Premium Essay

The Milgram Experiment Essay

Submitted By
Words 697
Pages 3
The Milgram Experiment was conducted by Stanley Milgram who was a psychologist at Yale University. He invented this study to explore the issue of authority. Milgram wanted to understand obedience. Milgram asked the question, “What is there in human nature that allows an individual to act without any restraints whatsoever that allows us to act inhumane and not limited by compassion or conscience.” This experiment allowed insight into the topic of conflict between obedience to authority and conscience. How far would people proceed in obeying authority if it involved hurting another person? In order to conduct this experiment Milgram used male subjects from 20 to 50 years old. The authority figure told the subjects they were testing to see if people …show more content…
The teacher punished the learner by using electric shock. Milgram designed a shock generator that went from 15 volts (Slight Shock) to 450 volts (Danger Severe Shock). When the learner made a mistake the teacher was instructed to implement shock by an authority figure. After each wrong answer from the learner, the teacher was instructed to increase the shock. The victim getting punished was an accomplice of the experimenter and provided many wrong answers so that the teacher would have to shock him. When the teacher became reluctant to administer another shock, the experimenter would say something like, “It is absolutely essential that you continue.” Around two-thirds of participants went on to implement the highest level of shock. This experiment concluded that most people are likely to follow orders from an authority figure and even go as far as kill an innocent person. This under covered that obedience to authority is ingrained in all human beings. People want to appease an authority figure. Milgram found that most people would follow authority if they could pass off responsibility for their own actions to the authority

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Perils of Obedience

...The Perils of Obedience by Stanley Milgram Stanley Milgram’s “ The Perils of Obedience” shows that some people can obey authority even when it requires committing terrible actions within their society. Milgram begins his essay by describing what obedience is and how deeply ingrained of a behavior tendency that it is. He then sets up an experiment at Yale University that will push the limits of human obedience. He has a “teacher” give out a series of simple word pairs for the “learner”. If the learner gets a word pair wrong then the teacher gives out a series of shock ranging from 15 to 450 volts. The teacher who is the real subject in the experiment does not know that the learner is a paid actor who does not receive any actual shocks. The motivation behind this experiment for Milgram was to test just how far people would go to obey the command of an authority figure. Milgram’s theory is that the subject will have total control of what they are doing and will disobey the authority figure when inflicting pain onto a hopeless human being. One of his subjects, Gretchen Brandt, is participating with the experiment when the learner got the word pair wrong she showed the self control to stop shocking to not continue. Milgram thought that this is how the majority of subjects would react, “Her behavior is the very embodiment of what I envisioned would be true for almost all subject”(Milgram, 44). Brandt simply wasn’t worried about rejecting the authority if it meant that she no......

Words: 682 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Similarities and Differences between Milgram's (1963) Obedience Study and Burger's (2009) Replication

...Outline the similarities and differences between Milgrams (1963) obedience study and Burgers (2009) replication. This essay will look at an important key psychological experiment carried out by the renowned social psychologist Stanley Milgram which was carried out in the early 1960’s (Banyard 2012) to determine how far ordinary people would go to inflict pain to a fellow human based on instruction from an authority figure, and that of the replication of the experiment which was carried out by Burger in 2009 (Byford 2014) to determine if the same level of obedience was still applicable in the 21st Century, as was observed in the original study some 40 years earlier. The essay will look at some of the key similarities and differences between the two studies. For the purpose of this essay only the base studies will be discussed. Milgram’s motivation to study this trait in human behaviour came from the atrocities that took place during WW2, and the trial of Adolph Eichmann who in his defence said he was ‘simply following orders’ (Banyard 2012) to carry out the mass murders. Milgram asked himself ‘how can ordinary people who are courteous and descent in everyday life act callously, inhumanely without limitations of conscience?’ Milgram on Milgram (part 1): Obedience experiments (The Open University, 2014) Milgram devised his obedience study. He developed a laboratory based experiment to determine how far a participant in the experiment would go inflicting electric shocks to......

