Strange Experiment on Children in 1960

In 1960, two psychologists at Cornell University built what they called the ‘visual cliff’ – a contraption made up of boards laid across a heavy sheet of glass. 

Patterned fabric was added, so the transition from boards to bare glass ended up looking like a sheer drop straight to the floor below.

The experiment involved placing thirty-six babies above the illusion of a sheer drop and asking their mothers to coax them to crawl over the ‘cliff’. 

What will the babies choose: Obedience or self-preservation?

Only three of the thirty-six crept onto the glass. Most crawled away from their own mothers.

The experimenters did, however, notice that several of the infants who didn’t cross onto the glass still ended up close enough to the edge to fall if the drop been real.