Did you know the world gullible is written on the ceiling?
We all love pulling pranks on each other and making one another look stupid, but there can be some legitimate science gleaned from the little ways in which we mess with each other’s lives.
People on Reddit were asked: “What amateur psychology experiments have you done?” These are some of the best answers.
I sing or hum annoying songs around people during different times of the day. My goal is to have them singing or humming the song by the end of the day. I have the best results when I sing, “I don’t wanna wait…for our lives to be over…” It’s awesome cause no one knows the whole song so they only sing that one piece.
I wore the same clothes for 56 days before someone finally said something. I changed my underwear, undershirt, and socks (I have like, 9 pairs of the same type of socks), and I showered regularly. And no, I never washed the clothes.
I was noticed at work by an employee (I have a normal 5 days/40 hr week job) and I regularly am in contact with people. It’s not like I was in my house for 56 days. What gave me away according to her was my hair. I had woken up later than usual so I kind of rushed to work. I arrived on time but my hair was unkempt. I say good morning to everyone at my office as I pass to get to my office. When I said good morning to the woman she said to me, “I guess you had a long night. You’re wearing the same clothes as yesterday.”
I used to sit in a different spot every day in class while everyone else settled into a regular seat by the end of the first week. Lesson: some people are SO rigid.
I discovered that if you make eye contact with a stranger when you’re both walking towards each other, and you raise your hand when you’re about 3 seconds from passing them, fully 4 out or 5 people will high five you.
It makes my day every time I do it.
Back in the MySpace days I changed the orientation on my profile to “Gay” for a month, and changed nothing else.
I got about 25 or so random solicitations from flamers in the area, and a bunch of “congratulations!” from friends. Oddly enough, it was a bit of a confidence boost.
As a waitress, learned that subtly negging one guy at a table of men got me higher tips than being nice to all of them.
I once went a week without answering anyone’s questions, basically playing the psychologist and turning it around to a question for the asker.
My wife finally caught on after 5 days, but enjoyed the hell out of getting to essentially give me the opportunity, and then make every decision the way she wanted to.
Co-workers never seemed to pick up on it, and it wasn’t too bad.
Sometimes when I’m talking to someone who is mirroring my body language, I’ll start standing or sitting in awkward positions just to see if they do it too. When it works it’s kind of funny…
One day I decided not to talk to anyone the entire day in school. Normally I’m talkative as hell, and pretty social with people. When people would talk to me, I would laugh and respond physically and acknowledge their presence, but not say a word. It took people until almost the end of the day to notice, and there were several people that claimed I had talked to them/ had conversations with them during the day.
I noticed that if you simply look another person in the eyes and make gestures, they will think of it as participation in the conversation. Also, I noticed that I had so much more time to think and prevent myself from saying stupid stuff to people that pissed them off. It was pretty interesting.
At parties, I used to go in the bathroom and flip the toilet paper over. Then I’d go back an hour later and someone would always have flipped back. People are serious about the way the t.p. is hung.
I invented the “mystery soda”.
I worked at a grocery store where we had a vending machine for canned sodas in the breakroom. There were maybe eight pre-made signs for different popular name-brand soft drinks, but the machine could hold ten different sodas. I was a manager so the courtesy clerk (bagger) tasked with filling the machine asked me what to put in the two remaining slots. I had him make two signs; “Mystery Soda #1” and “Mystery Soda #2”. The mystery sodas tended to be things like Fanta, Barq’s, Squirt, Fresca, etc. They were always the most popular drinks – by far – and the first slots in the machine to go empty.
I’m not sure if that was an exercise in psychology or marketing, but the results were interesting.
I gave a 30 question science test that was multiple choice. I put a period at the end of each of the correct answers. No one noticed.
As an Aussie, I say “How ya goin?” a lot. I worked at a petrol station, and it quickly became my greeting to customers. Every person who walked in, “How ya goin, mate?”, “How ya gooin, mate?” to every person. I got bored one day and because Aussies are the laziest speakers on earth, I decided to test the extent of this laziness.
Every time someone would come in, I’d shorten “How ya goin” just a little bit, starting with “ow ya goin, mate?”, then “ow ya gah, mate?”, then eventually it got to the point where all I was saying was “a y g, may?” I would pronounce each letter phonetically, so it sounded like a-ya-gah-may. Every single person understood me without the slightest difficulty.
While living in a major tourist destination, learned that acting like a tourist made people treat me far more nicely.
I coached at a sports camp the summer I graduated college. One day, I wore a collared polo shirt inside-out, and, for a reason I still do not quite know, decided to wear an inside-out polo shirt every day for the rest of the summer. By the end of the camp, every single kid – fairly sophisticated private school boys, 16-18 years old – were all wearing their shirts inside out…and would actually go out of their way to gently correct anyone who mistakenly wore their shirt right-side in. It was then that I learned that teenage boys are weird.
