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The Milgram experiment

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    The Milgram experiment

    The Milgram experiment came about by a Yale University psychologist by the name of Stanley Milgram. The experiment was to test how well the study participants were and the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with what they thought was right. He concluded people obey either out of fear or out of a desire to appear cooperative even when acting against their own better judgment and desires. Stanley Milgram raised a question of why so many people obey when they feel coerced, which brought on his shockingly incredible experiment.

    Stanley Milgram’s experiment was probably one of the most famous studies of obedience. The experiment was started in july of 1961 it was simple to say the less. The first step of Stanley’s experiment was to put a ad out in the local paper, that read “ We will pay you $4.00 for one hour or your time Persons needed for a study of Memory * we will pay five hundred New haven men to us complete a scientific study of memory and learning. The study is being done at Yale University. * each person who participates will be paid $4.00 ( plus 50c carfare) for approximately 1 hours time. We need you for an hour: there are no further obligations. You may choose the time you would like to come.

    All person must be between the ages of 20 and 50. High school and college students cannot be used. * If you meet these qualifications, fill out the coupon below and mail it now to Professor Stanley Milgram, Department of Psychology, Yale University New Haven” as stated from In Milgram’s study he selected 40 male volunteers who had responded to his ad the 40 volunteers who were selected were of different age groups as shown from the chart below it was broken down in to age groups from 20 to 29 year olds in occupation as skilled and unskilled workers to business and white-collar and the finale professional occupation. This was also broken down in to two other age groups such as 30 to 39 and 40 to 50 year olds. “this chart can also be seen on” . After the volunteers have shown up Stanley came out wearing a white coat with a friendly co-subject which the volunteers assumed was there because of the same ad, Then Stanley went on to explained that one subject would be assigned the role of “teacher” and the other would be assigned the role of “learner.” He then stated that he would hand each of them a piece of paper to assign them a role, ether the teacher or the learner. Little to the volunteers knowledge both pieces of paper had the role of teacher written on it. The co-subject pretended that his paper said learner on it so that in the volunteer mind it was inevitably random that they got the position as the teacher. Now for the surprising part, the co-subject was really an actor. Who was paid to act like he was getting shocked, which was to lead on the volunteer that he was really in pain to put the effect of physically hurting another person in the subjects mind who was the teacher. To see if the teacher would stop the experiment and the painful shock that really was not happening.

    Now the so called shock was only supposed to be giving for each wrong answer. Now the learner gave mainly wrong answers (on purpose) and for each of these the teacher gave him an electric shock. When the teacher refused to administer a shock and turned to Stanley for some guidance, he was given the standard instruction and or order to continue with four simple commands. First of which was please continue. Second the experiment requires you to continue. Third it is absolutely essential that you continue. The fourth and final one was you have no other choice but to continue. As the experiment went on and the results were coming in two-thirds of participants as in the teachers continued to the highest level of 450 volts. Now in one of Stanley’s article he had thought before the experiment took place that only one in a thousand would administer the highest shock he later found out it was wrong.

    “In an article entitled “The Perils of Obedience” (1974) Stanley Milgram wrote:- “Before the experiments, I sought predictions about the outcome from various kinds of people — psychiatrists, college sophomores, middle-class adults, graduate students and faculty in the behavioral sciences. With remarkable similarity, they predicted that virtually all the subjects would refuse to obey the experimenter. The psychiatrist, specifically, predicted that most subjects would not go beyond 150 volts, when the victim makes his first explicit demand to be freed. They expected that only 4 percent would reach 300 volts, and that only a pathological fringe of about one in a thousand would administer the highest shock on the board”. All though all the participants did continue to 300 volts after Stanley gave them some guidance. Milgram came to the conclusion that Ordinary people are more than likely to follow orders given by an authority figure, even more so to the extent of possibility of serious injury and or death of an innocent human being. Having Obedience to authority is ingrained in all of us from the way we are brought up. As in Obey parents, teachers, anyone in authority position, as some as the testers went on some demonstrated a range of negative emotions about continuing and would plead with the learner about stopping the experiment. Some of which started to laugh nervously and act strangely because they did not know what to do so the nerves laugh was them trying to hide it. As they sat there in front of a control panel as shown to the right. Which had 30 switches in 15 volt increments, each switch was labeled with a voltage ranging from 15 and up to 450 volts. Each switch also had a rating, which was ranging from slight shock to danger and then even more to severe shock just when one would think it was done it still had two final switches which were labeled by XXX. In other words a hell of a lot of pain one would think.

    Which the volunteer did not know that it was not hooked up they just heard the co-subject or actor in the other room pretending to yell in pain. Now in conclusion the experiment showed how people would react to an authority figure giving those orders and if they would rebel if they thought the outcome was bad or not. Now at the end all the volunteers were debriefed showing that they did not bring any harm to the student, which a lot were relieved and in one case one person even cried seeing the person alive because they thought they had killed him. Now after all that was said and done, the volunteer were broken down in to three groups once again the first group was Obeyed but justified themselves. Some obedient participants gave up responsibility for their actions, blaming the experimenter. The second group was obeyed but blamed themselves. Others felt badly about what they had done and were quite harsh on themselves. The last group and the group that had the lowest amount of people was Rebelled. Finally, rebellious subjects questioned the authority of the experimenter and argued there was a greater ethical imperative calling for the protection of the learner over the needs of the experimenter. “To see the experiment there are two youtube videos links are below”!

    Works Citied
    007IceWeasel. “Obedience.” YouTube. YouTube, 29 Jan. 2010. Web. 19 Apr. 2012. . MichaelRobertRees. “The Milgram Experiment.” YouTube. YouTube, 30 Nov. 2010. Web. 19 Apr. 2012. . “Milgram’s Experiment on Obedience to Authority.” Web. 19 Apr. 2012. . “Milgram Experiment.” Simply Psychology. Web. 19 Apr. 2012. . “Obedience to AuthorityThe Experiments by Stanley Milgram.” Stanley Milgram Obedience Experiments Authority Study 1974 Psychology. Web. 19 Apr. 2012. .

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    The Milgram experiment. (2016, Nov 04). Retrieved from

    Frequently Asked Questions

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    What happened in the Milgram experiment?
    Milgram was horrified by the results of the experiment. In the “remote condition” version of the experiment described above, 65 percent of the subjects (26 out of 40) continued to inflict shocks right up to the 450-volt level, despite the learner's screams, protests, and, at the 330-volt level, disturbing silence.
    What is the Milgram experiment simple explanation?
    The Milgram experiment is a famous psychological study exploring the willingness of individuals to follow the orders of authorities when those orders conflict with the individual's own moral judgment.
    What was the main discovery of the Milgram experiment?
    Milgram's experiment has become a classic in psychology, demonstrating the dangers of obedience. The research suggests that situational variables have a stronger sway than personality factors in determining obedience.
    Why was the Milgram experiment important?
    Blass states that Milgram's obedience experiments are important because they provide a frame of reference for contemporary real-life instances of extreme, destructive obedience.

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