stories from the wilder side of science


The Legendary Dr Fox Lecture - Footage Found!

Posted on September 23, 2011 at 7:45 AM

Several years ago when I first wrote about the famous Dr Fox lecture I thought the original footage was lost forever. When I recently learned that it is still around I tracked down one of the researchers Don Naftulin who was kind enough to send it to me. Below is an edited version of what has become one of the most unusual experiments in psychology.

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

for more details read this extended chapter about he dr Fox lecure in The Mad Science Book by Reto U. Schneider:


The lecture that Myron L. Fox delivered to the assembled experts had an impressive enough title: 'Mathematical Game Theory as Applied to Physician Education'. Those responsible for running the University of Southern California School of Medicine's psychiatry department's continuing education programme had taken themselves off to Lake Tahoe in northern California for their annual conference and a continuing education program. There, Fox - who was billed as an 'authority on the application of mathematics to human behaviour' - presented the first paper. His polished performance so impressed the audience of psychiatrists, family doctors and general internists that nobody noticed that the man standing at the lectern wasn't really Myron L. Fox from the Albert Einstein School of Medicine but Michael Fox a movie actor who though having considerable experience in playing doctors in TV shows didn't know the first thing about game theory. (According to the Internet Movie Data Base Michael Fox was the reason Michael J. Fox from back to the future fame inserted the 'J' into his name, as the Screen Actors Guild only allows one person of each name to be registered).


Fox was trained to give this talk only the day before. He was given an article from „Scientific American“ on game theory and worked up a lecture from it that was intentionally full of imprecise waffle, invented words and contradictory assertions.


The people behind this spoof were John E. Ware, assistant professor of medical education and health care planning at Southern Illinois school of Medicine, Donald H. Naftulin associate professor and director of the division of continuing education in psychiatry at the University of Southern California School of Medicine and Frank A. Donnelly, an instructor in psychology at the University of Southern California.


„At the time a thing called ,experiential learning‘ was en vogue“, John Ware remembers, „it meant giving the people the experience of what you want them to learn rather than just telling them about it.“ One evening Ware saw an actor on TV giving a virtuous demonstration of double talk. As the subject of the upcoming faculty retreat was experiential learning, Ware had the idea of letting him give a lecture full of double talk and thus initiating a discussion on how to improve the educational program. As the particular actor was not available the researchers turned to Alex Seigel from the University of Southern California film program whom they knew from previous work. „We were training actors to act as patients in teaching psychotherapy to psychiatric residents and doing interaction analysis on psychotherapists‘ interactions from different theoretical schools of psychotherapy“, John Naftulin says.


One of the actors Alex Seigel proposed was Michael Fox. He was the perfect fit and by chance he had to go north to do a Shakespeare play in the same week anyway. „He just looked and sounded ,psychoanalytic‘ and authoritative“, Naftulin says. They didn‘t even change his last name. „It was a great name, Dr Fox“, John Ware says.


Michael Fox didn‘t think, he would make it through the lecture without being exposed. He had two reasons for being nervous: on one hand he had to give a lecture that was stripped from any real content on the other hand he was sure that most of the people in the audience had seen him before on TV. Fox had been a supporting actor in many Sitcoms, TV series and feature movies. He had played Dr Benson the vet of Inspector Columbo, Captain Ritter in „Hogans Heroes“ and Inspector Basch in „Batman“.


And really, when Michael Fox was sitting in the restaurant in morning before the lecture a women approached him thinking about where she knew him from. „She said, ,you look very familiar, when did you do your residency in New York?‘“ Ware remembers, „we thought, that was it.“ But then she left.


Still Fox was convinced he'd be rumbled during the lecture. But the audience hung on his every word and, when the 20-minutes-long talk was over, bombarded him with questions, which he displayed such virtuosity in not answering that nobody noticed.


On the feedback form that was handed round, all ten people who attended the lecture said that it had given them food for thought, while nine of them also reckoned that Fox had presented the material in a clear manner, put it across in an interesting way and incorporated plenty of good illustrative examples into his talk.


