The Greater Good – Mind Field S2 (Ep 1)

The Greater Good – Mind Field S2 (Ep 1)

[sneezes] Excuse me. You know,
if I had been driving, that would’ve been
pretty dangerous. Every time you sneeze, your eyes close
for about one second, which means if you sneeze
while driving at, say, 70 miles per hour times 5,280
divided by 60 divided by 60, you will travel about 103 feet
with your eyes closed. But don’t worry. This is a self-driving car. It uses sensors and software
to drive itself to keep me
and other people safe. I hope. [tires screech] Impressive.
But let me ask you a question. What if an autonomous vehicle
had to make a choice between hitting two people
right in front of it or swerving to avoid them and hit one person
on a sidewalk? What should
it be programmed to do? [tires screech, car crashes] What would you do? Now polls and surveys
have been put together asking people what theythink
they would do, but no researchers
have ever put people in that actual
traumatic experience. Would we learn more about
human nature if we did that? Would it even be ethical to put
people in that sort of position? I’m about to find out. [theme music playing] In 1967, British philosopher
Philippa Foot created a precursor to our
self-driving car conundrum. The famous scenario
she came up with is known as
“the trolley problem.” Imagine there’s a runaway train
hurtling down a train track. Directly ahead of the train, there are five people
on the track. Now, imagine that you are
too far away to help those five people,
but right next to you, there’s a lever that can divert
the train onto another track. If you divert the train,
the five people will be saved. But here’s the catch. There’s another person
on the second track. Now you’re faced with a dilemma. You can either do nothing and the train
will kill five people, or you can pull the lever
and save their lives, but be directly responsible
for one person’s death. What would you do? When surveyed, most people say
that they’d pull the lever and sacrifice one person
to save five. It’s for the greater good. But how we say we’d act
may not match how we’d actually act if
the scenario really happened with real emotions
and real lives at stake. Any difference between the two
would reveal who wearecompared to who we want to be,
but a comparison could only be made by doing
what has never been done before: making the trolley problem real. [Michael]Suppose we conducted
an experiment
in a realistic railroad
switching station
with test subjects
watching trains on monitors.
The trains and the people
on the tracks
would be staged
and prerecorded,
but the subjects would think
it was all real.
They would believe that
they could control a lever
that switches the tracks,and they’d have the option
to divert the train or not.
They’d be totally convinced
that they have to choose
between five lives or one.But wait,
there’s a greater-good dilemma about doing an experiment
on the greater good. By forcing people
to truly believe they might kill someone,
are we risking serious psychological damage
to them? Yes, it might be beneficial to
all of us to see what happens, but would those benefits be
worth potential trauma to a few? To actually conduct
a real-life trolley problem, I needed to make sure
it would be ethical.So I sat down
with behavioral neuroscientist
Professor Aaron Blaisdell.What you know about
the trolley problem and what previous studies
have found? Most people say
they would pull the switch. Sure, it’s one life versus five.
The math works out. But what I want to know
is that if we actually
put them in front of a switch, watching a train
barreling towards people, would they actually pull it
in that moment? I bet a lot of them
would freeze
in that moment. When you’re afraid, I think that shuts down
a lot of action. -I’d like to find out.
-Okay. What potential harms could come
to someone in that position? Most people
would probably be fine, but there is
a small potential for harm in the sense of somebody
being guilt-ridden over their decision,
obsessive thoughts about, “I’m the person
who would push that button and cause the train to go
and kill somebody.” Or they might think,
“I’m the person
who would freeze and I wouldn’t be able
to help those five people,” and that could be traumatic. Have we ever tested
the trolley problem on human subjects for real? To my knowledge,
we have not. Would you want to see
the trolley problem enacted in real life? You know, I would. That would be
very informative about
how people really react. -If I were tell you
we’re going to run this…
-Okay. …would you feel comfortable with that responsibility
on your shoulders? No. I couldn’t do it. For me
to be involved in that, it would have to be on
the shoulders of many people, including an ethics board. I couldn’t just
go through with that. [Michael]
Dr. Blaisdell’s reliance
on an ethics board made sense.Most universities
have ethics review boards
to answer
one crucial question:
When is it okay to risk
psychological harm in the name of science? [Narrator]
It is May 1962.
An experiment is being
conducted at Yale University.
[Michael]Ethics review boards
were developed as a result
of some controversial
psychological experiments
in the middle
of the last century.
One theory is that people
learn things correctly whenever they get punished
for making a mistake.-[buzzer]
-Incorrect. You’ll now get a shock
of 105 volts. [man grunts] [Michael]
Dr. Stanley Milgram
how far subjects would go
in obeying authority,
even if they believed
they were physically