Words: 1536 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

The Identification Of Milgram's Use Of Orientation In The Classroom

...himself against as an adequate member of society. But the real question is; would John have stolen the phone under the instruction of an authority figure? Would he still have gone through the same thinking process and refused, or, would he have obeyed? In this essay, I will prove how authority figures can affect our thinking, our behaviour, and what really makes us obey them. In 1963, one of the most famous obedience experiments named “The Milgram experiment” was conducted by Stanley Milgram, a psychologist at Yale University. In his experiment, he wanted to examine the conflict between authority to obedience and personal conscience. Milgram analyzed justifications attributed to acts of genocide offered by those accused during World WarⅡ, Majority provided the defense that they were only following orders and doing what they were told by their superiors. Milgram wanted to investigate if the Germans were indeed just acting in an obedient manner towards authority as this was a very common explanation given for the mass killings during World WarⅡ. Milgram searched for participants by advertising in the newspaper for male students to participate in an educational study at Yale University. In the procedure of the experiment, the participant would be paired with another person and they drew lots to reveal who would be the ‘learner’ and who would be the ‘teacher’. The draw for the learner and the teacher was fixed so that the real participant would always draw the teacher and the......

Words: 1163 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Social Psychology

...Introduction Gordon Allport stated that social psychology means “...to understand and explain how the thought, feeling and behaviour of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of other human beings...” (1985). In this essay I am going to explain the thought, feeling and behaviour of individuals as influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of other human beings. I will be talking about theories and experiments carried out by Charles Cooley, Michael Argyle, Muzafer Sherif, Solomon Asch and Stanley Milgram. The essay will focus on their theories and experiments carried out in relations to self concept, conformity and obedience. Self Concept Self concept is a term used by psychologists; it means the way in which we identify ourselves. In the early 1900’s Charles Cooley developed the ‘looking-glass self’ theory. He explained how we see ourselves as the result of how others see us. Cooley’s theory; ‘looking-glass self’, consists of three major stages. 1. I imagine how my personality and appearance will look to other people. 2. I imagine how other people judge the appearance and personality that I think I present. 3. I develop a self-concept. For example 1. A group of bullies comment on a girl’s appearance. 2. The bullies think she is ugly. 3. The girl believes she is ugly. A positive change can happen when the opposite is done; when people think the girl looks pretty, people say...

Words: 2160 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Stanley Milgram's The Perils Of Obedience

...order to promote obedience as a social virtue. This often leads man to equate disobedience with sin, which traces as far back as the biblical account of Adam, Eve, and the Serpent. However, neither disobedience nor obedience could exist without the power of an authority figure to dictate the rules and restraints of submission. In his article “The Perils of Obedience,” Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram asserts that authority as a whole is an essential component of social living and that obedience to this authority is a social behavior unknowingly entrenched in a majority of the population. Milgram’s scientific review explores this claim as he shares data from his experiment in which subjects blindly obey someone they believe to be an expert, simply due to his prompting. Supported with reactions...

Words: 1203 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Conformity and Disobedience

...Social influence is the change in the way that an individual behave, think or comport themselves that occur when they relate or interact with another individual or groups of individuals (Rashotte, 2007, p.562). These changes may be deliberate or sometimes occur subconsciously and the individual in question may not be aware of them (Wood, 2000). There are various forms of social influence among which the most important and widely recognised ones are conformity and obedience. They are concepts that put into perspective how individuals’ behaviours are affected or influenced in a group or social circumstances. This essay looks to explore compliance and obedience in detail. It may seem sometimes these two concepts might be slightly similar in how they affect behaviour in such situations; however they are not to be confused for each other. This essay aims to clarify such perception and distinctively point out the similarities and differences between these two concepts by exploring how they come about and factors that influence them using relevant research evidence. Conformity can be defined as the inclination by individuals to modify their attitudes or manner of behaving to suit that of the social standards. It simply means to succumb to pressures of the society (Crutchfield, 1955) However, it does not necessarily mean that their opinion or perception has changed; it simply means that they have changed their behaviour just for the purpose of being considered acceptable by the......

Words: 1576 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Why Are We so Easily Persuaded, Even to Do Silly or Immoral Things?

...the corporate world. Humans are persuaded by these entities and the herd because it is seemingly the easiest way to avoid social exile; we become admirers of the herd and our enslavers, paradoxically the more profound thinkers will also dislike them. To emphasise the fact that social fulfillment is the most potent, and insatiable persuader, the notion of advertising is entirely based on this human need. However, it must be noted that the core of the ‘social fulfillment’ theory of persuasion has a notable pessimistic bias; humans are not persuaded as much by communal connectivity as they are by the fear of societal death. This essay will explain how social fulfillment and the fear of social death form the basis of human action and submissiveness. From a psychological perspective, the notion of persuasion is emphasised through the Milgram experiment. The ethics of the...

