 1980s. Dr. Aubrey Levin, the psychiatrist in charge of the tests, eventually relocated to Canada and continued to work there until his recent conviction for sexual abuse.

6. Research on Monsters

This experiment was carried out by Wendell Johnson at the University of Iowa in 1939. In essence, he divided the orphans into two categories. Half of the kids received positive speech treatment, in which he praised their fluency; the other half received negative speech therapy, in which he told them they stuttered, didn’t speak fluently, etc. Orphans in the unfavorable group suffered from low self-esteem well into adulthood. Actually, a few of them experienced more serious issues with their speech. His coworkers were shocked that Johnson would conduct such an experiment on helpless children, so they dubbed it the “Monster Experiment.”

5. Small Albert

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University began exposing a baby boy named Albert to stuffed animals in the 1920s. He was obviously interested in them and had fun playing with them. After that, every time the animals showed up, the researchers would noisily hit hammers to make Albert hate them. At the young age of 6, Little Albert tragically passed away from unconnected causes. However, during his brief lifetime, he never again found joy in cuddly creatures.

4. Observational Influence

Columbia University academics in the 1960s sought to explain why individuals were more likely to aid a distressed person than groups of people. After putting people in a room, they started to slowly fill it with smoke. The instant there was a lone occupant in the room, they promptly reported the smoke. It was time-consuming when there was more than one.

Take note: this is due to the fact that everyone is assuming that someone else will take action or that everything is fine since no one else is doing anything.

3. The Stanford Prison Experiment

In 1971, Philip Zimbardo conducted another infamously immoral experiment in which half of the subjects were guards and half were inmates. The guards had transformed into the brutal abusers and the inmates had all fallen into depression within a matter of days.

2. Section 731

The word “creepy” is often overused when trying to characterize what transpired here. Inhumane experiments were conducted on prisoners of war at this clandestine Japanese research center. They served as targets for weapon testing after being demolished, chopped, and frozen.

1. The Milgram Experiment

How could so many individuals have helped Nazi Germany and their Holocaust denial efforts? That was the question that psychologist Stanley Milgram set out to answer. As part of his tests, he had volunteers follow a “official”‘s orders to shock an actor in another room just by pressing a button. Both the shocks and the screaming grew stronger until they finally subsided. Almost all of the participants would have murdered the actor if the shocks had actually been real.

Worse worse, the performers frequently begged the shocks to end. Notably, this study gained notoriety for demonstrating that, under certain conditions, every individual had the capacity to do horrific crimes.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 The Most Unsettling True Crime Books

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