hurting someone.
330 volts. [man screams]No one was being electrocuted,
and the screams
of the shock victim were fake,
but the trauma
that the participants suffered
was very real.
[man] You have no right
to hold me here!
Let me out!This sparked controversywithin
the scientific community.
Many questioned
Milgram’s methodology,
but unlike a research school,
Mind Fielddoesn’t answerto a university’s
ethics committee.
That said,
I wanted to get the thoughts
of an institutional
review board,
so I tracked one down
and proposed my idea
for doing the trolley problem
in real life.
Do you think I could reach
a point where you would feel comfortable
approving this study? I hate to be the bearer
of bad tidings, Michael. Probably not. I’m not ready to say no
quite yet. I would love
to see your study pass, and I actually think
the ways to make it pass is we should probably
be screening out for people who might have posttraumatic
stress disorder, you know, any kind of,
like, clinical problem that could make them
more vulnerable to a type of event like this
with the addition of something like a trauma counselor on-site. I actually think
that under those circumstances, -it might pass.
-Can you present a compelling case as to
the social good of this study? -I agree.
-If you could find a way to say, “Look,
this is why it’s important. It’s not just basic
theoretical research. This has direct implications
for mass transit, direct implications
for self-driving cars. It’s a risk-benefit, but the benefits
are potentially tremendous.” Right, and so my hope
is that the good
this experiment does is in revealing
the difference
between instinct and philosophical reflection, and I think that there
could be an enormous benefit in learning the difference
so that we can train people to act in the way
that they wish they would. -[David] Yeah.
-[Natasha] That’s interesting. -That’s a compelling argument.
-[Natasha] Yeah. I came into this meeting
expecting a lot of resistance, but, instead, I’m actually
leaving invigorated, like, excited to take
their concerns, implement them into the study, and make it not just
more acceptable, which I thought
was the purpose here, but to actually make it
more beneficial, more fascinating,
and penetrate deeper and have more applications
in society. So I decided we were ready
to move forward, to turn one
of the most notorious hypothetical ethical dilemmas
into a reality. [train horn blowing]We traveled
to an abandoned railroad line
and hired a freight train.Our subjects needed to be shown
how switch points work.
So the “Mind Field”
production team
shot a video of a train
going down two tracks.
Then we dressed six actors
like railroad workers.
Since we didn’t want them
to be at actual risks of harm,
we took steps to make sure
they were safe.
You’re all going to be
workers on the track. We will not have
the train moving while you are on the tracks. [Michael]We filmed
our actors on the tracks,
wearing ear protection
and looking distracted
to explain
why they couldn’t hear
a train coming toward them.Then in editing,
we employed visual effects
to create the illusion
of the train approaching.
We then combined
the shots together.
During the experiment,
we would play the video
for our subjects,
who would believe
the action was happening liveand transmitted
from remote cameras.
Our next step
was to find an expert
who would be willing to guide
me through the process
of selecting our subjects,in order to minimize
psychological harm.
So what should I be
worried about? The worst would probably be
posttraumatic stress disorder, and that’s when
they’re going to be
re-experiencing the trauma. They’ll keep thinking
about it over and over, and so to limit risk, you’d
want to screen out people prone to
a traumatic reaction, and then afterwards,
do the debrief. That’s the key
to limit harm
from happening. How are they feeling
at this moment? What’s going on with them? You can start to ease them
into the reality of what is
instead of what they
thought it was. Would you be willing to help us
conduct this experiment? Oh, uh… yes, I mean,
I think I would. I think this is
a really fascinating and valuable experiment,
because people can have very uncomfortable lessons that
they then start to learn from. If I can make sure
that we get people
who may be appropriate to do such a thing,
I would be honored. [woman] I’m calling regarding
a study we’re doing for high-speed railway. I wanted to know if you
might be interested in participating next week. [Michael]
To disguise the true nature
of our experiment,
we placed an online ad
recruiting people
for a fake focus group
to offer feedback
on California’s
new high-speed rail.
Today I’m just going to ask you
to fill out a couple forms to make sure that there’s
a range of personality types in our group
and for TSA security purposes. [Michael]
These psychological surveys,
used frequently by employers,look to uncover signs
of depression, anxiety,
and other conditions
that might make someone
unsuitable to participate
in this experiment.
Thank you very much.
Have a great day. Thankyou.Back in Dr. Cason’s office,we reviewed the potential
subjects’ responses.
This particular person,
I was concerned about this. Some high suicidal thinking,
high acting out. Those kinds
of factors might not be
good in an experiment where you want
to try to prevent -some of the trauma
from happening.
-Right. These people, though, and there’s
a large group of them, they are more resilient. So I would be more comfortable
with these people, because their ability