After Naftulin had explained Foxes role the audience was on alert. John Ware remembers that the next moring a physician from Oregon was showing slides of how he sets up his practice. „Someone got up and said ,it‘s a fake, you are just showing us a bunch of your old home slides‘. It was embarrassing because this was real.“

John Ware showed two other groups of people the video of the lecture - with much the same result. One person even thought he remembered having read some papers already by Myron L. Fox. In these instances as well, the audience wasn't made up of students but of experienced physicians, who had been dazzled by the actor's slick presentation.

The researchers conducted further more controlled experiments on larger audiences. The phenomenon in which the style of a lecture can blind the listeners to its poor content soon became known as the 'Dr Fox effect'.

These results raised doubts about the usefulness of teaching evaluation. When students were asked to fill out questionnaires assessing a class, these might actually be indicating little more than how much they liked the lecture along with 'their illusions of having learned'. As the authors wrote in their paper on the experiment, 'there is much more to teaching than making students happy'.

Nevertheless, there was one surprise that qualified this conclusion: when Fox's true identity was revealed to the audience, some of them asked where they could read up more about the subject. In other words, although the lecture had been unmasked as gibberish and a fraud, the panache with which it was delivered had nevertheless clearly stimulated interest in the topic. This led Ware, Naftulin and Donnelly to suggest an innovative method of increasing students' motivation: instead of giving lectures themselves, professors could train actors to deliver lectures for them.

A journalist later wrote in the Los Angeles Times: 'There are implications in this study, though, that even its instigators have not perceived. If an actor makes a better teacher, why not a better congressman, or even a better President?' Ten years after the hoax, Ronald Reagan was elected to the White House.

Categories: None

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

Already a member? Sign In


Reply Kapitano
12:35 AM on September 27, 2011 
I've known dozens of teachers at all levels - and I'm one myself. Some were so popular that students signed up to their courses on the basis of who was teaching, rather than what the student was planning to specialise in. The students always felt that they'd learned something, but even immediately after the lecture were very fuzzy on what.

It took me far too long to realise that the problem wasn't so much students not paying attention, or likable lecturers being unable to express themselves clearly, but lecturers genuinely believing things which made no sense, but presenting them using metaphors and stories which sounded like they meant something.

So it's not just conscious bullshitting of gullible students by smooth talkers - it's also teachers who don't know how much they don't know, passing on their confusion.

It may have helped that I took art history, and only read science in the library.
Reply Bo
2:22 AM on October 24, 2011 
I'd love to see a video of the entire lecture.
Reply Char Psychology Tutor:Mentor
7:47 PM on January 24, 2012 
When I was on teaching staff I realised that a group of lecturers at my school would laugh at and about students who admired their teaching methods, yet were unaware that they were learning nothing. Other student's, those really struggling, might be given platitudes. The philosophy was that 'not everyone can make it', waffling on 'makes them feel better'. They inspired my teaching to be the Opposite of their ways.
Reply Nate W
12:27 AM on October 11, 2013 
I'm pretty it's the same method that got a man who spoke of "Hope and Change"(2008) and "Forward"(2012), elected as president...
Reply Mark
9:34 PM on January 13, 2017 
The edits are infuriating! Is this some kind of experiment?
Reply Jamesabale
5:23 AM on January 25, 2018 
Besides this it is likewise significant or a writer to have the specific comprehension about the subject of the essay so that he doesn't have to manage any trouble later on when writing the article. Before composing very good article, you need to clearly know what sort of essay he or she's intended to write whether it's a journalism article, professional post, review article or post for a blog because each one of these kinds of posts have their personal specified writing styles. In case you have any fiscal essay writing difficulty, let us know for we will aid you with writings which are quality and which are free of plagiarism.
You shouldn't be worried because our faculty essay writing firm would be the best source to buy college essay services that are perfectly tailored. Apparently, a badly written post reflects the sort of support which you offer.
Every story needs to have conversation. It's the chief portion of the prewriting procedure of an article.
Feelings that will keep you from writing your own book. Writing an article is a challenging problem to do for a student and also for a typical man who doesn't have the specific understanding of this language and the grammar that ought to be utilised in an essay.
So, as soon as you're performing your assignment you should be aware you have set all required information regarding your research. A student searching for quality financial research papers should go to an organization with a fantastic reputation on filing its job punctually.
Whatever the consequences, the expression paper writing service industry will nevertheless grow. Internet isn't only alternative method to conventional procedures of music distribution, but in addition a fantastic prospect for artists and music-recording businesses to expose those goods to broad public. Many writing businesses won't turn away clients if they're just under what they're asking.
Reply petter son
6:26 AM on August 3, 2019 
Those who come to read your article will find lots of helpful and informative tips
Reply GeorgeWB
8:10 AM on August 18, 2019 
XXX Videos Porn XXX
Porn XXX Video Sex Porn Videos.
Sex XXX Sex Movies Porn Movie.
Watch now the best free porn!!
Porn Tube, 100% Free
XXX Videos, Sex Movies, Porn Videos
Porn XXX,Free Sex,Porn HD,Porn Movies
Porn Videos Tube, Porn Video XXX
XXX Movies, XXX Video Tube
Best Porn Websites. Watch Best Porn Videos for FREE: - Sex Movies. The best amateur sex movies in HD. Watch great porn videos for free. - Porn Videos - Meilleurs vidÄ?©os de sexe et films porno.Regarder gratuitement. - Free Porn Hd Videos. Porn HD Movies. - Sex Films - Sex Films - Beste sexfilms und pornofilme.Schauen Sie kostenlos zu. - Porn Movies - Meilleurs vidÄ?©os de sexe et films porno.Regarder gratuitement.

