Stanley Milgram's Study Of Obedience

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President Barrack Obama, two days after his first inauguration, issued an order mandating that the Guantanamo Bay prison would in one years time be closed. Not long after this order Obama issued another banning illegal torture, and enhanced interrogation methods that were in place during the Bush administration (Obama; CNN).
Tortures being conducted in this prison were considered cruel and degrading treatment under the Geneva convention (Ross). So what caused American soldiers to compromise their morals, and carryout inhuman actions towards prisoners at places like Abu Ghraib? Or caused Nazi solders to carryout massive, systematic killings of men, women, and children, or had the streets of Rwanda soaked in the blood of its people, the legacy
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In Milgram’s work he cited many instances of historical events, but considering the time of his study he found the Holocaust to be the best example of social apathy, and the enormous power held by those in authority. In our current generation we look back on Milgram’s experiments with considerable bias, believing that our own generation is much more independent in both our selves and morals than those before us. However, genocides and other human rights violation still occur in our time. Stanley Milgram’s work can still be applied to human nature today, and even our own individual morality can break down in the presence of authority and situation which carry stress. Even more ground breaking is that, in moral dilemmas, there might be no such thing as…show more content…
Milgram began his experiment by soliciting subjects aged from twenty to fifty, from all backgrounds under the guise of a simple memory experiment (Milgram, Obedience 15). By Milgram keeping the true study under wraps he was able to study subjects reactions with minimum bias towards the actual experiment. Milgram told those participating in the faux study that they were to act as teachers and assist in teaching a student a list of paired words. What the subject was unaware of however was that the student was actually in on the true experiment and was trained in order to test their reactions (Milgram, Obedience 16). So it went that whenever the student guessed the word pair wrong the teacher, in this case the subject, was instructed to flip a switch on a panel that they were led to believe would shock the student. They believed the experiment was to reinforce memory through punishment. After every “shock,” the subject was told to increase the intensity from 15 to 450 volts in a sequence of 30 switches they were labeled as the following for the subjects to avoid confusion: Slight Shock, Moderate Shock, Strong Shock, Very Strong Shock, Intense Shock, Extreme Intensity Shock, Danger Severe Shock, and XXX (Milgram, Behavioral).
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