to bounce back in difficult situations
might make them less susceptible
to a trauma. [Michael]Finally, after
consulting two psychologists
and a university ethics board,it was time to put our plan
into action.
[Michael] This is where we’re
going to physically create the trolley problem
in real life, not with a trolley,
but with a train. Our subjects will sign in
at this booth for our phony focus test, which will never
actually take place. It’s going to be
a hot day for them. So we’ll offer them,
while they wait for the actual test to begin,
the chance to sit inside this nice air-conditioned
remote switching station. Inside, they’ll meet a kindly
train-switch operator, supposedly an employee of the California
Railroad Authority. The California Railroad
Authority is real. Real fake.We invented this nonexistent
government organization
to convince our subjects
that everything here is real,
including these monitors
showing supposedly live shots
of actual trains
from different tracks all around the California area. [horn blows] While the participant
is waiting inside this room,they’ll learn how the operator
switches the tracks
using a lever to remotely
switch a train
from one track to another.They’ll see it happen.We’re actually controlling
the video on these screens from
a different hidden control room.At a given time,
the switch operator
will leave the subject alone
in the switching station.
And at that point,
a crisis will occur. -[brakes hiss]
-[horn blows] A train will be barreling
down the tracks,and workers will have made
their way out to both tracks,
five on one, one worker
on his phone on the other.
No one is around for them
to alert who has any kind of control
or authority.Switching the train is up
to the subject alone.
They’ll feel like what they do
has real-world consequences.
-[train horn blows]
-Will five people die… or will one? [horn blows] Our first participant
is almost here, so it’s time for me
to get ready. Dr. Cason,
how are you feeling? -Good.
-My hypothesis is that we’re going see
people immediately, when they hear
that first warning, leave the station and not want
to get back inside. The other option
would be, of course,
the freeze action, where
they don’t do anything, ’cause they don’t know
what to do. In that case,
we want to know
their thought process. It’ll be interesting
to see. This has never
been done before. All right, well, here we go. [warning bells clanging] [Michael]
Our first subject is Elsa.
[woman]Do you wanna stand
over here in the shade?
Hi, I’m Elsa,
nice to meet you. Nice to meet you, Elsa. [Michael]
Everyone she meets is an actor,
and all of our cameras
are hidden
so she has no idea
that she’s being watched.
Oh, yeah,
thank you so much, and then my phone
if I can. Thank you. [Michael]Our subjects were
told that the technology
they’re about to see
is proprietary.
This gave us an excuse
to collect their phones
so they couldn’t call for help
during the imminent crisis.
-Thank you so much
for coming out today.
-Thank you. What we’re doing here is,
the California Railroad
Authority,they’re developing
high-speed trains.
And so we want the public
to come in and give us some feedback on how
comfortable they are,
the decor, you know. -Oh, wow.
-All that kind of stuff. -[cell phone chirps]
-Um, oh, shoot. They’re running a little
behind from the last one. -That’s okay.
-So it’s just gonna be, like,
another 15, maybe 20 minutes. Yeah, that’s fine, yeah.
No problem. Um… you know what?
I’ve got an idea. Okay. Michael:
Now Elsa believes
she has to wait
for 20 minutes.
-[knock on door]
-Yeah?Our actress pretends
to ask permission
for her to wait inside
the switching station.
So, actually,
this isn’t part of it. This is a remote
train-switching station, but since it’s gonna be
a little bit, and it’s
nice and cool and
air-conditioned in there,I just talked to Eddie,
and he said
it would be totally great
for you to come in… -Oh, yeah, okay.
-…and just check it out… -Okay, cool.
-…and see what they
do in there. Eddie, this is Elsa. -How are you, Elsa?
-I’m good, how are you? Good, come on in,
have a seat. So what brings you out this way? Um, the focus group.
[laughs] Focus group. Yes, the high-speed railroad.
The luxury railroad.Okay. So what we got here is
a remote switching station.
These are all live feeds. What’s happening is there’s
a lot of construction going on. We’re going to have to put
all new ballast through here, new ribbon rail
right here on these. [Michael]In case you’re
wondering, we hired an actor
who actually spent 20 years
working on railroads.
Can you imagine if we had
an actor who didn’t know
a lot about trains? [Greg]
He offers something
called face validity
in that you can look him,
and you think,
“Ah, this guy’s real.” My job here is to
take care of all the switching right here on these
two tracks right now. And so there needs to be someone
in here all the time. Now, the other thing
about this– [female voice]
Attention, train approaching.
This is probably
a work unit that’s coming. -Uh-huh.
-We’re gonna divert it
to track two. Okay, so a train’s coming. Now’s a chance for her
to learn how the switch works. Ah, very good. In fact, why don’t you be
the one to do that? Just go ahead
and throw it yourself. -Pull it down.
-Right now? Yeah, go ahead. Good. It’s going much faster
than you think. All right, it’s gonna
make the transition
to track number two. Well, I tell you what.
You’re now a switchman. [both laugh] Okay, well,
now that the trailing car is clear of the switch points, go ahead and switch it back
