A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the Internet Tells Us About Sexual Relationships
Forty years ago, psychologist Kenneth Gergen conducted a bold social psychology experiment that would have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing muster with a contemporary ethics committee (Gergen, Gergen, & Barton, 1973). Gergen wanted to know what people did under conditions of extreme anonymity. To find out, he constructed an experiment whereby 4 men and 4 women entered a small, padded room, one at a time. The participants did not know each other before the experiment and were kept in isolation prior to entering the room. Once the participants entered the room, they were free to do whatever they liked. There were no instructions and no rules. At the end of the experiment, the participants left the room one at a time without learning each other’s identities. What makes the experiment so interesting was that the room, itself, was pitch dark, providing the participants complete anonymity.
To say the least, the results were astonishing. Approximately 90 % of the subjects intentionally...
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