Stanley Milgrim's Obedience to Authority Experiment Essay

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The experiment performed by Stanley Milgrim at Yale University was both fascinating and thought provoking. Milgrim’s famous experiment explored “Obedience to authority.” In his experiment Milgrim explained to his students what was going to happen. He told his students that they would be the “teacher” who was going to administer a volunteered “student “a word-pairing test. Milgrim told them for every incorrect answer the “student” gave they would give a shock to the “student”. Each shock would increase in voltage after every incorrect answer. The shocks would be painful but not life threatening, he explained. They were also told an experimenter would be in the room to oversee the results of the experiment. Milgrim lead his students to…show more content…
Many of the participants shook and shivered as they administered the shocks but they still continued to shock when the experimenter told them it was vital to the experiment. The participants that stopped shocking were more likely to take personal responsibility for shocking the “student” while the participants who had continued shocking mostly claimed that it was the experimenters fault for pressuring them to continue. These statistics lead Milgrim to believe that obedience to authority had a great effect on our behavior. One example of “Obedience to authority” was in World War II when Nazi’s tortured and killed many people in concentration camps. In one Nazi experiment they would take a daughter and a mother and place them on opposite sides of each other with glass in between. They would administer shocks with increasing strengths to either the daughter or the mother until they pressed a button that would kill the other. You may ask how could a human go so far as to torture other people in this manner. The answer is simple. Our brains are hard-wired to obey authority. “In our society there are strong pressures to conform in the interest of efficiency. In fact those who conform usually move up the hierarchy to positions of increased authority. The reward system favours obedience to authority and it takes a strong person to resist.(The Social Animal pg.118)” The Nazi people who took part in killing all of

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