to track one. -Okay.
-That was kind of scary. I was like, oh, my gosh,
I have to turn it. Well, just you wait. The good thing is we’ve got it
back on line one, and that means
that the next train
that comes through will go through on track one. [Michael]
Elsa now understands exactly
where the trains will go,switch one to the left,
switch two to the right.
It was time to force her to
make a very difficult decision.
-[cell phone rings]
-Hang on. -Oh, I gotta take this.
-Oh, yeah, sure, no problem. Do me a favor. -Wait right here.
-Okay. Someone has to be here
at all times. Okay, no problem. I’m just gonna go out
and take care of this. -Okay, no problem. Okay.
-Be back in a sec. [Greg]
Look at her eyes
’cause she’s concerned
a little worried,
like, “What?” [Michael]We gave Elsa
a couple of minutes
to acclimate
to her surroundings, and then,
we started the playback
of our staged footage.
[Michael]All right,
here come the workers.
[female voice]
Attention, object on track.
Yep, she just noticed them.Attention, object on track.Attention, object on track.Attention, object on track. [Greg]
She’s looking
in her purse to find…
-[Michael]No phone?
-…no phone.
Attention, object on track.Attention, object on track. [Michael]
I think the warning
does a lot.
If you’re in that station,
you’re supposed to do something.Attention, object on track.Okay, here comes the train.[train horn blows]Attention, train approaching.Here’s the “train approaching”
warning.Attention, object on track. [Greg]
I don’t think at this–
oh, there she goes.
Attention, train approaching.There’s a train approaching. [woman] What? I wanted to let him know that
there’s a train approaching. -Oh, my God, okay.
-Can you tell him? Yeah, I will go look for him
right now. [Michael]
But the switch operator
won’t be coming back.
The full weight of this crisis
is all on Elsa.
[female voice]
Attention, train approaching.
-Whoa, whoa, whoa.
-Attention, object on track.
-Attention, train approaching.
-[Greg]I can’t believe this.Attention, object on track.Attention, train approaching.Attention, object on track.Attention, train approaching.Attention, object on track.End of test.
Everyone is safe.
End of test.
Everyone is safe.
-[Michael]We didn’t wantthe participants to think
that anyone actually got hurt.
So we showed them this
“everyone is safe” card
before the train would have
actually hit anyone.
-I’m Michael. -Hi,
-And this is Greg. -This was all an experiment.
-Okay. Can we come on in? We want to ask you
a few questions. Yeah, sure.
Did I do something wrong? -Not at all.
-How are you feeling right now? [chuckles]
Um… just scared. -Go ahead and take a seat.
-[Greg] Scared? -Yes.
-So no one was in any danger. This is a psychological
experiment that we’re conducting on how people behave
when decisions need to be made. -Oh, okay.
-Walk me through how you felt. I felt the pressure.
I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, these people are gonna die.” I had to make a very quick
and sound decision, like, immediately, right now,
right this second.Their lives were in my hands.I need to change it
to track two.
[Michael]What was motivating
your decision to switch?
So I can save more lives. I didn’t know if I was
making the right decision. I mean,
a life is a life, right? [Michael]So when confronted
with two terrible choices,
at least one person
was capable of taking
deliberate action to sacrifice
one in order to save five.
But we wanted to see
if Elsa’s reaction was typical.
-Need my phone?
-Yes, please. Would you be interested
in high-speed transportation? -Oh, yeah, anything
that cuts through–
-[cell phone rings] Shoot, sorry. I just got a text.
I’m so sorry. Why don’t you have
a look in there and see the trains running? Oh, it’s
so much nicer in here
than it is out there. When I first started out, I used
to have to stand out in the sun. -What?
-Do you know when
the next train’s coming? -There’s one coming
right there.
-He has a great eye. [female voice]
Attention, train approaching.
[Michael]As with Elsa,
every subject received a lesson
in how to switch the tracks.Why don’t you go ahead
and switch them? -Right here?
-Yeah. Go ahead.
How does that feel? I was, like, exhilarated.
I was, like– I got nervous. -[cell phone rings]
-One second. Let me check this.
Hang on one sec. Ah. Someone has to be in here
the whole time. -I got it, yep, I’m here.
-Okay. -Hello?
-[laughing] Breaker, one-nine,
roger, copy that. He’s actually
tapping into the power
of being in that position. [female voice]
Attention, object on track.
Here comes the test.Attention, object on track.Attention, train approaching.[Greg]
She’s not moving.
-Attention, train approaching.
-Just watch his eyebrows.
[Michael]Oh, yeah.Eyes are going
back and forth.
Train approaching.-Oh, she’s worried.
Train approaching.I don’t know what I would do
in this kind of scenario.Train approaching.This is sort of that
frozen pose that we see.Paralysis in the face of danger
is such a common reaction.
Attention, object on track.Attention, train approaching.Object on track.[Michael]Even with the train
seconds away,
some are still looking
for others to take control.
I’ll go try
and find him. Okay. -[sings softly]
-She’s singing.
This is self-soothing
there, yeah. [female voice]
Object on track. Attention.
-She’s not moving.
-Oh, my gosh, wow.-Okay,
-Is she gonna switch it?
Train approaching.
Attention, object on track.
Attention.End of test.
Everyone is safe.
-All right, let’s go. [Michael]Not one of these
