The Experiment : Stanley Milgram 's Original Experiment Essay

The Experiment : Stanley Milgram 's Original Experiment Essay

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1. In Stanley Milgram’s original experiment where he studied the potential of a person to physically harm another when told to do so by an authority figure, he assigned three roles: experimenter, teacher, and learner. The experimenter and learner were complicit in the experiment’s intended goal to measure the threshold at which a person would disobey a command to administer increasing levels of shock treatment. The shock treatment was presented to the teacher as having 15 level increments ranging from 15-450 volts, with descriptions from “slight shock” to “danger: severe shock.” The experiment was disguised as an attempt to study the effects of punishment on memorization of word groups, and involved the unknowing teacher to inflict fake shock treatment at increasing intervals upon the actor-learner upon their delivery of an incorrect answer. The learner’s role was to pretend to be in at times extreme agony. The experimenter’s role was to authoritatively and unsympathetically dissuade the teacher from disobeying the commands, at times saying that it was crucial and absolutely necessary for the teacher to continue, and that although the shocks were painful, they did not inflict any serious physical damage.

The results of the experiment were astounding. Many Yale psychology students hypothesized that only 1.2% of 100 persons would continue the shock treatment until the end. This turned out to be an overly optimistic outlook because the results of the experiment showed that out of 40 teachers, 26 of them obeyed fully, while only 14 disobeyed at lower levels of shock. Many of the teachers exhibited physical signs of unease with “having” to do something they found morally reprehensible, but continued to carry on with the experiment no...


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...sted. In most cases, the white lab coat and the status of being affiliated with Yale University increased the likelihood of the teacher’s obedience; however, when the experiments were moved to a different location in a dilapidated office in Bridgeport, they found that there was a very slight decrease in obedience between teacher and experimenter.

In the case of the teacher having disobedient models, the teacher’s disobedience decreased dramatically. In a particular experiment, which involved a group of experimenter accomplices acting out in disobedience, the teacher responded in defiance along with the group 90% of the time.

4. The general finding of the 2009 study in reference to obedience to authority and Milgram’s original experiment was that there was no significant change. Burger’s experiment was a much more modern undertaking, and the participants were more

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