Have fun watching porn on best porn websites.
Have a nice watch :)
Thank you :D
Reply LesNish
2:37 PM on August 20, 2019 
Viagra With Dapoxetine Reviews cialis Dapoxetina Indicaciones Vente Viagra Montreal Priligy 2012
Reply Peter parker
5:50 AM on September 19, 2019 
Amazing sketch of mouse and I read your post, so much better knowledge providing. I have got kaspersky coupons it's very beneficial for your PC.
Reply FazesHar
5:30 PM on September 26, 2019 
levitra and bph - levitra 20 mg
levitra compatible prozac
levitra 20 mg
- canadian pharmacy levitra professional knowledge base
buy cheap levitra online
Reply GavizOvake
4:50 PM on September 30, 2019 
viagra isny working any more. what to do?
url= says...
viagra generic
viagra 5mg cost forum software
viagra for sale
- disocunt viagra
order viagra generic 60 pills x 20mg
Reply Kelgrorce
10:56 AM on October 1, 2019 
Cialis Nachnahme Rechnung cialis cheapest online prices Effets Secondaires Cialis Viagra
Reply bbzspardy
6:51 PM on October 4, 2019 
У наÑ? вÑ? найдеÑ?е Ð?Ð?С длÑ? коÑ?Ñ?еджей, а Ñ?акже блоки биологиÑ?еÑ?кой загÑ?Ñ?зки длÑ? оÑ?иÑ?Ñ?нÑ?Ñ? Ñ?ооÑ?Ñ?жений, мÑ? можем пÑ?оизвеÑ?Ñ?и СÑ?Ñ?оиÑ?елÑ?Ñ?Ñ?во кеÑ?Ñ?она. Ð?Ñ?Ñ?ение неглÑ?бокиÑ? Ñ?кважин, Ð?оиÑ?к полезнÑ?Ñ? иÑ?копаемÑ?Ñ?, Ð?одоÑ?набжение Ñ?аÑ?Ñ?ного дома.

