Describe and evaluate two pieces of Psychological Research
In 1963 professor Stanley Milgram carried out a ‘Study of Obedience to Authority’ in which he aimed to answer the question, “Could it be that Eichmann and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders" (Milgram, 1974). To do this. Milgram elaborated on two theories, one of which was Solomon Asch’s 1956 ‘conformity experiments’.
In 1963 Milgram put out an advertisement asking for men, aged between 20 and 50,to volunteer to partake in what he deceptively termed ‘a scientific study of memory and learning’. When the volunteers arrived at Yale University, they were met by a young man named Jack Williams, who was dressed in a white laboratory coat. He introduced himself as the man who would be conducting the experiment. The volunteers were also introduced to Mr. Wallace who was presented as a fellow volunteer. In actual fact both Mr. Wallace and Mr. Williams were both actors. The participants were informed that the nature of the experiment in which they would partake, was to ‘assess the effects of punishment on learning’. They then were told to pick a piece of paper, written on which would be the role they would play in the experiment. This part of the experiment was arranged such that the role of Mr. Wallace was always the ‘learner’ and that of the true volunteer was always the ‘teacher’. The ‘learner’ Mr. Wallace was taken to a room and strapped into a chair and electrodes attached to him. The volunteer was then taken to an adjacent room in which was an electric shock generator. On the generator was switches ranging from 15 volts to 450 volts, these were also labeled with phrases describing the level of shock, with the maximum shock being labeled ‘XXX’. Initially, a shock was administered to the teacher to prove the generator was real. From here the experiment started, the learner was tested on word pairs which they had tried to memorize earlier. When they answered a question...
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