Fruit Machine

In the 1960s, the Canadian government commissioned a series of homosexuality tests known as the fruit machine.

The fruit machine consisted of a series of questions, a chair resembling one you might sit in at a dentist’s office, and flashing images of mundane scenes contrasted with pornography that people in the ’50s thought gay people would like — think: half-naked carnival strongmen. Subjects (who were told the machine was measuring stress) sat in the chair and watched the images while scientists noted their pulse rate, skin reflexes, breathing rate and pupillary response.

It didn’t work, and ruined countless lives.

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