World war II was one of the greatest tragedies that world has ever seen. The war in Europe began in earnest on September 1, 1939 with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, and with it came the Holocaust as Hitler set out to eliminate all those of a Jewish decent. Hitler’s followers the “Nazis” killed approximately six million Jews during this time period, a devastating blow to those living across the world. But the question remains, “Why did so many people follow Hitler’s’ order?”
Stanley Milgram wanted to find the answer to that particular question. Born August 15th, 1933 in New York (Sabini, 1986), to a Romanian-born mother, Adele, and a Hungarian-born father, Samuel Milgram, both Jewish immigrants (Blass, 1998). Although he was young, and live nowhere near where the tragedy was occurring, the Holocaust would have a large impact on his life as a scientist.
At a young age, his teachers and family realized that he carried intelligence that was way beyond his years. In kindergarten, he was able to recite everything he knew about President Abraham Lincoln after listening to his mother helping his older sister with an assignment (Blass, 1998). Stanley Milgram has always had an interest in the realm of science but only on the interactions between other. It was that interest that led him to the field of social psychology. In 1954, he received his bachelor’s degree from Queens College before heading off to the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton to study under Solomon Asch, who became his mentor and influenced his psychological career (Sabini, 1986).
Milgram eventually moved on to become a professor at Yale University and in 1961 began his experiment on the behavioural study of obedience (Milgram, 1963). He decided to study t...
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...rner was immediately strapped into a chair to avoid excess movement and was connected to the electric shock generator. The teacher was brought into an adjacent room, and told that the shocks that were to be administered would not cause any permanent damage, but would be extremely painful. It was then time to go through the pair-associate learning task(Milgram, 1963). The teacher read aloud a list of word pairs to the learner, then read the first word of each of the pairs along with four other terms. It was the learners job to answer the question with the correct paired term by pressing a series of switches that was placed in front of him. If the learner was incorrect the teacher was to administer an electric shock (Milgram, 1963).
The shock generator was on a table in front of the participant, and it contained 30 lever switches set in a straight horizontal line