A Study On The Obedience Of Humans Essay

2553 Words Oct 23rd, 2016 11 Pages
In 1963, a psychologist at Yale, Stanley Milgram, performed a study on the obedience of humans. The purpose of the study was to research “how easily ordinary people can be influenced into committing atrocities” (McLeod). The main research question was “for how long will someone continue to give shocks to another person if they are told to do so, even if they thought they could be seriously hurt” (“Milgram Experiment”). To study this, “40 males, aged between 20 and 50, whose jobs ranged from unskilled to professional, from the New Haven area” were selected to participate in a study they were told was on “memory and learning” (McLeod). Milgram’s confederate and each participant drew straws to determine who was the “learner” or “teacher.” It was always fixed so that the confederate was the learner. Another actor was also there who pretended to be an experimenter. The learner was told to memorize words in pairs and the teacher was told to shock the patient with increasingly dangerous voltages each time the word pair was repeated incorrectly, which was often because the confederate purposefully failed the tests. As the voltages increased, the prerecorded responses of the confederate became more and more distressed. In response, the participants were less inclined to initiate the shock and the experimenter used predetermined prods that were increasingly strict to make him continue, beginning with “please continue” and leading up to “you have no other choice but to continue.” The…

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