The Milgram Obedience Experiment
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The Milgram Obedience Experiment
Stanley Milgram was a psychologist at Yale University during the 1960s. His idea was to test if people could be truly evil, or if people only commit evil acts because they simply follow instructions from a higher authority. This experiment took place shortly after the trials for Nazi officers who claimed that they only committed the heinous act of genocide because they were ordered to do so. The methods that Milgram used to test his hypothesis are very unethical and this experiment is a very infamous one.

Milgram recruited 40 men for his experiment. Every volunteer played the role of a “teacher” and they were put into a room and ordered to ask questions to a “student” in the room next to them. There was no visual contact between the “teacher” and the “student” during the experiment. Every time the “student” would give an incorrect answer, the participant was ordered to give an electrical shock to the “student”. The “student” was actually part of the experiment and only pretending to be shocked, but the volunteer did not know it was a fake electrical shock . The participant was to shock the “student” with 30 volts and increased to 450 volts in 15 volt increments. As the experiment progressed, the “student” was to try and convince the volunteer to stop asking questions. Once 300 volts had been met, the “student” would bang his head on the wall and then become silent after that. Most volunteers became scared and asked the experimenter to stop. The experimenter would then read 4 commands telling the volunteer to continue on and if he refused after all 4 the experiment would stop.

The results for this experiment were shocking. Of the 40 recruits, 65% of them delivered the highest electrical shock. And many thought they had killed the “student” when the experiment was over until they were debriefed shortly after about the true meaning of the experiment. Therefore, Milgrams hypothesis that people commit evil acts only because they are instructed to do so from a high authority holds true. Other psychologists have completed similar experiments and share the same results as Milgram.

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Incorrect Answer And Experiment. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from