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UNETHICAL EXPERIMENTS: SHOCKS FOR PICTURES

In 1862, French neurologist Guillaume Duchenne wanted to test the popular theory (at the time) that the face was directly linked to the soul.

He had already done some work applying electric shocks to patients’ damaged muscles and he reasoned that if he could apply electric currents to a subject’s face he could stimulate the muscles and photograph the results.

One problem was that while it was easy to activate responses with electric shocks, it passed too quickly for the camera to record.

One of the patients at the hospital where Duchenne worked was a shoemaker who suffered from facial paralysis, which meant he would hold facial expressions longer- long enough to photograph.

The above picture is one of the pictures.

Duchenne subjected the shoemaker to over 100 sessions. While it was clearly unethical and pretty painful, Duchenne figured out the muscles required for a genuine smile.  

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