Milgram Essay

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Perils of Obedience Summary In Stanley Milgram’s Perils of Obedience, he explores how people react to authority, even when they are told to do something that they found immoral. He conducted multiple versions of his experiment, trying out different situations doing the same tasks. His first trial he started with his students, taking them in pairs of two. They were both given roles, the learner, and the teacher. The teacher was told that the object of the experiment was to study the effects of punishment on learning. They are also told that their role in the experiment was to read word lists to the learner and the learner must remember the second word from a list of word pairs they had read earlier. If the learner got the answer wrong, then the teacher was told to administer shocks, for each answer that the learner got wrong, and the shocks had to increase in intensity. The teacher is unaware of the fact that the learner is actually an actor, and receives no shock. The experiments, involving the Undergrad students from Yale, resulted in 60 percent of the students being fully obedient. A colleague of Stanley Milgram’s was skeptical of the results. He stated that “Yale undergraduates are a highly aggressive competitive bunch, who steps on each other’s necks on the slightest provocation.” He also predicted that when ordinary people were tested the results would be quite different. The experiment was then conducted in Princeton, Munich, Rome, South Africa, and Australia, all ending with similar or higher percentages than the original experiment. His article then went on to reference several specific sessions that occurred during these experiments and documented how these specific individuals reacted. In the first example he used, the teacher was a thirty one year old woman, she worked at Yale as a medical technician. As the experiment progressed through the

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