A Summary of "The Perils of Obedience" Essay

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In "The Perils of Obedience," Stanley Milgram conducted a study that tests the conflict between obedience to authority and one's own conscience. Through the experiments, Milgram discovered that the majority of people would go against their own decisions of right and wrong to appease the requests of an authority figure.

The study was set up as a "blind experiment" to capture if and when a person will stop inflicting pain on another as they are explicitly commanded to continue. The participants of this experiment included two willing individuals: a teacher and a learner. The teacher being the real subject and the learner is merely an actor. Both were told that they would be involved in a study that tests the effects of punishment on
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Gretchen Brandt was a subject in the experiment who supported Milgram's and other psychologists' predictions regarding the outcome. She demonstrated that a person with a resolute state of mind would use their moral judgment and not inflict pain on another person. Throughout Brandt's experiment, the learner complained about the shocks, stating he had a heart condition. After Brandt administered 210 volts, she told the experimenter that she didn't believe they should continue. The experimenter calmly instructed her to continue until the learner had learned all the word pairs correctly. Brandt was firm with her decision and stated she believed the shocks were hurting the learner. She refused to administer any more shocks, and the experiment ended.

Many various members of the populace who believed that only a few would rais it to the highest level of 450 volts, were wrong in their predictions. The majority of subjects obeyed the experimenters' orders to the very end of the experiment by administering the highest voltage three times. As the first experiments were conducted on Yale undergraduates, some believed that the results were inconclusive due to the competitive nature of the students. However, the results of the experiment were the same when Milgram tested "ordinary" people. When the experiments were repeated in other areas of the world, the level of obedience was even higher than those
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