An experiment in social conformity

This popped up over on; While this 1962 episode of Candid Camera makes for a good laugh, it demonstrating something important about human psychology — “The Lucifer Effect”


Most mindless submission to group norms have entirely innocuous results.

But, in other cases, it can lead to “good people engaging in evil actions”, such as the Stanford Prison Experiment or the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

A sobering thought.

Focus on the cross..

Follow the instructions and focus on the cross!


Awesome, right?

Of the effect, the researchers say:

The effect seems to depend on processing each face in light of the others. By aligning the faces at the eyes and presenting them quickly, it becomes much easier to compare them, so the differences between the faces are more extreme. If someone has a large jaw, it looks almost ogre-like. If they have an especially large forehead, then it looks particularly bulbous.

The research is conducted at the University of Queensland — Tangen, J. M., Murphy, S., & Thompson, M. B. (2011). Flashed face distortion effect: Grotesque faces from relative spaces. Perception advance online publication, doi:10.1068/p6968 [Abstract]