Yet he would go on to become one of the most important psychologists of the 20th century.
In what was dubbed as the “small world experiment”, he sent 60 letters to random volunteers in Wichita, Kansas and asked them to forward it to a person they had never met or heard about – they could pass on the letter to anyone they knew who they thought would be able to get the letter one step closer to the target, either directly or through “their” friend. It is said that those letters passed through an average of – you guessed it right, six people – to reach the destination.
This was the basis for his theory that any two random people in the U.S. were connected by an an average of just six people, famously called the “six degrees of separation”.
Stanley Milgram‘s research went on to note that not all the degrees were equal – that there was a “funneling” effect in place, whereby most of the letters eventually forwarded to the destination, were done so by the same few (2-3) people.
This theory later spawned movies, TV shows, games and even a now-extinct web site, sixdegrees.com .
“Small world” or not, we’re all truly connected – in many weird ways.
Otherwise, out of the 22+ million blogs, why would you be reading this post?