Words: 2424 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Explain Why Conformity and Obedience Are Important in the Public Services, with Reference to Research Studies

...M3. Explain why conformity and obedience are important in the public services, with reference to research studies. Conformity and obedience are forms of social influence which strongly affect our behaviour is social situations, from following fashions and unwritten social norms which organise our behaviour, to committing immoral acts because we are commanded to by someone who appears to be in a position of authority. This essay looks at the similarities and differences between the three, looking specifically at the factors that influence each two. Conformity within a group entails members changing their attitudes and beliefs in order to match those of others within the group. Those that conform tend to be obedient and compliant. In order to conform, the group member must attribute someone as having the legitimacy and credibility to lead or influence the group's behaviour. Without this "leader", conformity toward the group's goals will be less prevalent. If a member of the group fails to conform to the groups needs, he/she would lose credibility with the rest of the group. Conformity is a change in an individuals behaviour according to certain accepted standards within society as well as the influence of others whether this be a real or imaginary influence. There are 2 key concepts of conformity, acceptance or compliance. People plan to join a specific public service because they want to belong to that team because they may like the sentiments of the service etc.......

Words: 2278 - Pages: 10

Free Essay

The Morality of Man

...Abstract In this essay, I will delve into both morality and empathy. The question of nature verses nurture is a huge bone of contention in many societies across the globe and wars have been fought solely on the grounds of people’s beliefs. Man’s actions alone do not tell the whole story. In order to have a greater understanding of our own motivations and propensity towards violence and compassion, we must delve deep into the psyche and subconscious of both ourselves and others. Humankind or Human-unkind These days, you would be forgiven for thinking that the whole world has gone insane. With the aid of modern media, we are continually bombarded with stories and images of extreme violence from virtually every corner of the world. Modern media tends to depict people at their worst and as we all know, the main driving factor behind the content put forward by most media outlets is demand. This indicates that if we were given a choice between watching ‘good news stories’ or ‘bad news stories’, the majority of us would choose the latter. Why is this? What does it say about humankind as a whole? Time and again, we hear people of an older generation begin sentences with “In my day…..” or “When I was young……” followed by how everything and everybody was safer, more content and happier in days past. Is this true? Over the course of a single generation, have we really degenerated into a society surrounded by anarchy and inhabited mostly by people void of emotions for their...

Words: 1959 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Psychology

...AS Psychology - Unit Two Social Psychology Social Influence Student workbook Name: .................................................................................. Form: ................................................................................... Teacher: .............................................................................. Specification requirements Social psychology Candidates will be expected to demonstrate: • Knowledge and understanding of concepts, theories and studies in relation to individual differences • Skills of analysis, evaluation and application in relation to individual differences • Knowledge and understanding of research methods associated with this area of psychology • Knowledge and understanding of ethical issues associated with this area of psychology. |Content outline | |Social influence |Conformity (majority influence) and explanations of why people conform, including informational | | |social influence and normative social influence | | | | | ......

Words: 10453 - Pages: 42

Premium Essay

Management- Employee Resistance

...the necessary decisions that manager’s make for the good of the whole organization. Critically discuss this statement, drawing upon course readings that engage with the issue of employee resistance. Introduction In the following essay I am going to argue that conflict at work stems from managers decisions to control and dominate the lives of its employees, as it misuses the power relationship in an attempt to enhance its control. I will discuss the article by (Prasad and Prasad 2000), (Clegg, Kornberger and Pitsis 2008) and (Knights and Roberts 1982) to demonstrate this point. I also argue that conflict stems from attempts by employees to counteract the domination of basic human qualities such as feelings and emotions as they act in an attempt to restore dignity within their lives. I will do this with reference to texts by (Cohen and Taylor 1992), (Prasad and Prasad 2000), (Knights and Collinson 1987) and (Roberts 1984). As organisations are clearly places of domination I argue the importance of conflict within society to inhibit organisations exploiting and manipulating its employees and society at large. For this argument I will use texts by (Morgan 2006), (Baken 2004), (Rothschild and Miethe 1994) and (Blau 1963). Through the use of (Milgrams 1974) text I will argue the detrimental effects of obedience, with reference to the Nazi occupation of Europe, and thus the need for conflict within organisations to stop such atrocities occurring again. Due to the unrealistic......