participants pulled the lever.
Time to find out why.[Michael] Hello, J.R. Oh, my gosh!
How you guys doing? -My name’s Michael.
-J.R. Everything that just happened
was an experiment. [laughs] This was an experiment. -Oh, my gosh.
-Okay. What were you feeling
when you were watching that? Terrified! I– I just– I was feeling
a little anxious
when I saw the train coming,
like, “Oh, my God!” -Your heart is beating fast?
-Yeah, a little bit, yeah. Tell me what was going
through your mind when you heard that first warning
that a train was approaching? I thought
about switching it, but then
actually acting on it
was a different thing. I kind of suspended
my responsibility. Like, I didn’t
know what to do,
so I was just like, “Oh, I better not
touch it you know,
because I don’t know if I’ll
screw something up.” I would assume
that there would be– out of those five guys,
someone would’ve looked back. They were gonna get
out of the way, of the train was already
planning to stop. I think they probably built
those trains with some type of sensor
or something like that. [Michael]“The train
probably had sensors.”
“The workers would’ve noticed.”“I didn’t want to touch
the equipment.”
These are all forms
of attribution,
when an individual assumes
that others
are either responsible
for taking action
or have already done so.-Both tracks
had people on them.
-Right! And I just didn’t know who
should live and who should die. Do I switch it,
do I not switch it? I mean, either way,
someone’s gonna get
really badly hurt. I didn’t want that power. It was quite–
quite the test, I would say. [Michael]
It is quite the test.
At this point,
one subject
had switched the tracks,
and five others had not.
But we weren’t done yet.
Meet Cory.
-Here, have a seat.
-Much obliged, thank you. This is cool. This whole module
will interconnect with the entire nation
if we wanted it to. But right now, we’re looking
at just track one on the left, track two through there. -Nice.
-These are many,
many miles away. -Yeah,
-But they’re all live feeds. Surveying the scene.
Eagle’s point of view. -[cell phone rings]
-Yeah. Let me see what this is. -Okay, I’ll be right back.
-Okay, got it. [Greg]
He’s remaining engaged.
Here come the workers.
Oh, no. [female voice]
Attention, object on track.
Uh, yeah. So he realizes there’s
a potential problem.I think
he’s gonna go out.
Attention, train approaching.Um, there’s a train coming?
Um… [Greg]Okay.Attention, object on track.Uh, yeah.Attention, train approaching.Okay, he realizes there’s
no one there, it’s urgent. Okay,
so this needs to go to…Attention, object on track. [Greg]Okay, he’s
rehearsing what to do.
-Attention, train approaching.
-Oh. Track two. Do they not know?Attention, train approaching.I know.
They should see this.Object on track.
Attention, train approaching.
-Attention, object on track.
-[train horn blows]
-Attention, object on track.
-Oh, my God.-End of test.
-Okay, good.Everyone is safe.-Hello?
-Hi, Cory, my name’s Michael. There was just a–
almost an accident
seemingly. -Cory, everything that just
happened was an experiment.
-Okay. -No one was in danger.
-For sure. These were just loops
of video taken before. This is a psychology experiment
looking at how people behave… -Okay. Okay, yeah.
-…in various circumstances. So tell me
how you were feeling. -Mainly a bunch of terror.
-[Greg] Terror. And responsibility,
because I was at the helm. And just horrified
about making a decision between, like,
five people compared to one. It was very scary,
to say the least. -It was scary, right.
-Yeah. Oh, yeah. What was going through
your mind as the train’s coming
down the track? It was mainly to warn them. There are–
just to reiterate– What’s coming up?
What’s coming up right now? You don’t want to have
to choose between people. Right. And that was really tough. Either like six families
or one family? It was, like… up to me,
it felt like. Yeah. It was interesting to me that
you had such presence of mind. [Michael] Yeah, look for help
make a decision. The one that everyone,
if you ask them in a survey, says that they would like
to be brave enough to make. Yes, so that was impressive,
Cory, it really was. Thank you. You know, I think it would
be good to have you meet -some of the people who
participated so you can see.
-Awesome. Yeah, let’s go do that,
just follow us on out -and meet the actors.
-Awesome. [Michael]Cory showed us
just how important
the debrief was
in this situation.
Meeting the actors,
which all of our subjects did,
reinforced that this
was not a reality.
So, Greg, trolley problem. -Mm-hmm.
-I went into this thinking we’re going to tease out
some general truths
about human nature. However,
what we’ve really seen is that you learn
a lot about the individual. -Right.
-Everyone had some explanation
for their behavior. -Yes.
-Each one was different. Yes, each one person told
themselves a story about what was happening
according to the facts and their analysis
of the surroundings and what was going on
at the moment, but it’s also based
on their own background
and experience. Totally, there were people
who were just frozen,realizing something was wrong
and they weren’t prepared.
[Greg]J.R. was
a great example of that.
He evaluated everything,
but at some point just said, “You know,
I don’t know what to do.” Other people
were ready to say,
“You know what?This isn’t on me.
It’s on the technology.
I’m sure it’s being taken care
of by others.”
Whereas someone like Cory,-someone like Elsa said…
-[switch clicks]-…”No, I have
to take control.”

