My mad scientist unethical psychology experiment would be something similar to what the protagonist character did in Ray Bradbury's short story "The Toynbee Convector". I would manipulate the population into believing in a positive future with props and faked documentation.
I'd go a little further than the short story and start "gaslighting" the population. I would take certain random individuals and brainwash them into believing they went into this positive future and returned. In other words instead of alien abductions it would be random people who start accidentally having timeslips into the future and "bringing back" examples of what the future is like.
Photo Source: Back to the Future