Stanley Milgram Essay

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Milgram's Research on Obedience to Authority Linda Foster Grand Canyon University February 17, 2014 Milgram's Research on Obedience to Authority Milgram’s notorious work was intended to help us comprehend the atrocities committed against the Jews in the name of obedience to authority. The purpose of this paper is to review Milgram’s work with a summary of his research, including his methodology, his results, and his interpretation of those results. Current research with regard to obedience to authority and why or why not most individuals will conform to authority will also be reviewed to determine if it supports or refutes Milgram’s findings. Forty self-selected participants were paid to participate in a study about learning and memory at Yale University (Milgram, 1963). Participants drew pieces of paper from a hat titled to determine if they would be a teacher or learner, but it was setup so that participants would always be a teacher. A confederate was the learner, and the experimenter was a biology teacher in a gray lab coat. The teacher was told to administer a shock to the learner whenever an incorrect answer was given, increasing the shock for each successive wrong answer. The shock generator was clearly labeled from “Slight Shock” to “Danger: Severe Shock,” ranging from 15 to 450 volts. Beyond 150 volts, the learner protested and demanded to be released. The results of Milgram’s (1963) are shocking, as 26 out of the 40 participants complied with the experimenter’s verbal prods, administering shocks of 450 volts to the learner. According to Milgram, this phenomenon is due to situational factors. The study took place at Yale, a university of high repute; therefore, the experimenter and the study itself might be seen as unimpeachable. Milgram suggests that another reason for the high degree of compliance is that, from the participant’s point of

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