-[click] They still had some of
those same thoughts, but I think what happened
is they realized that if they did not
do something, more people would be hurt. Neither of them
to do something. They both felt compelled
to do something, ’cause they
had to save lives.So was it worth doing
the trolley experiment?
I think it was
definitely worth it.
Some of these participants,
if not all of them,
learned something
about human behavior.
Although it was
a difficult experience,
Elsa learned what
inner strength she had,
and I think we had saw that
with Cory as well.
Every single one of
our participants felt like -they just contributed
to something.
-Right. And they feel the value
of what just happened. -Yeah.
-It’s not just us. Wow. We’ve since followed up
with our subjects, and all of them are doing well. I’m glad we minimized risk by prescreening
vulnerable individuals, debriefing the participants,
and providing on-site counseling because doing so
gave me confidence that we could explore this facet
of human psychology ethically. We learned that there’s
a stark difference between what people
think they would do and what they actually do
when faced with a difficult moral dilemma. Instead of saving five lives, most of our participants
did nothing, but is it wrong to freeze? Should people feel bad
for being unable to act? Well, here’s the thing. Freezing in the face of a threat
is a behavior that can be found
all over the animal kingdom, but we are the only animals
that can study how we act, pontificate
on how weoughtto act, and program machines
to do only that. To make progress
in our study of the mind, we have to affect the mind, and that’s not something
that we should take lightly. Understanding who we are
by taking ourselves to the limit comes with a risk,
and as we’ve learned, that risk
must always be balanced against the greater good. And as always,
thanks for watching.This season,
Mind Field… You’re going
to be a lab rat
in a maze.Nobody’s ever
done this before.
It’s quite pioneering work,
really. As far as I’m concerned,
you’re already a co-authoron our scientific paper.– Ready?
– Ready. I’m here on the Amazon,
where I will drinkan ancients psychedelic drug–
Don’t worry,
this is a self-driving car.We’ll connect through Bluetooth
to this living robot.
Okay, and then
to the left. -Whoa.
-Whoa-ho-ho! I didn’t realize
that you were a real person. I’m gonna tear you apart
if you don’t give us
some answers. I am going to be taking
a lie-detection test. -[buzz]
-[crackling] You know, Chinese water torture
isn’t even Chinese.Will five people die,
or will one?
This is a big first for us.We’re actually getting
to do this for real. Welcome toMind Field.Thanks for watching! [theme music playing]

