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World as Laboratory: Experiments with Mice,…

World as Laboratory: Experiments with Mice, Mazes, and Men

by Rebecca Lemov

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0809098113, Paperback)

Deeply researched, World as Laboratory tells a secret history that’s not really a secret. The fruits of human engineering are all around us: advertising, polls, focus groups, the ubiquitous habit of “spin” practiced by marketers and politicians. What Rebecca Lemov cleverly traces for the first time is how the absurd, the practical, and the dangerous experiments of the human engineers of the first half of the twentieth century left their laboratories to become our day-to-day reality.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:18 -0400)

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The idea in the 1930s and 1940s was to build a system by which people's actions and behaviors--eventually even their thoughts--could be predicted and controlled. To cure society's ills was the goal. The early "social scientists" ran animals, then men, through mazes, strapping them to galvanic skin response recorders and "punishment grills." With World War II came federal money and new techniques, as vast amounts of information were collected, filed, and fed to computers so that everything from personal preferences to national loyalty could be measured, targeted, studied, and changed. And with the Cold War, well-intentioned programs took a sinister turn. With CIA encouragement, and using drugs and psychosurgery, scientists turned to brainwashing, interrogation techniques, and remote-control behavior. Author Lemov traces how the absurd, the practical, and the dangerous experiments of these human engineers left their laboratories to become our day-to-day reality.--From publisher description.… (more)

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