The Milgram Experiment Essay

1299 Words Apr 27th, 2013 6 Pages
Stanley Milgram: 'electric shock' experiments (1963) - also showed the power of the situation in influencing behaviour. 65% of people could be easily induced into giving a stranger an electric shock of 450V (enough to kill someone). 100% of people could be influenced into giving a 275V shock.
The Milgram Experiment
Stanley Milgram (1963)
Experiment: Focusing on the conflict between obedience to authority and personal conscience.
Investigate: Whether Germans were particularly obedient to authority figures as this was a common explanation for the Nazi killings in World War II.
Milgram selected participants for his experiment by advertising for male participants to take part in a study of learning at Yale University. The procedure was
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Stark authority was pitted against the subjects’ [participants’] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects’ [participants’] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation.”
Factors Affecting Obedience
The Milgram experiment was carried out many times whereby Milgram varied the basic procedure (changed the IV). By doing this Milgram could identify which factors affected obedience (the DV). Status of Location | Personal Responsibility | * The orders were given in an important location (Yale University) – when Milgram’s study was conducted in a run-down office in the city, obedience levels dropped. * This suggests that prestige increases obedience. | * When there is less personal responsibility obedience increases. * When participants could instruct an assistant to press the switches, 95% (compared to 65% in the original study) shocked to the maximum 450 volts. * This relates to Milgram's Agency Theory. | Legitimacy of Authority Figure | Status of Authority Figure | * People tend to obey orders from other people if they
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