Milgram’s Study of Obedience to Authority

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Introduction: This essay will outline Milgram’s experiment of obedience and outline ethical issues relating to it. Before outlining Milgram’s experiment this essay will look at Milgram himself. ‘Stanley Milgram was born in New York in 1933. A graduate of Queens College and Harvard University, he taught social psychology at Yale and Harvard Universities before become a Distinguished Professor at the Graduate Centre of the City University Of New York.’ (Zimbardo, 2010) Milgram’s study of obedience was an experiment that looked at how ‘ordinary citizens obey the orders of an authority figure if those orders meant physically harming an innocent person’ (Milgram, 1974). He conducted ‘18 studies between 1960 and 1963’ so that he then could examine whether people would obey authority figures that involved giving innocent people electrical shocks of up to 450 volts. One of the studies was based on ’40 men, ranging from 20 to 50 and representing a cross section of occupations and educational roles in the USA.’ (Milgram, 1974). This study involved three people a learner, a teacher and an administrator. Milgram (1974) states that ‘each participant meet a middle aged man who was introduced as another participant but was actually a confederate’. The Learner and the teacher roles were taught by the participant to be chosen at random but it was rigged as the learner role was a confederate. The participant taught that this experiment was punishment on memory. So therefore ‘the
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