Author:Kara Rochelle



    CopyrightKara Rochelle 2012

    Publishedat Smashwords

    Before I graduated college, I washaving some financial trouble, as most students do. Naturally, Istarted looking for ways to make extra cash. I came across an articlein the classifieds asking for volunteers in an experiment. It paid$1000 and would only take about an hour. I called and made anappointment.

    I showed up at the psychologydepartment of my college on the day of the test. There was anotherparticipant already there, and we learned that we would be workingtogether. Soon, the doctor came in and introduced himself. As soon ashe began to explain the test to us, I knew what was going on.

    He said the test was about theeffect of negative reinforcement on learning ability and memory. Oneof us would act as a "teacher," and the other would act asthe "student." In separate rooms, the teacher would readthe student a list of word pairs which the student would have tomemorize. Then the teacher would quiz the student, administering anelectric shock for every wrong answer. The more wrong answers thestudent gave, the higher the voltage of the shock.

    I'dheard of this experiment before. The student didn't really getelectrocuted. The point of the test was to see how much pain aperson—the teacher, in this case—would inflict upon another humanbeing at the direction of an authority figure, such as the doctor. Iprobably should have said I knew what was reallygoing on, but then I probably wouldn't be allowed to participate. Ineeded that money.

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