The Affects of Authority on Morality Essay

1064 WordsDec 12, 20125 Pages
The Affects of Authority on Morality Chris Brys Professor Slobodow October 31, 2011 In an attempt to discover how people would react when assigned an immoral task by an authoritative figure, Stanley Milgram, a Yale psychologist conducted an experiment in which subjects were ordered to give a person increasingly intense electrical shocks. As they did this, special note was taken on how subjects dealt with the conflict of their own morality versus the command of authority and the outcome was much different than many had predicted. In Stanley Milgram’s article, titled “The Perils of Obedience,” he describes the procedural aspect of the experiment and then discusses the outcome. He reports the overall outcomes of the experiment and other variations of the same experiment while taking time to also point out some subjects who responded in unique ways. The first subject that Milgram brings up is a German woman who was at the time a medical technician at the Yale Medical School. The experiment is set up so that there are two subjects. One is the teacher and the other is the learner. The teacher asks the learner questions, to which if he responds incorrectly, he receives an electric shock. Each time he recites a wrong answer the shock is increased. In actuality, though, the subject being shocked is an actor who is not actually being harmed, rather just playing the part of being in extreme pain. In the case of the German woman, she shocked the person on command repeatedly until the administration of a 210 volt shock. Seeing the man receiving the shocks appearing to be in so much pain, she turns to the experimenter and says, “Well, I’m sorry, I don’t think we should continue.” The author then goes to show the conversation that ensued between he and the woman, and even though he tried to convince her in a very authoritative way to

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