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Elephants on Acid by Alex Boese
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Elephants on Acid (edition 2009)

by Alex Boese

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3991326,786 (3.54)11
Member:buttsy1
Title:Elephants on Acid
Authors:Alex Boese
Info:Pan Macmillan (2009), Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:non-fiction, science, oddities, experiments

Work details

Elephants on Acid and Other Bizarre Experiments by Alex Boese

  1. 20
    Opening Skinner's Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century by Lauren Slater (dtw42)
    dtw42: More detail on the psychological experiments of Skinner, Milgram, Festinger, and others.
  2. 00
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (sanddancer)
    sanddancer: Some of the weird real life experiments in Elephants on Acid are similar to the science in Brave New World.
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The title chapter is sad, and not informative. ?In fact, the majority of these experiments produced little understanding in proportion to their cost, if we weigh animal pain as heavily as I opine we should (and, to clarify, that's not very high; I am an omnivore...). ?áThe yuck factor is pretty high.

But I did learn a few things. ?á

The Baby in a Box was not a Skinner Box. ?áSkinner actually designed it to be a more functional crib, and his daughter did grow up just fine. ?áNo tests in behaviorism were conducted in the box. ?áKids raised in the 'Air Cribs' that were manufactured on this design are reportedly just fine, too.

The 'power of suggestion' does not necessarily cause us to invent what we're prompted to sense. ?áSometimes, for example in smell, simply prompts us to pay attention to something we usually unconsciously dismiss. ?áI bet hypochondria works like this, and patients who have a mild enough case (like me) can be assured that 'yes, some of that is normal, most folks don't notice because it's not worth notice.

LSD should be considered as a palliative for the morale of terminally ill people.

Otoh, there's a little bit too much striving to be funny, a little bit of sexism (the wives are generally assumed to object to the men's crazy experiments), and too little attention paid to the rigor of the scientific method. ?áYes, it's supposed to be a lightish read for the general public, and yes the author understands science - but sometimes jokes are made in reference to the experiments and the results, and a naive reader (you know the kind, the ones who are healthy but buy gluten-free anyway, the ones who wear magnetic bracelets, the ones who shop HSN) will have his or her gullibility reinforced. ?áThings like false positives, experimental bias, more than one variable changed, too few subjects - all that matters. and can be written about simply and engagingly.

I do support the author's efforts, have enjoyed a visit to his website, and do recommend this book to readers who understand science and have their skeptics' goggles on.

" ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Fun book, the chapter having to do with bathroom function was the best. But of doubtful scientific use. A fun read none the less. No science degree required to enjoy it. ( )
  ThothJ | Dec 4, 2015 |
Fun book, the chapter having to do with bathroom function was the best. But of doubtful scientific use. A fun read none the less. No science degree required to enjoy it. ( )
  ThothJ | Dec 3, 2015 |
Fun book, the chapter having to do with bathroom function was the best. But of doubtful scientific use. A fun read none the less. No science degree required to enjoy it. ( )
  ThothJ | Dec 3, 2015 |
Fun book, the chapter having to do with bathroom function was the best. But of doubtful scientific use. A fun read none the less. No science degree required to enjoy it. ( )
  ThothJ | Dec 3, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156031353, Paperback)

When Tusko the Elephant woke in his pen at the Lincoln Park Zoo on the morning of August 3, 1962, little did he know that he was about to become the test subject in an experiment to determine what happens to an elephant given a massive dose of LSD. In Elephants on Acid, Alex Boese reveals to readers the results of not only this scientific trial but of scores of other outrageous, amusing, and provocative experiments found in the files of modern science.

Why can’t people tickle themselves? Would the average dog summon help in an emergency? Will babies instinctually pick a well-balanced diet? Is it possible to restore life to the dead? Read Elephants on Acid and find out!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:27 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Offers an odyssey into the world of bizarre, outrageous, and provocative scientific experiments that seek to determine what happens to an elephant that is given a dose of LSD, would the average dog summon help in an emergency, and can life really be restored to the dead.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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