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  1. I wonder how this experiment would go if the single person was someone they know and cared about (son, wife, best friend, etc.) vs 5 anonymous strangers.

  2. I wonder what would have been there reaction if someone had switched it to the 1 guy then switched it back to the 5 guys

  3. Now that I think about it more I wouldn’t pull the lever. When you step on the train track you take a risk and I think it is your job to minimise the risk. The people on the first track are walking on a track a train is coming towards. It is most likely their fault they are on the track but that is just my opinion.

    Edit: in the situation I would probably freeze up.

    Edit2: I think I would be traumatised because I think I would have done nothing. I think I would have let four more people die even though it wouldn’t make any logical sense

  4. ugh. we are way to soft now days. a pussy gets PTSD and hero's get awards…..
    and PTSD after the hero complex is gone.

  5. Why are there 5 silly people playing on the train tracks in the first place? Easy choice, I'm weeding out the gene pool

  6. Now these 8.6 Million people who watched this, they probably going to laugh if something like that happens in future FOR REAL!

  7. Now when I drive I'll try to hit a single guy, not a gang, thats how I'll be a hero by saving more lives
    Thanks Michale 🙂

  8. And vsauce is not doing the enjoyable videos anymore (they were enjoyable to me) so yeah i freaking hate this.

  9. You are driving a train,

    You see 5 people working on traintrack 1 and there is a 1 person working on traintrack 2.

    What do you do?

    Best answer: Try and push the train sideways and make it fall off the tracks and you have a small chance of surviving that

  10. i would do same as elsa and corey. its a compelling situation where your first thinking is save 5 people instead of one. but on elsa briefing said by the guy watching the monitor and handling the lever that set between track one and two. when he let her try to set the lever on to track two. that the next train should pass on track one. that is why he make her to put it back on track one. what if in real life like is said in the first part of my statement that i would choose track two if i were in that situation. but if i did. so i save five people. but what happened if the trains in track two collided i mean a massive bump from behind. (they are not supposed to be on the same track) and more people died instead of just one? it could play a vital role in someone mind and make a decision not to decide who is gonna live and is going to die?

  11. I would not do anything because if i don't, it would feel like they killed themselves by being on the wrong track without attention vs if i switched, i would feel like I killed someone who wasn't in danger in the first place.

  12. See the obvious answer to me is to kill yourself if possible- if it means saving everybody else. Like with the car problem. If there’s a barrier or building that you can crash into that won’t hurt anybody but the person in the car- do it. Because the person in the car actually subjected themselves to be in that dangerous situation.

  13. Oh my gosh everything about this is SO cool. Gosh I’ve always wanted to go into some form of psychology and this just makes me want to study it even more.

  14. How does this bullshit even make sense. The autonomous car or what ever mode of transportation will be programmed to stop not swerve

  15. This test should be named , Preservation of MAXIMUM number of lives in real life situations. because the greater good is nothing about preserving the maximum number of lives. the greater good is outside of human understanding as humans do not have the

    foresight to even comprehend it.

  16. Something I'm surprised was not addressed in this "study" are the litigious aspects of taking action. Taking an intentional action to change the course of something not directly in your control or realm of responsibility could bring criminal as well as a civil action against you. Even if cleared by a criminal court; the family of the person killed because of your action could take to civil court. There is nothing that absolves you from taking the moral high ground to cause fewer deaths. Someone will be responsible for any of these deaths, and if you take action in this scenario it could be you.

  17. How to make democrats/liberals let the train run over 5 people instead of one: Tell them those five votes for Trump while the one votes for the democrat candidate

  18. There is no way the rich and powerful will have the same self driving cars as we plebs will. A normal person may have a car that would sacrifice the passenger in certain conditions… Do you really think Vladimir Putin's car will be programmed to do the same thing?

