Summary Of Philip Zimbardo's Milgram Obedience Experiments

Inspired by the horrific acts committed by thousands of seemingly “normal” individuals during the Holocaust, Stanley Milgram set out to discover the causes and triggers of unquestioning obedience. He inquired why so many people from uneventful backgrounds followed orders from the most tyrannical and prejudice leader ever facing this world. Basing his theory from that of a grade school friend and famous situationist—Philip Zimbardo—Milgram began to explore the possibility of a situation to force a person to act in opposition of their deepest values and morals. His curiosity resulted in the perpetually debated Milgram Obedience Experiments. In this experiment, Milgram used an actor to play the part of the “Learner,” and the participant portrayed the “Teacher.” One of Milgram’s assistants played the Experimenter, who controlled and maintained authority over the experiment. The Experimenter instructed the Teacher to give a shock of increasing intensity for every question the Learner answered incorrectly on a memorization task. An audio recording systematically produced verbalized answers that …show more content…
However, this is a largely simplistic view of the results of the experiments. The participants did not simply obey the person of authority named the experimenter. As demonstrated in the extensive video footage of the experiments, many of them exhibited great distress and tension, attempted to refuse participation, and tried to reason with the experimenter (Milgram, 1962). While it can be argued that a reasonable person could simply exit the room to leave or to check on the other participant receiving the shocks, the situation prevented this action, not physically, but psychologically. In turn, it may be argued that rather than obedience to orders, the participants of this study succumbed to incessant

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