The Stanford Prison Experiment And Milgram's Behavioral Study Of Obedience

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Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment and Stanley Milgram’s Behavioral Study of Obedience have provoked controversy amongst individuals interested in the study of human psychology. Critics have claimed that both studies were unethical and caused serious harm to the participants. Although both trials were later reviewed by the American Psychological Association and approved, many debates and additional research ensued. The strengths, weaknesses and underlying ethics of both studies still provide ample reason for further examination. Only three months after the start of trials for Adolf Eichmann (a Nazi war criminal), Milgram formulated an experiment to question this dispositional view. For many war criminals, their only logical defense was that they had just been following orders. Milgram felt that Eichmann’s and others cruel behaviour were developed from their unique situation. Milgram’s Behavioral Study of Obedience sought to question the conjecture that ordinary people could commit atrocities when they are given orders by someone in authority. The model for Milgram’s experiment was simple. Individuals came to Yale University believing they were participating in a memory experiment. Three people were required to take part in the experiment: an experimenter…show more content…
Zimbardo asks why those participants who refused to go any further in their “evil deed” did not go to the aid of the “learner”? He remarks that “… even their disobedience was within the framework of acceptability” (Zimbardo 1973). Observers looking at the experiment in progress could not believe what they were seeing. Eckman proposes an answer. In modern society, people tend to obey others in authority. This statement should not cause excessive concerns or astonishment. Clearly, if few people obeyed orders , little would be accomplished and a complex society would become

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