The Milgram Experiment Essay

1127 Words Feb 10th, 2013 5 Pages
The Milgram Experiment

Stanley Milgram, a famous social psychologist, and student of Solomon Asch, conducted a controversial experiment in 1961, investigating obedience to authority (1974). The experiment was held to see if a subject would do something an authority figure tells them, even if it conflicts with their personal beliefs and morals. He even once said, "The social psychology of this century reveals a major lesson: often it is not so much the kind of person a man is as the kind of situation in which he finds himself that determines how he will act (Cherry).” This essay will go over what Milgram’s intent was in this experiment and what it really did for society. The Milgram Experiment was on obedience to authority, which
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(Voltage increased after each wrong answer). After a dangerous level of voltage was applied, the actors screamed out in pain, and then fell to the ground, not responding to the experimenter or the subject. Many subjects were said to show signs of distress at this point, but after being prompted by the experimenter to continue on with the experiment, and increase levels of voltage (Cherry). Over 65% of participants continued to electrocute at lethal levels, and who is to say that most of us wouldn’t have done the same? After all, psychologists first predicted that only around 10% of people would actually follow through (Cherry).
After the experiment subjects were debriefed, and told that the participants they administered shocks to were actually actors. The subjects realized the cruelty of their actions and some suffered emotional break downs. Milgram stated, "Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority (1974).” His experiment just proved that when placed in a situation of pressure,

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