Ð? компании имееÑ?Ñ?Ñ? к пÑ?одаже Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?ЦЫ , Ð?мкоÑ?Ñ?и и Ñ?езеÑ?вÑ?аÑ?Ñ? Ñ? подогÑ?евом, Ð?еÑ?алки Ñ?кладнÑ?е под евÑ?окÑ?б, Ð?еканÑ?еÑ?нÑ?е Ñ?енÑ?Ñ?иÑ?Ñ?ги, РаÑ?пÑ?еделиÑ?елÑ?нÑ?е колодÑ?Ñ?, Ð?лаваÑ?Ñ?аÑ? загÑ?Ñ?зка (Ð?Ð?), Ð?Ñ?иÑ?Ñ?ка ливневÑ?Ñ? Ñ?Ñ?оÑ?нÑ?Ñ? вод: жиÑ?оÑ?ловиÑ?ели, пеÑ?кооÑ?делиÑ?ели, маÑ?лобензоÑ?делиÑ?ели, Ñ?оÑ?бÑ?ионнÑ?е Ñ?илÑ?Ñ?Ñ?Ñ?, комбиниÑ?ованнÑ?е пеÑ?ко-неÑ?Ñ?еÑ?далиÑ?ели (Ñ? Ñ?оÑ?бÑ?ионнÑ?м блоком и без), Ð?Ð?ЪÐ?Ð?Ð?ЫÐ? УСТРÐ?Ð?СТÐ?Ð? Ð? Ð?Ð?ТÐ?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?СТРУÐ?ЦÐ?Ð? Ð?нгаÑ?Ñ?, Ð?авилÑ?онÑ?, Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?ЧÐ?СТÐ?Ð?Ð? Ð?Ð?Ð?РУÐ?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð? Ð?омплекÑ?Ñ? Ñ?еагенÑ?ного Ñ?озÑ?йÑ?Ñ?ва (Ð?РХ), Ð?Ð?Ð?ЪÐ?Ð?Ð?ЫÐ? УСТРÐ?Ð?СТÐ?Ð? Ð? Ð?Ð?ТÐ?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?СТРУÐ?ЦÐ?Ð? ШнековÑ?е конвейеÑ?Ñ?, Ð?ЧÐ?СТÐ?Ð? Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?ЫХ СТÐ?ЧÐ?ЫХ Ð?Ð?Ð? Ð?еÑ?коловки Ñ?ангенÑ?иалÑ?нÑ?е, Ð?Ð?СÐ?СÐ?Ð?Ð? Ð? Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?РÐ?ССÐ?РÐ?Ð?Ð? Ð?Ð?Ð?РУÐ?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð? (Ð?Ñ?Ñ?нÑ?оÑ?, Ð?СÐ?, Ð?ило, Ð?Ð?Т, Ð?злÑ?Ñ?, ТÐ?Ð?) Ð?омпÑ?еÑ?Ñ?оÑ? Ñ?оÑ?оÑ?но-плаÑ?Ñ?инÑ?аÑ?Ñ?й, Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?Ð?ТÐ?Ð?Ð?У УголÑ?нÑ?й Ñ?оÑ?бенÑ?, а Ñ?акже вÑ?е длÑ? авÑ?омойки Ð?вÑ?омойки на базе Ñ?лоÑ?аÑ?ии.

Ð? компании обÑ?лÑ?живаеÑ? Ñ?кважинÑ?, пÑ?оизводиÑ? Ð?одооÑ?иÑ?Ñ?кÑ? длÑ? Ñ?кважин.

меÑ?ковое обезвоживание оÑ?адка а главное блок биологиÑ?еÑ?кой загÑ?Ñ?зки ббз 45
url= says...
ббз длÑ? оÑ?иÑ?Ñ?нÑ?Ñ? Ñ?ооÑ?Ñ?жений
Reply KRspardy
7:48 PM on October 8, 2019 
Our firm create original design solutions, and with we pay close attention to conditions safety and functionality. Work is underway with customer on of all stages execute multilateral analysis location houses ,execute preliminary counts . In the event of appearances questions .
Kitchen island renovation difficult event, if it perform by your own
We in the firm LLC RRITN Ocean Breeze work trained specialists, they all know about Reasonable kitchen renovations.
The Company provides high-quality 50000 kitchen remodel by democratic rates . Professionals with great professional experience work help fully upgrade in a few days perform relatively inexpensive repair work. The price depends on cost of finishing materials .

Each dwelling apartments, houses, cottages or other housing The Meatpacking District unique and contains individual functional load. And this mostly concerns kitchens.

Amazing kitchen facelifts Cobble Hill :
url= says...
kitchen renovation manhattan
Reply FavidFet
1:07 PM on October 9, 2019 
cialis generic canada static pages - cialis at walmart
cialis and alcohol side effects legend
cialis over the counter
- cialis soft tablets uk
cialis and alcoholic drinks e-mail address
Reply Neooabalt
8:46 PM on October 9, 2019 
Ð?деÑ?Ñ? вÑ? можеÑ?е заказаÑ?Ñ? копиÑ? лÑ?бого Ñ?айÑ?а под клÑ?Ñ?, недоÑ?ого и каÑ?еÑ?Ñ?венно, пÑ?и Ñ?Ñ?ом не Ñ?Ñ?аÑ?Ñ? Ñ?вое вÑ?емÑ? на Ñ?азлиÑ?нÑ?е пÑ?огÑ?аммÑ? и Ñ?Ñ?иланÑ?-Ñ?еÑ?виÑ?Ñ?.

