Would You Fall For That? Designated Lanes

A faux park ranger directs traffic in Central Park to test people's obedience to authority figures.
5:04 | 08/09/13

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Transcript for Would You Fall For That? Designated Lanes
Probably not. Hi. Is that blond hair? Real blond? Yeah. Real blonds? Okay. Blonds this way. Why aren't they listening to me? But what if he looked like an authority figure? Would that make a difference? Let's try it. Scott's in costume. A green shirt and a goofy hat? Hey, have some respect. It's a dumb hat. Okay. And now he's ready. For what? For a little experiment about how easy it is to make people change course. Here's what we did. We made some signs and set them up at bow bridge in central park. Push the bottom in. Scott threw on a smokey the bear hat. His ear piece is fake. His walkie-talkie isn't even turned on. And he enforced a bunch of rules that we made up. Would people do what scott, and some stupid signs, told them to? Left please, blond. The dog has to stay on this side. Here we go. Two blonds and a brunette walk onto our bridge. Can you switch, blonds? Left? And they are self-sorting. It's working. They're obeying scott and his pointless rules. Yup, they fell for it. All right, this guy with the brown hair has just unwittingly walked across the bridge on the wrong side. Sorry, blonds on this side. Can you go back and cross on this side? Can you just cross over the rope there and come on this side, please? Will he bow to authority and correct his mistake? Yeah. He's bowing to authority. Think you wouldn't do the same? Well, don't be so sure. This guy has walked back and all the way around. He obeyed robert cialdini's principle of social influence and authority, which states that people will obey orders from others who they assume are in positions of power. Thank you. Sir, do you mind taking off your hat? I am actually brunette. Great. Thank you. All right, but this isn't a world of just blonds and brunettes. Strawberry blond? You can cross this side. So scott goes rogue. I don't know what that is. A little reddish? This is, like -- is this a red? I know, I'm trying to go right through you. You have to swim. Redheads have to swim. All right, this is going to get complicated. Here comes a package deal. Is it brunette? Brown hair or blond? Your baby has blond hair? He really has to look to see what color hair his kid has? He's nervous. Clearly rattled by our authority figure. Yeah. Okay, the baby has to stay here and you have to stay here. So let the baby come walk this way. We weren't really about to make the baby crawl in the right lane. We've proved our point. All right, so many people willingly sorted themselves by hair color. What if we enforced a height requirement to walk on one side of the bridge? Now they would have to allow scott to physically measure them. You must be this tall to cross the bridge. Sir, I believe you're a little taller than 5'6." Here, thank you. Should I take out the measuring stick? Yeah, you've got it. Just long enough. You've got it. Total strangers were letting scott measure them just because they thought he had some kind of authority. Well, most of them. I believe you're -- yeah, well, actually, you know what? You're a little taller than 5'6." You can pass this side here. Is this a joke? Not a joke. No. It's for traffic flow today. Rubbish. Rubbish. Yes, she is questioning authority. Tioned, didn't like it, but she follows it. She still fell for it. She walked on the tall side of the bridge. Below 5'6"? Yes. I'm short. It's okay, yeah. It's okay to be short. Short is beautiful. This is going to be fun. Uh-oh. We've got another baby approaching. Yes, you're okay here. I'm afraid the baby's going to have to stay on this side. Hi, little girl. You're a little short here. You can cross on the right here. You see this sign? Of course, babies don't listen to scott. Scientists say they haven't yet been conditioned to respect authority. Parents say "duh." Below 5'6", ma'am. Oh, no, no. I'm 5'6." Here's an interesting approach. She's cheating. It was 5'6" or bust. For some reason, she really wants to walk on the tall side of the bridge. Close enough. Now, this chap figured out that the guy in the green shirt with the plastic sign had no real authority. What's the purpose of this? Just traffic flow. We're just trying in the park, you know, monday, wednesday, friday. Psychological test? It might be rooted in psychological studies, but i just obey the orders. He may have questioned authority, but he still let scott measure him. How are you? Are you? Oh, me? I should be 5'9." Oh, you're about -- yep. You're good. The moral of our story -- stand tall, stand proud, and the next time someone who looks like an authority figure asks you to do something ridiculous, speak up and say, "i wouldn't fall for

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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