Evaluate Milgram's Theory

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Milgram’s (1974) empirical study of obedience is of paramount influence within experimental social psychology. Milgram (1974) was notorious for his fascination with the perils of group behaviour and blind obedience to authority, and aspired to facilitate understanding surrounding human ability to act inhumanely, without boundaries or any apparent conscience, with specific interest surrounding the horrendous acts committed during the Holocaust (Mastrioanni, 2002). Milgram’s (1974) experiment is today considered somewhat controversial and unethical and has been significant in prompting ethical considerations in future studies. However it is still considered highly relevant to contemporary social psychology, with findings demonstrating a commonality …show more content…
Milgram (1974) used this perspective to explain the behaviour expelled by the participants when continuing to administer increasingly severe shocks, even after the ‘learners’ protesting and once the experimenter had exclaimed that they would take responsibility, allowing the ‘teacher’ to take an agentic shift from autonomy (Reicher & Haslam, 2012). Nissani (1990), suggests that the human cognitive system is not fully reliable to recognise potentially malevolent authority despite them being supposedly benevolent, subsequently indicating that the participant’s behaviour may be conceptual, rather than as a result of forsaking their morals. Russell (2009) argues however, that this theory of agentic state should be replaced with the term ‘autonomous denial’, implying that the participants did, in fact, understand the implications of their actions, however, chose to deny them in hope of both avoiding confrontation with the experimenter, whilst adjacently dismissing blame for any wrongdoings, thus leaving argument open for whether or not the participants knowingly contributed to any immoral

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