  19. The issue i have with the experiment you conducted is that you didnt give the participants the responsibility of needing to respond. They happened to be in the room when the crisis was happening they weren’t in charge of changing rails before hand, therefore, their accountability in needing to act, and their accountability to take responsibility for their actions is non existent, they can rely on being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I feel like more people would be more likely to act more genuinely if they had to be accountable for their actions, instead of just being there. I hope that made sense and wasnt so rambley.

  20. I just want to point out that for the self driving car industry it's irrelevant what people actually do, but what people decide it is ethically ok to do in this situation.

  21. In case of self driving car, I would be more inclined towards people on the road being hit, because it's their responsibility to keep an eye for vehicles on a busy road and the guy on the sidewalk should not be the one to pay the price. But in the case of Train experiment, I was more inclined towards "switching the lever" because people on both tracks are doing a job they are supposed to do so I should be the one to lessen the damage. Or at least that's what I was feeling when I was watching.

    This was a fascinating experiment and it was very well done. Respect.

  22. 28:52 for those of you wondering if the participants are real or not when a person is fake crying the tear usually comes first from the left eye which happens also when you are crying from happiness but if it comes from the right eye first those are tears of sadness

  23. This was the problem with studies involving babies, the brain (lobotomies ), the Stanford Prison experiment and so on. With today’s moral and ethical standards we can no longer put subjects through traumatic or psychologically intensive experiments. This translates to limited information that leads to potentially significant discoveries in the future.

  24. This experiment would not go very far in terms of being reviewed and published by the scientific community since the test subject was not assured that the control was 100% in their hands and may have been influenced to believe that since the Metro corporation is so huge, the train would surely be controlled somewhere to prevent such an accident where objects were detected on the tracks with time in advance.

  25. Solution!
    Two people in the room
    we froze…or we are one of those people; as opposed to the PTSD on one person, it would be "diluted" with two

  26. You don't "kill" 5 people or 1. You only kill 1, and that's if you chose to pull the lever. You don't kill anyone if you don't get involved.

  27. What about second degree traumatic disorder? People watching people going through traumatic experiences might be traumatic.

  28. I think i would re-direct it to hit the one person
    Of course without actually doing an experiment with me ofc not knowing that it was a setup
    INot even just morally but my first thought would be that there would be simply less deaths, sorry to that 1 guy

  29. How to know you wouldnt be a good subject for this kind of experiment? When you start crying when Corey was explaining his thoughts.

  30. This problem has been tested even with actual lives on the…line, medical triage being a perfect everyday example, one could argue military conflict is almost based around this concept and that organ donation has similarities.

  31. I would not pull the switch! Let them die! The more, the merrier! 😀

    Also, congrats Corey! You've just commited MURDER!

  32. Do this experiment with one of family on one track, and a group of strangers on another.
    I do wonder what the results would be, if changing the track to more people would be.

  33. what if 5 civilians on track 1 with warnings that line is active, and 1 or 2 civilians on track 2 which they know is inactive?

  34. As horrible as it sounds, if it were me, I would not move the lever. As much as I'd want to save five people. It's not my responsibility to condem 1 certain person. I don't have the say to determine that somone should be killed. By doing nothing in a real scenario like this, you hold no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for the lives of those five. But you could be held accountable for the one life, be charged with man slaughter, and be faced with a big lawsuit. I definitely would stay out of it if it were not my prescribed responsibility.
    On the other hand if I were the designated rail operator. I would probably switch it, as I could likley be held accountable for doing nothing as well as switching it. But as a bystander you should stay out of any situation which will result in an inevitable tragic accountability.

  35. OMG…When I saw the first participant Elsa in the situation of having to choose between the 2 tracks I suddenly felt very scared and started crying and I wasn’t even there. Strange🤔

  36. For the train problem I would probably think outside the box, I pull the lever when the train is halfway in the intersection so that it goes off the trails and possibly kill everybody. Because why letting 5 people die or being responsable for the death of one person when you can be resposable of the death of all of those stupid monkeys who thought it was a smart idea to take a walk on some trails that are frequently used. I would make the world a smarter place, it is a win for everybody onestly.

  37. I think anyone who sees this video (which does not have the qualifications of an official legitimate study by way), would say that (and probably would act) if they are in a similar situation will change the track. But is it really the lesson humans must teach themselves?

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