Do Good People Turn Evil?

925 WordsOct 22, 20154 Pages
In his short article Do Good People Turn Evil?, Doctor Adam Grant suggested that researchers might have drawn the wrong conclusions from both Stanley Milgram’s “obedience” experiments, and Philip Zimbardo’s infamous Stanford Prison Experiment. Milgram’s studies focused on the conflict between one’s obedience to authority, and one’s personal conscience. He devised a series of experiments in which involved participants (ordinary males from the New Haven area), to electrocute another individual. Participants where given the role as a “Teacher” and were paired with a “Learner” (an actor and confederate of Milgram unbeknownst to the “Teacher”). The procedure was rather simple; the “Learner” is given a list of word pairs to remember. The “Teacher” would then proceed to test the “Learner” by naming a word and asking the “Learner” to recall its partner pair. For every wrong answer, the “Teacher” would be instructed to administer an electric shock amongst the “Learner”, increasing the level of shock each time. His experiments were an attempt to answer the question “How far would one go in obeying instructions that were given by an authority if it involved harming another person?” Moreover, Milgram wanted to explain how ordinary people could be influenced into committing atrocities— seemingly normal Germans whom tormented individuals during the Holocaust— through his studies. Ultimately, it was observed that sixty five percent of the participants did in fact administer electric
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