Milgram Experiment Essay

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The Milgram Experiment One of the most famous studies of OBEDIENCE in psychology was carried out by Stanley Milgram. Experimenter: Stanley Milgram (Psychologist at Yale University) Subject: Conflict between obedience to authority and personal conscience. Background: He examined justifications for acts of genocide offered by those accused at the World War II, Nuremberg War Criminal trials. Milgram devised the experiment to answer the question "Could it be that Eichmann and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders of their superiors? Could we call them all accomplices?" Time: July 1961, a year after the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Participants (Teachers): 40 males, aged between 20 and 50, whose jobs ranged from unskilled to professional. They did not know the main aim of the experiment. Mr. Wallace (Learner): Mr. Wallace played the role of a learner, who was actually a confederate. Procedure: The learner (Mr. Wallace) was taken into a room and had electrodes attached to his arms. In a seperate room there were an electric shock generator and a row of 30 switches marked from 15 volts (Slight Shock) to 375 volts (Severe Shock) to 450 volts (XXX). After he has learned a list of word pairs, the "teacher" tests him by naming a word and asking the learner to recall its partner/pair. The teacher gives an electric shock every time the learner makes a mistake, increasing the level of shock each time. But in fact the electric shock generator did not at all generate any shock. Some fake recorded screams were played so that the participants thought that they had been giving real shocks. Thus Mr. Wallace remained safe and the psychology of participants was also examined. When the participant refused to administer a shock and turned to the experimenter, he was given the standard instruction /order (consisting of
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