Ð?лониÑ?ованиÑ? подлежаÑ? Ñ?айÑ?Ñ? как на конÑ?Ñ?Ñ?Ñ?кÑ?оÑ?аÑ?, Ñ?ак и на движкаÑ?:
- Tilda (ТилÑ?да)
- Wix (Ð?икÑ?)
- Joomla (Ð?жÑ?мла)
- Wordpress (Ð?оÑ?дпÑ?еÑ?Ñ?)
- Bitrix (Ð?иÑ?Ñ?икÑ?)
и Ñ?.д.
Ñ?елеÑ?он 8-996-725-20-75 звониÑ?е пиÑ?иÑ?е viber watsapp
Ð?опиÑ?Ñ?Ñ?Ñ?Ñ?Ñ? не Ñ?олÑ?ко одноÑ?Ñ?Ñ?аниÑ?нÑ?е Ñ?айÑ?Ñ? на подобии Landing Page, но и многоÑ?Ñ?Ñ?аниÑ?нÑ?е. СоздаеÑ?Ñ?Ñ? полнаÑ? копиÑ? Ñ?айÑ?а и наÑ?Ñ?Ñ?аиваÑ?Ñ?Ñ?Ñ? Ñ?оÑ?мÑ? длÑ? оÑ?пÑ?авки заÑ?вок и Ñ?ообÑ?ений. Ð?Ñ?оме Ñ?ого, подклÑ?Ñ?аеÑ?Ñ?Ñ? админка (админ панелÑ?), позволÑ?Ñ?Ñ?аÑ? Ñ?едакÑ?иÑ?оваÑ?Ñ? код Ñ?айÑ?а, изменÑ?Ñ?Ñ? Ñ?екÑ?Ñ?, загÑ?Ñ?жаÑ?Ñ? изобÑ?ажениÑ? и докÑ?менÑ?Ñ?.

Ð?деÑ?Ñ? вÑ? полÑ?Ñ?иÑ?е веÑ?Ñ? комплекÑ? Ñ?Ñ?лÑ?г по копиÑ?ованиÑ?, Ñ?азÑ?абоÑ?ке и пÑ?одвижениÑ? Ñ?айÑ?а в ЯндекÑ?е и Google.

ХоÑ?иÑ?е Ñ?знаÑ?Ñ? Ñ?колÑ?ко Ñ?Ñ?оиÑ? Ñ?делаÑ?Ñ? копиÑ? Ñ?айÑ?а?
напиÑ?иÑ?е нам
8-996-725-20-75 звониÑ?е пиÑ?иÑ?е viber watsapp
Reply Charleskem
8:44 AM on October 13, 2019 
XXX Videos Porn XXX
Porn XXX Video Sex Porn Videos.
Sex XXX Sex Movies Porn Movie.
Watch now the best free porn!!
Porn Tube, 100% Free
XXX Videos, Sex Movies, Porn Videos
Porn XXX,Free Sex,Porn HD,Porn Movies
Porn Videos Tube, Porn Video XXX
XXX Movies, XXX Video Tube
Best Porn Websites. Watch Best Porn Videos for FREE: - Porn Videos - Meilleurs vidÄ?©os de sexe et films porno.Regarder gratuitement. - Best porno hd videos and sex movies. Watch best porn videos for free. - Best porn videos with Milfs and teenagers.Watch free porn. - XXX MILF Free Porn Videos and XXX Mom Sex Tube - XXXMilfTubeXXX. - Big porn collection of the best amateur porn movies.Watch the best porn videos for free.

Have fun watching porn on best porn websites.
Have a nice watch :)
Thank you :D
Reply Fosephemoni
11:03 AM on October 17, 2019 
cialis generic website - generic cialis at walmart
cialis us prescription sample
walmart cialis
- cheap generic cialis
cialis viagra lowest prices
Reply FazidNeend
11:16 PM on October 22, 2019 
viagra 20 mg 4 tablet display posts from previous - viagra without a doctor prescription
genuine viagra viagra gel tabs best price buy online
viagra without doctor
- viagra online sales
viagra coupons for walgreens report