The Null Device

"Excuse me, may I have your seat?"

Stanley Milgram, the social psychologist responsible for the how-much-pain-would-you-inflict-whilst-following-orders experiment and the six-degrees-of-separation experiment, is also known for another experiment: getting able-bodied students to ask Subway passengers for their seats. Surprisingly many passengers gave up their seats (though some with scornful remarks), though the thing that surprised Milgram was the degree of social mortification, and indeed physical distress, felt by the students asking the question. (via FmH)

There are 1 comments on ""Excuse me, may I have your seat?"":

Posted by: Ben-Baba Ali Gazebo http:// Sun Oct 3 03:31:56 2004

Makes me think about the psychology of beggars. Most of them come up to you and don't ask 'Can you please give me some money for free?' but rather ask 'Do you have a dollar?'. So of course I usually answer them 'yes' and leave it at that, which puzzles them because they expect you to immediately hand it to them so they can run and buy some heroin.