Words: 2682 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay

Sociology Essay Exam

...Sociology Exam #2 Short Answer: 1. Explain the concepts of status set and role set. Provide examples of each concept. Every person has developed a specific status for themselves, whether it is a voluntary or they have no choice. A status is a person’s position in society, and the statuses are either pursued or involuntarily received. Role sets are behaviors that are specifically attached to a status, each status can have a number of role sets. People have multiple status sets and many more role sets, because each earned status has its specific responsibilities. For instance, an American woman has the potential to be several things in a modern American family. She has the likelihood of being a mother which would be an achieved status because she has the choice of becoming a parent. Several roles would be attached to this status such as, providing for the children, being active in the child’s extracurricular activities and much more. 2. What makes something funny? Explain the foundation of humor and what is involved in “getting” a joke. Playing with reality is our cultures form of humor for now, and it is a reasonable way to discuss topics that are typically avoided in today’s mainstream culture. With today’s outlook on race and sexuality, put down jokes is what is found humorous to the generations now. Overall, humor is derived from violations of the culture’s norms. The foundation of humor is from mixing realities which promote humor. Since humor......

Words: 996 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Describe and Evaluate Conformity

...indicates that conformity can affect a person’s behavior and make a person do things that may be against their ethics, attitudes, and morals. The study of conformity was first studied in the 1950s by Solomon Asch. His experiments were very important to the study of conformity. Asch wanted to find out how conformity could influence behavior. He did not want to focus on the general concepts like ethics, morals, attitudes, and belief systems. Instead, he focused on a more obvious concept which was perceptional conformity. Since he performed the experiment on a simple task, he was able to study conformity in a controlled environment. Asch wanted to apply group pressure to the experiment so he could manipulate a person’s behavior. For the experiment, he made three pairs of cards with three different lengths of vertical lines on one side. On the other side, there was a single line that was the same length ... Conformity and Obedience in Society The desire to be accepted and belong to a group is an undeniable human need. But how does this need affect an individual? Social psychologists have conducted numerous experiments and concluded that, through various forms of social influence, groups can change their members’ thoughts, feelings, and behavior. In her essay “Group Minds,” Doris Lessing discusses our paradoxical ability to...

Words: 1049 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Experiments

...Examine the reasons why some sociologists choose to use experiments when conducting research. Study the reason why sociologist prefer to use experimental methods when carrying out a research There are many different types of experiments that can be conducted by sociologist, in order to help with the research that they are planning to carry out or just to help further prove their hypothesis. There are three main experimental methods that sociologists may choose to carry out their research/study. These three experimental methods are: Natural, field and Comparative. Each of these experiments has their own advantages and disadvantages. These positive and negative factors can analysed by practical, ethical and theoretical limitations and strengths that can be considered. This essay will be looking at each of these in detail. But, firstly what is an experiment? An experiment is a way of investigation a cause and effect relationship between independent variable and dependent variable. The first type of experiment that sociologist may choose to use in their research is, laboratory experiment. Laboratory experiments are conducted in a control setting, (this means that IV (The independent variable) and DV (dependent variable) can be controlled and manipulated by the researcher). Participant are given instruction to carry out certain tasks, in a normally manner. From this, the researchers are able to observe behaviour and be able to see cause and affect relationship between......

Words: 1585 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Conformity and Obedience in the 20th Century

...But how does this need affect an individual?   Social psychologists have conducted numerous experiments and concluded that, through various forms of social influence, groups can change their members' thoughts, feelings, and behavior.         In her essay "Group Minds," Doris Lessing discusses our paradoxical ability to call ourselves individuals and our inability to realize that groups define and influence us.   We, as humans, hold individualism in the highest regard yet fail to realize that groups diminish our individuality.   Lessing writes, "when we're in a group, we tend to think as that group does... but we also find our thinking changing because we belong to a group" (p. 334).   Groups have the tendency to generate norms, or standards for behavior in certain situations.   Not following these norms can make you stand out and, therefore, groups have the ability to influence our thoughts and actions in ways that are consistent with the groups'.   Lessing's essay helps set the context to understand the experiments that social psychologists Solomon Asch, Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo conducted to explain conformity and obedience. Solomon Asch's experiment in "Opinions and Social Pressure" studied a subject's ability to yield to social pressure when placed within a group of strangers.   His research helped illustrate how groups encourage conformity.   During a typical experiment, members of the group were asked by the experimenter to claim two obvious mismatched......

Words: 1201 - Pages: 5