The Argument Against The Milgram Experiment

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In 1963, Stanley Milgram, a psychologist at Yale University, conducted an experiment to investigate into how obedient people would be when instructed by an authority figure. He was inspired by the Nuremburg War Criminal trials in Germany after the Holocaust. He wanted to know why so many people followed Hitler’s orders. To gather participants for the study, he placed an ad in a newspaper offering four dollars to be a part of the study. He told the participants that they would randomly be assigned the position of either ‘learner’ or ‘teacher’. During the experiment, the teacher was taken into a room with an experimenter in a lab coat and an electric shock generator ranging from 15 volts to 450 volts. The teacher was told to ask the learner questions …show more content…
At the beginning of the experiment, the teacher was not told that the entire thing was not real. All of the volunteers were made teachers, and the learner and experimenter were both actors. The learner was not actually being shocked, but the teacher believed that they were. Milgram’s experiment caused a great amount of controversy when it was conducted and the debate is still alive today. Overall, while some people believe that the experiment has given us more insight into the human mind, the majority of reactions and opinions criticize the experiment.
One of the major arguments against the Milgram experiment is that is was not ethical. For one, the participants were deceived throughout the entire experiment. The participants thought that the experiment was real and they were actually shocking a person‒they were not aware that the learner was just an actor.. As a result of this, the participants were put in a great amount of emotional distress. Saul McLeod, a psychology teacher at the University of Manchester, states that many of the participants exhibited signs of distress such as “trembling, sweating,
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One major thing that people often get wrong about the experiment is the statistic that says “65% (two-thirds) of participants (i.e. teachers) continued to the highest level of 450 volts. All the participants continued to 300 volts” (McLeod). While this is true for the first experiment that Milgram conducted, he also conducted 24 different variations of the experiment, all with different outcomes (Perry). The experiments were not consistent, and many of them had drastically different results. Perry went through the records of the experiment at Yale University and found that “in over half of the 24 variations, 60% of people disobeyed the instructions of the authority and refused to continue” (Shocking Truth). Like Perry says, Milgram describes a “highly controlled laboratory study”, but in actuality, between different experiments and even different participants, there was “a large degree of improvisation and variation” (Shocking Truth). This is a complete contradiction to the results that everyone believes. It is obvious that the experiments were not as consistent as they were made out to be. Along with this, some participants claim that they knew the experiment was not real. According to Perry, many of the participants wrote to Milgram after the experiment, telling him that they were suspicious (Shocking Truth). This is not frequently talked

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