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The Perils of Obedience by Stanley Milgram

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Length: 819 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Yellow      
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“The Perils of Obedience” was written by Stanley Milgram in 1974. In the essay he describes his experiments on obedience to authority. I feel as though this is a great psychology essay and will be used in psychology 101 classes for generations to come. The essay describes how people are willing to do almost anything that they are told no matter how immoral the action is or how much pain it may cause.

     This essay even though it was written in 1974 is still used today because of its historical importance. The experiment attempts to figure out why the Nazi’s followed Hitler. Even though what he told them to do was morally wrong and they did it anyway. If this essay can help figure out why Hitler was able to do what he was then able to do, then maybe psychologists can figure out how to prevent something like that from happening again.

     “The Perils of Obedience” is about an experiment that was made to test the obedience of ordinary people. There are two people who come and perform in the lab, one is the subject or the teacher and the other is an actor or the learner. The teacher doesn’t know that the learner is an actor. They are there to see how far someone would go on causing someone pain just because they were told to do so the authority figure. The learner is given a list of word pairs and has to memorize them. Then he has to remember the second word of the pair when he hears the first word. If he is incorrect the “teacher” will shock him until he gets it rig...

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