I’m sure we can all think of some far madder experiments than these:
1. Dogbot meets real Dog
2. The psychonaut
3. Psychology’s atom bomb
4. Holidaying in a draught
5. Remote control bullfight
6. The 28-hour day
7. A year in bed
8. The Doctor Fox Effect
9. Urine in the web
Here’s the “Psychonaut” one:
To find out what would happen if the brain was cut off from all external stimuli, scientist John Lilly built the first sensory deprivation tank in 1954. Floating in warm water for hours in complete darkness and silence, Lilly began to experience vivid fantasies.
“These are too personal to relate publicly,” he reported later. The hallucinations of his test subjects were similarly difficult to categorize scientifically. This was one reason why his research did not take off.
Lilly later gave up scientific research and founded the firm Samadhi Tanks, which manufactured tanks for domestic use. Having became something of a New Age guru, he died in 2001.
One of the few scientific experiments honoured by Hollywood, Lilly’s work was the model for the 1980 film Altered States. To no one’s surprise, the real experiments were done with much less flashy equipment than that shown in the film. Lilly sometimes had to switch off the light himself and then climb, in complete darkness, into a tank, which was little more than an outsize bathtub.