Analysis Of Stanley Milgram's The Perils Of Obedience

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In Stanley Milgram’s “The Perils of Obedience,” Milgram explains his own study on the effects authority has on levels of obedience. Milgram designed the experiment in order to recognize the subjects as “teachers,” and actors as “learners,” with another actor posing as an "experimenter.” (Milgram 78). Milgram required the teacher to read a list of word pairs to a learner and to test their remembrance afterward (78). As Milgram explains in his essay, each time the learner answers incorrectly, the teacher is required by the experimenter to flip a switch on an electric shock generator. The author illustrates that the experimenter implies that the teacher is electrically shocking the learner; however, no shocks are actually inflicted. Diana Baumrind…show more content…
According to Milgram, after completing the experiment, all of his subjects were informed of its true purpose, which was to find out how much pain the average person would inflict on another person when placed under authority (Milgram 78). Therefore, as Gary Sturt, author of “Behavioral Study of Obedience” states, all of the subjects were participating in an experiment without their full consent being offered to the experiment holders (Sturt). Additionally, most of the subjects were affected by the stressful nature of the experiment. A debriefing session after their completion of Milgram’s experiment was held for all of the subjects; however, as Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D., author of "The Secrets Behind Psychology 's Most Famous Experiment," states, there is a “lack of proper attention given to the phase of the experiment called ‘debriefing’” (Whitbourne). Saul McLeod, author of “The Milgram Experiment,” further and more effectively explains Milgram’s attempt of ensuring the subjects’ well-being. McLeod claims that in addition to debriefing sessions after the conclusion of the experiment, all subjects were “followed up after a period of time to ensure that they came to no harm” (McLeod). Although mentioned briefly, an effective portrayal of Milgram’s debriefing sessions is not offered through his text. As Baumrind points out in her essay, the…show more content…
As Whitbourne states, "if participants want to discontinue their involvement in the study, they must be allowed to do so without any penalty or question" (Whitbourne). Milgram claims that all of the subjects were permitted to leave at any time; however, the experimenter displays an acknowledgeable amount of persistence towards the subject in continuing the experiment, insisting that “it’s absolutely essential” that they continue and that they “have no choice” but to stay in the experiment (Milgram 80-81). Baumrind insists that Milgram’s experimental design was degrading and emotionally harming to its subjects (Baumrind 92-93). Peter C. Baker, author of “Electric Schlock: Did Stanley Milgram 's Famous Obedience Experiments Prove Anything?,” claims that most humans tend to obey when they hear commands from an authority figure (Baker). Due to the fact that every subject in Milgram’s experiment volunteered to particpate, it can be assumed that the majority of the subjects held trust for their experimenter, who, in Milgram’s experiment, is the authority figure (Baumrind 93). As Baumrind mentions, Milgram’s experiment had the potential of causing participants of the experiment to have distrust toward other adult authorities in the future after realizing that they had been deceived and practically denied of their right to discontinue their participation in the study
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