Stanley Milgram ( 1963 ) Essay

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Stanley Milgram (1963) was interested in how likely people would obey an authority figure who instructed them to harm another person. His study involved 40 male participants, aged 20 to 50, who were recruited through advertisements and mail solicitation. Participants had diverse occupations and educational levels. They came to a lab where they served as teachers in a supposed learning and memory experiment. A simulated shock generator with 30 switches was used. It was clearly marked with voltage levels and verbal designations ranging from 15 volts (slight shock) to 450 volts (danger: severe shock). The participants’ task was to administer an electric shock to the learner, a confederate of the experimenter, whenever he made an error in the memory test, increasing the intensity of shock each time. When the participant refused to administer a shock, the experimenter would give a series of prods to the participants to ensure that they continue with the experiment, even if they reached the marked danger of a severe shock, or heard the learner’s screams and pounding from an adjacent room. The experiment ended when the maximum voltage of shock had been delivered, or if the participant refused to continue any further. The maximum intensity shock a participant was willing to administer before he refused to participate any further was measured. The results showed that 26 out of 40 (65%) participants obeyed the commands of the experimenter to the end, reaching the most potent shock
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