The Electric Shock Experiment On Obedience To Authority, By Stanley Milgram

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The electric shock experiment on obedience to authority was conducted by Stanley Milgram, a social psychologist at Yale University in the early 1960s. Being a Jewish himself, he was aware of the mass murder performed by those accused at the World War II, Nuremberg War Criminal trials (McLeod, 2007). They claimed that they were simply following orders from their leaders. Milgram was therefore interested in investigating whether German soldiers in the Nazi killings in World War II were particularly following orders from Nazi officials. Milgram wanted to know to what extend people would obey authority’s order even knowing harming another person.
The experiment began in July 1961. Milgram recruited 40 males between the ages of 20-50 from newspaper
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According to the Code of Ethics 3.1.5, psychologists should avoid deception in their work and seek adequate ethical review of public and individuals before making a decision to proceed. However, Milgram deceived the participants by not telling them the learner was a confederate and the shocking administered were unreal. Milgram also lied about the purpose of the experiment and participants had mistaken the study as for memory and learning. Although participants were simply obeying orders and had no harm from this experiment, most of the participants believed they were shocking the learners. Participants were observed sweating, stuttering and trembling, showed that they were suffered from intense emotional stress, which may cause psychological harm (Vogels 2004). Although reconciliation was arranged between the teacher and the learner (confederate) as soon as the experiment was over, Code of Ethics 2.6.3 stated that psychologist should not use research procedures that may cause harm to the participants, which Milgram had failed to …show more content…
However they were deceived from the purpose of the research and the process of the experiment. Participants were not aware of their rights that they were able to leave the experiment when they want to(Vogels 2004). The participants were convinced to believe that the shocks they administered to another “participants”, who in fact is a confederate of Milgram’s, were not real. This has affected the self-esteem of the participants because the experimenter that they thought were legitimate authority, turned out to be misearning their trust(Baumrind, 1964). Milgram argued by providing data from questionnaires that more than 84% of the obedient participants were glad that they had participant in the experiment as educational knowledge was generated(Benjamin & Simpson,

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