Analysis Of Milgram's Obedience Experiment

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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 increasingly showed signs of distress, going so far as stating “I refuse to participate any further” and “I have a heart problem, please this is bothering my …show more content…
This argument contradicts Milgram’s statement that the participants “chose freely” to obey the orders of the experimenter (Milgram, 1962). It becomes apparent that Milgram underestimated the power of the authority figure—forcing rather than persuading the obedience of the participant. One can therefore conclude that the participants succumbed to a situation in which they felt powerless, and did not, as Milgram emphasize, obey commands and release their moral

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