Science can be an ugly business. Progress requires smart people to do nasty things, like cutting up bodies or electrocuting animals. It's just part of the price we pay for advancement.
But sometimes, scientists come up with experiments that seem to serve no other purpose than to fuck with unsuspecting test subjects for their own amusement.
#6. The Piss Test
Say you find yourself in a public restroom and notice a man standing at the mirror taking an obsessive interest in combing his hair. At the same time, an overexcited guy tries snuggling up to you in the adjacent urinal, getting as close as possible to share in your moment of dick-wielding intimacy. On top of all that, you get the eerie feeling that someone is secretly staring at your gigglestick through a periscope.
Sound like paranoia (or a David Lynch film)? Wrong. You've been caught in a urination shyness sting. Yes, that's a real thing, done by actual scientists.
Though, clearly, it could be worse.
That guy at the mirror groping his coif is actually intently listening to your pee and trying to determine how fast it's being jettisoned from your chubmarine. The eager beaver next to you is fucking with you on purpose, diligently working to increase your level of discomfort. And yes, there is someone inside the wall, monitoring your urine stream through the world's filthiest viewmaster. All in the name of science, of course.
Here's the paper the three researchers published on their experiment-slash-Porky's reenactment. They wanted to know how an invasion of personal space would affect the speed and flow of someone's urine stream. Really, do we need to list all of the thousands of reasons that information could be important in an emergency?
Their mind-blowing discovery? It takes a guy longer to pee when he's creeped the fuck out. Perhaps even more mind-blowing is the fact that the experiment was likely made possible by grant dollars, which means somebody read this proposal and decided to invest in it, presumably before going on to invent several Japanese game shows.
#5. The Military's Death and Paperwork Experiment
Back in the 60s, 10 soldiers boarded a military aircraft for what they were told was a routine training mission. After reaching an altitude of 5,000 feet, the plane suddenly lurched and began to plummet back down to Earth.
The pilot took the intercom and informed the soldiers that the aircraft was experiencing catastrophic engine failure, and that everyone aboard should probably start kissing their asses goodbye while they still had lips. But before they could bend over, a steward passed out insurance paperwork and explained that the forms had to be completed in order for anybody's family to be paid a death benefit.
So there they were, rocketing towards a jagged metal resting place by way of fiery explosion, trying to find a flat surface to write on. Then, just as impact seemed imminent, the pilot said, "LOLZ, just kidding about that emergency, folks" and righted the plane. Once safely back on the ground, we like to think the soldiers showed their appreciation for this fine joke by repeatedly sodomizing the pilot with their rifles.
What was the point? To see how extreme stress affected a person's "cognitive ability," measured in this case as the ability to do paperwork.
Also, we might as well test out the new puke bags.
In a revelation that surprised no one ever in the history of anything, researchers determined that errors in cognitive reasoning occur more often if a person is being exposed to unusually high levels of stress. So under no circumstances should you whip out a job application in the middle of a car accident or attempt to file a tax return while being stabbed to death.
It's worth noting that the researchers were unable to repeat the experiment because the soldiers involved had written warnings to future subjects on the plane's airsick bags. The only option at that point would have been to collect all the bags and then crash the plane for real. Which they probably would have done, if they could figure out how to make sure the paperwork survived.
#4. The Little Albert Experiment
John Watson established the entire psychological field of behaviorism by gallantly conducting experiments on babies. Evidently, getting an baby to work on back in the 20s was easy: You just grabbed one that belonged to one of the hospital's employees... an employee who, it should be noted, was not involved in the experiment. Apart from their relationship to the subject/lab rat, of course.
For this particular experiment, Watson took a baby named Albert and exposed him to rats, monkey masks and burning newspaper. Then he stopped fucking around and began the actual experiment.
Little Albert would be introduced to a series of fluffy white objects, such as a white rat, a white rabbit and a swatch of white fur. Initially, Albert possessed no fear of these things. During subsequent exposures to the same objects, Watson would hammer a steel bar, creating a terrifying racket. In time, whenever Albert saw anything white and fluffy he cried with fear. This is science.
Watson's goal was, of course, to see if it was possible to condition fear in an infant. You know, because prior to this infants were regarded as cold, unfeeling machines, incapable of emotion.
Working tirelessly alongside his assistants, he scared a child for 31 days before returning it to the hospital drenched in terrified excrement (evidently it was just a rental). Unfortunately, Watson spent the entire experiment scaring the shit out of Albert with the hammer of Thor and never got around to actually correcting any of the tremendous psychological damage he was causing, thereby dooming Albert to grow up as a man who pissed his pants at the sight of a cotton ball.
"Who doesn't have a chance at a normal life, is it you? Yes it is! Yes it is!"
As if this wasn't enough, it turns out Watson had wanted to do more. He lamented that he didn't have the time to condition both fear and arousal in Albert by stimulating the child's erogenous zones during the experiments, because back then getting an infant to shit all over his own boner was considered the pinnacle of behavioral research.