Essay on The Authority Of The Average American Citizen

1259 Words Nov 30th, 2016 6 Pages
In 1962, Dr. Stanley Milgram conducted an experiment to test the authority of the average American citizen. Milgram gathered a group of forty men to test their obedience to an authoritative figure. Each subject was brought into the experiment under the impression that they were going to be evaluated on how well they were able to learn a series of word combinations. The way they were encouraged to remember these combinations was by using a form of negative extrinsic motivation. Each time a wrong answer was given, the learner would administer a shock of increasing value to the learner. The shocks started at a voltage of fifteen volts and increased by fifteen volts until they were administering a shock measuring 450 volts. What the test subjects did not know was, each time they were evaluated the same learner was responding on the other side. Milgram had a man with an apparent heart problem on the other side of the locked door. The “learner” knew about the true intention of the experiment. He knew the true intention of the experiment. As soon as the “teacher” was taken out of the room, the “learner” would slip out of the machine and begin to play pre-recorded responses to each shock. The true intentions were evaluated in this portion of the experiment. Each test subject was given the task of “teacher” and told to administer the shocks each time the perceived “learner” answered a word pair incorrectly. Response time was evaluated each time the voltage was ordered to be given.…

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