Re: Doing Nothing Is Worse Than Hurting Yourself
Anoter interesting study (or, study of a study) on the Geekend, Dave! People are expressing some skepticism about the study in the comments, and that's good; that's why we're here. It seems like "studies" are a dime a dozen these days, and they're often shamelessly reposted until you get a case of phone tag where the original intent of the study is lost. The Geekend is a little better, though - we use the study as the starting point for a conversation, not the ending point. On thate note, I agree with everyone's concerns about the electroshock portion of the study. It seems a little loaded - the people knew they were part of a study to see whether they would push the button, so doesn't that kind of stack the odds from the beginning?
I think discussion about social norms, while interesting, inherently puts us in a grey area. As you say, Dave, it's hard to really draw many conclusions from this info without knowing if it would have been true 50 years ago. Likewise, it's hard to draw the line between learned and instinctive behaviors, etc. For example, how can we call people's short attention spans unnatural? If we're the ones who conditioned ourselves to have short attention spans, then wasn't it a natural progression? Questions like that are liable to make your head spin. Still, it's fun food for thought to chew on for a while.