I have a friend (whom I don’t really like and have been trying to de-friend for about 3 months now) and I noticed one day that anytime the topic of conversation switches away from her she stops paying attention and her eyes glaze over. So I decided I’d run a small experiment with her to find out if she really gave a crap about me and what’s happening in my life.
The first time I saw her everyday (and I did see her most days) I would say the exact same thing to her: “Hello. How are you today?” Now most people would respond with “Not too bad. How are you?” or something of the sort. I knew she wouldn’t say that because she was too wrapped up in herself. So I tested to see how long it took her to finally ask how I was doing. Just shy of 2 months later and the experiment is still running.
I accidentally got given an extra 10 quid with my change at a supermarket and gave it back to the chap serving me. I decided to see how long I could keep this good deed to myself rather than telling someone. 3 days.
I once spent two months on this one. Whenever I would walk around in public, I would refuse to step aside or move over for others walking from the other direction. For example: walking down a grocery aisle on the right hand side. Approaching from the other direction was a group of three people walking side by side. I would hold my ground instead of moving further over to the right forcing one of them to move over.
I would not do this to older people, just 50’s or younger. I found that teenage to mid 20s girls were the worse ones about not moving over and they would plow right into me then complain that I should have moved over. I’m 40 by the way.
I was surprised that teen to 20 something guys tended to move over but 30s to 40s men didn’t.
I would only do it when I approached groups of two or more walking side by side and I never took up more than the right half of any aisle. It was really interesting.
I made a Facebook account with my friend, got 100 random friends, got to loosely know something about each of them and then started being a jerk to everyone to see how long it took to get down to 0 friends. 3 months 13 days.
I decided to change my birthday once a month on Facebook to another day just to see how many people wish you happy birthday simply because Facebook tells you to. It took almost 7 months before somebody realised what I was doing and would get 30+ well wishers per “birthday”.
Made 2 dating profiles. My polar opposite received non-stop emails, while I got 1 throughout the whole experiment.
To see how adults would react to a Santa situation, when I was about 10 I bought everyone in my family two presents for Christmas. I also bought separate wrapping paper and practiced wrapping perfectly. After my father went to bed on Christmas eve I went downstairs and put the 2nd set of presents under the tree. They were labelled ‘from S.C.’, which was printed so handwriting couldn’t be analysed. I was curious as to whether an adult could actually believe it as I knew they wouldn’t really suspect me or my brother. After the initial shock it was deduced that our neighbours had let themselves in at night and planted them there (the neighbours initials were S and C).
When I worked at Staples selling printers and advising people on technology and stuff, I used to experiment with wearing glasses or contacts. When I was wearing glasses, people were not as nice to me, would frequently think I was making stuff up, and were less likely to buy the service plans I was supposed to be selling. Initially I thought it was because it was harder to see my eyes and people were less trusting because of that, but now I’m pretty sure it’s just that I am better looking in contacts and people innately trust and like dealing with more attractive people.
Fresh out of high school and into my first college class, English. This was an entry level class full of people who don’t really want to be there, me included.
During the very first class we had to do the “Get to Know Ya” group intro crap. I decided that I wasn’t going to do it. When it came to be my turn to share a little about myself, I wrote on a note that I had in fact taken a vow of silence. I handed this note to a student next to me, she read it aloud, and I got the worst looks from the other students, but the look of wonder on my teacher’s face told me that I had to keep it going.
I kept silent the whole semester. I didn’t read aloud. I didn’t answer any questions. Nothing. And the teacher loved it. She ate it all up. She thought it was a profound step in my development as an adult.
In high school, my friend created a person. We would bring his name up in casual conversations, plan parties at his house, started a rivalry between him & another kid, enough of us were in on it that it spread like wild. We even had a few teachers mention his name. We kept everything vague enough no one knew too much but they new his name & believed he was real. A few years ago, one of the guys made him a Facebook. He has lots of friends.
This was a hoot, I did it a few years back in high school. Just for fun me and my friends decided to try a social experiment where we can make people see something that doesn’t exist based on peer pressure. This is what we did.
My friend walked into the middle of school grounds and looked into the sky. He acted like he was looking at something in the clouds that was hovering and spinning. I came along and asked what he’s looking at. He said out loud that there was something in the sky. He pointed and I acted like I saw it. Then another friend came and did the same. There were five of us looking at the imaginary object before complete strangers started crowding around looking. We found it incredibly hilarious that they agreed that they saw it.
When we had a mini crowd we decided to sneak away. 20 mins later we come back and there was an even larger crowd looking at the the UFO. I asked someone and they were like “There’s something flying in the sky. Can’t you see it? It’s right there.” We shared a great laugh and learned a funny lesson about our minds and peer pressure.
When I walk out of a building I like to stare up at the top and see if anyone else does so.
Also, get into an elevator that’s full of people and put your back to the door.
Some of this material has been edited for clarity.