Experiments

Water Torture

posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: Brown Note, Water Torture"
Digital Vision/Thinkstock

Finding: PLAUSIBLE

Explanation: The sound of a leaky faucet can drive some people crazy, but what about the sensation of those droplets dripping repetitively on your skin? MythBusters Kari Byron and Adam Savage suffered for science and underwent Chinese water torture to test its psychological power. The well-known torture tactic involves subjecting victims to a continuous stream of dripping water that strikes the same spot on their foreheads for a prolonged period of time.

The MythBusters racked and restrained Kari, then turned on a leaky faucet, while Adam endured the drip sitting upright and unrestrained. Throughout the process, both took psychological assessments to track their mental states.

After nearly two hours, Kari started to seriously crack and experienced claustrophobia and shoulder spasms. Adam sat through more than three hours of water torture, and while he wasn't as shaken as Kari, the procedure proved uncomfortable.

In fact, the preliminary torture trials rattled the MythBusters enough that they called the experiment quits early. Even in a safe environment, the myth of Chinese water torture was deemed too plausible to risk complete confirmation.

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