Research Paper On Milgram Experiment

1787 Words8 Pages
Milgram Experiment Research Paper
In 1961, Stanley Milgram, a psychologist at Yale University, conducted a controversial experiment on the conflict between obedience to authority and personal conscience. He examined the justifications for acts of genocide given by those accused at the World War II Nuremberg War Criminal trials. Their defense often was based on "obedience,” and that they were “just following orders from their superiors” (McLeod, Saul. Milgram Experiment, Simply Psychology).
The procedure was that the participant was paired with another person and they drew straws to find out who would be the ‘learner’ and who would be the ‘teacher’. The draw was fixed so that the participant was always the teacher, and the learner was
…show more content…
The learner reacted to the shocks as if he was receiving them, by exclaiming, “Ouch!” A majority of the “teachers” laughed at the exclamation, although couldn’t justify why when asked in an interview afterward. Nervous laughter is defined as “laughter evoked from an audience 's expression of embarrassment, alarm, discomfort, or confusion; rather than amusement.”
When the teacher refused to administer a shock the experimenter was to give a series of orders to prod them to continue. There were four orders given to the “teachers.” If one was not obeyed then the experimenter, Mr. Williams, read out the next, and so on. The experimenter starts with, “Please continue,” “The experiment requires you to continue,” and follows with, “It is absolutely essential that you continue,” and, “You have no other choice but to continue.” The “teacher 's” response determines how many times the prods were stated, but nothing else was said in response except these four statements (McLeod, Saul. Milgram Experiment, Simply Psychology).
As a result, 65% of participants, the “teachers,” continued to the 450-volt level. All the participants continued to at least 300 volts. Milgram conducted more than one experiment. He carried out 18 variations of this study, altering the situation to see how this affected obedience.
In conclusion, ordinary people are more likely to follow orders given by an authoritative person, even to extreme extents. Obedience
Open Document