If the hatch really is an experiment, it may be more similar to studies performed by Stanley Milligram and other social psychologists who study obedience and conformity. While the task of button-pushing makes this supposed study similar to a Skinner Box in method, the purpose doesn't appear to be the same. The goal of the Skinner Box was to study operant conditioning, which just isn't present in Lost; for operant conditioning to take place, reward or punishment would have to be matched with a specific activity (in this case, pressing the button). A Skinner Box could not have the punishment of death (or anything that would not allow for a second chance), because it would forgo the learning process, and would therefore not be a study of operant conditioning.

If the Lost loft is indeed an experiment, it seems more reasonable to compare it to a study in obedience--that the idea is to see how long people will continue to follow instructions for no apparent reason other than that they were instructed to do so. This could be paralleled to Stanley Milligram’s obedience and conformity studies where researchers instructed participants to shock a confederate repeatedly (sometimes to the point where the participant believed they were actually killing the confederate). The participants would protest, but after the researcher told them their participation was essential, many of the participants would continue to do what they believed was causing harm, simply because an authority told them to do so. Another famous experiment which may be more relevant to Lost is Philip Zimbardo's prison experiment, in which participants were randomly assigned to be either prisoners or guards in a mock prison set up in the basement of a building at Stanford University. While the students were equal at the start, the students who were to act as prisoners quickly began to obey the increasingly cruel and arbitrary rules set by the guards.

If the button scenario was set up by a group of psychologists as a study, as Jack at one point suggested, then it would be a study on learning or operant conditioning. It would instead be a study on how far people are willing to act on the instruction of an authority (the video) against common sense, which would be testing their obedience.

  • I agree with the Milligram and Zimbardo experiments, and you are welcome to add them into the Theories section of Psychology. The thing is, we can't have it in the main article, because even if it's well-supported, there is no direct mention of Milligram, only indirect allusions, unlike Skinner, who has a verbatum reference. Thus, it falls into the theoretical realm, though IMHO, a good theory. PS: Please sign your notes; --~~~~ --PandoraX 06:24, 4 November 2006 (PST)

B.F. Skinner and the Countdown Timer

It's interesting though that the Countdown Timer looks a lot like the machine on this Time magazine cover about B.F. Skinner.,16641,1101710920,00.html

I suspect that the countdown timer is indeed a Skinner Box in which the testee is rewarded upon performing a task at regular intervals, in this instance the reward is further supplies of the vaccine. - Morrison

wikipedia copy and paste

do we need all this bf skinner info? I think we should limit the lostpedia article to original info about him with a link to the wikipedia article

I think we do, it's more relevant than ever after "?". Besides, it's nice to have some info on this site instead of just linking to Wikipedia --Jambalaya 10:13, 2 June 2006 (PDT)

The question isn't do we need this information so much as, should the information be a duplication of what's in the Wikipedia article on the same subject. If it's a duplication with no mention of LOST at all, I say we simply redirect to the wikipedia page... Since there's a brief mention about LOST in the top-most section, I've kept that information and redirected folks to the Wikipedia article for the remainder of the information. I think this works best... XSG 10:37, 2 June 2006 (PDT)

I think that the article about Skinner shouldn't be a biographical article, or encyclopedic article about his work, but it should consist of :

  • minimal biographical information
  • link to Wikipedia's article
  • similarities between Skinner's work and Lost :
    • Walden Two / Dharma's "utopian social experiment"
    • Skinner box / The Hatch (similarities and differences)

--Jeremie 01:34, 25 July 2006 (PDT)

While I agree that it ought to be more related to LOST, I don't think that a simple link to wikipedia would suffice. I doubt many people would follow the link, and then they wouldn't know about this guy, who obviously really did have an impact on LOST. Plus, his hair sure makes for an interesting front-page featured article. User:Tarabyte 19:27, 21 May 2007 (PDT)


After reading this article, I'm gonna have to go check out this man's book. Very informative, well written.   Hooper   talk    contribs    email   10:47, 22 March 2007 (PDT)

propose to remove the "human experimentation" section

I dont see any reason to have this section in the article. The stories are false and have nothing to do with LOST. Dharmatel4 11:09, 22 May 2007 (PDT)


As a point of interest (but probably too minor to mention on the article), Skinner did a lot of work with doves and pigeons. Here's an interesting YouTube video of him talking about Operant Conditioning; a technique he used for his slightly bonkers pigeon-guided missiles.--TechNic|talk|conts 16:28, 3 May 2008 (PDT)

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