Diana Milgram's Experiment: The Question Of Obedience
W131 Period 1
24 October 2017
The Question of Obedience Stanley Milgram, an American social psychologist, conducted an experiment that showed the effects of obedience. In his experiment, test subjects were given two choices: obey immoral demands from an authority figure or follow one’s own conscience. In his results, Milgram did not find any resistance to the immoral demands despite those demands hurting other individuals. From this experiment, the issue of obedience became controversial and created many questions in America due to its design and its methods. Diana Baumrind, a colleague of Stanley Milgram, was appalled by Milgram’s experiment and the treatment of his test subjects. In her article, “Review of Stanley …show more content…
Baumrind, at the start of her article, calls Milgram’s experiment a “game” and declares that Milgram “… [made] the rules” (90). The word “game” implies a childlike way of manipulation, and that the experiment was only for the amusement of Stanley Milgram. Like most games, the experiment would be seen as having no relevance or truth to society. Through this word, Baumrind is able to establish a stab at the significance of the experiment. In addition, Baumrind also disagrees with Milgram’s “rules.” In her mind, Milgram did not follow proper scientific procedure in his experiment, and like a child, Milgram made up the “rules” for his “game.” Baumrind discourages Milgram’s practices and shows the mistreatment of test subjects within his experiment. Like Baumrind, Parker questions the background of Milgram’s experiment. Parker states that “[Milgram] had invented a kind of torture machine” (96). Parker develops that Milgram’s experiment built a foundation on the basis of torture, not science. As Parker continues, readers can see that this torture machine had no planning or theory to back it. Consequently, Parker’s introduction of his article communicates an uncertainty towards Milgram’s nonexistent scientific procedure. Reinforcing his ideas in his article, Parker chooses to include words like “hoax” and “fake” (100). By using “hoax,” Parker craftily indicates the deception and trickery in the methods of the experiment. Through the eyes of Parker, the experiment no longer holds any validity, instead it is a spoof created by an impulsive scientist. The use of “hoax” connotes that the deception created could have a humorous undertone. This idea of humor correlates to Baumrind’s beliefs of Milgram’s experiment being unethical and not an actual experiment; with this connection, Parker links the experiment and Milgram’s pleasure.