Critique of Stanley Milgram’s “Behavioral Study of Obedience”

Topics: Stanford prison experiment, Social psychology, Milgram experiment Pages: 3 (909 words) Published: October 25, 2011
A Critique of Stanley Milgram’s “Behavioral Study of Obedience”

Stanley MIlgram is a Yale University social psychologist who wrote “Behavioral Study of Obedience”, an article which granted him many awards and is now considered a landmark. In this piece, he evaluates the extent to which a participant is willing to conform to an authority figure who commands him to execute acts that conflict with his moral beliefs. Milgram discovers that the majority of participants do obey to authority. In this research, the subjects are misled because they are part of a learning experience that is not about what they are told. This experiment was appropriate despite this. Throughout the process, subjects are exposed to various signs that show them the intensity of their act (effects on the victim and intensity of the shocks), and are told that they are allowed to leave whenever. Moreover, if the subjects were not misled and were told the truth, this experiment would not have taken place. Milgram solicits 40 males from various ages and professions. These subjects are explained that they are part of an experiment that studies the influence of punishment on learning. However, the true purpose is to check their willingness to obey to an authority figure by inflicting pain that they think is real when it is not to a victim. The experimenter, Milgram’s accomplice, acts as a figure of authority, giving orders to the subjects. The victim, also a collaborator, experiences the pain given by the subject. The pain is given by a shock generator, which is comprised with 30 switches, with a voltage that ranges from 15 to 450 volts. Subjects enter the laboratory one by one. All go through the experiment: 14 of them do not complete the full experiment, while 26 do. The majority of the subjects obey to authority, aware that they are physically hurting the victim. Also there is an unexpected amount of stressful reactions. Following his experiment, Milgram claims that the...
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