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Technology & Innovation

Candid Camera as Psychology Experiment

A British psychology professor is working with European and American foundations to inspire young people toward a career, and lifestyle, in the physical and human sciences. 

What’s the Latest Development?

British psychology professor Tom Stafford recently took to the streets of Berlin to make some important points about how the mind works and that science, in general, is a very human activity. One experiment Stafford performed is an old “Candid Camera” gag in which a man asks a passerby for directions and when two men carrying a door pass between them, the man asking for directions is switched out for another man with substantially different physical characteristic. About half the time, the person giving directions fails to notice they are now talking to a completely different person. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Professor Stafford is on a mission to make science more accessible to the man on the street, and perhaps more importantly, the child on the street. Aware that Europe and America have produced fewer science graduates than Asia in recent decades, Stafford wants to make science fun and applicable to daily life. The event in Berlin, in which Stafford participated, was sponsored by BMW and the Guggenheim Foundation. It is just one example of an increasing number of “mobile labs” and “experiential science” meant to spur young people’s interest in science as a discipline and way of life. 

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