Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Abstract for Ronson Ch. 3

In this chapter of "The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson he describes certain methods used by psychiatrist Elliot Barker. Elliot Barker tested many different methods in his Oak Ridge experiments to try to "cure" the insanity of psychopaths to make them sane again. Elliot Barker would perform tests on specimen by putting them in rooms completely naked to do nude psychotherapy sessions. The inmates would suck food through a straw and were encouraged to talk about their rawest emotions. The area of which the people were put in would be referred to as "The Capsule". After a while Barker decided to retire from his position and Gary Maier "a prodigy" stepped up to the plate. Gary Maier would use LSD to stimulate the minds of the specimen in whole groups to try to break down the pathology of all the inmates. Many of the treatments of Gary Maier's experiments were reported as unsuccessful because in normal circumstances 60% of the inmates released would offend again. However, 80% of their inmates went on to offend again, the Capsule made the inmates worse.

I thought this chapter was very ironic as well as strange overall. I found it ironic that Gary Maier had in fact lived in Madison, Wisconsin and when he met the narrator he met up with him in downtown Milwaukee in the Ambassador Hotel. This was ironic because I was born in Milwaukee so I have seen many of the areas and it allows you to get a better image of the story and now I am living in Madison, Wisconsin. This story had many strange descriptions of these such as the nude psychotherapy sessions and Mary Barne's shit room. It really just gives me disgusting images and like makes me think, wow what if I was in the circumstance. This chapter also makes me think so myself, what would I do if I ever got accused of being a psychopath and how will I prove if I'm not. I also think that some of the methods used seem to me like methods of torture such as when Steve Smith had to sit next to the serial killer Peter Woodcock as this would be really scary I would think. Something that surprised me as well was how Gary Maier allowed some of the psychopaths to live on his farm with him I could not believe how much confidence he had on the psychopaths. This novel really interests me and it really makes you think more deeply about the psychology of the human.