Stanley Milgram's Experiment

Topics: Stanford prison experiment, Psychology, Milgram experiment Pages: 3 (949 words) Published: December 3, 2007
Stanley Milgram's Experiment
In Stanley Milgram's essay Some Conditions of Obedience and Disobedience to Authority, the self-proclaimed "social psychologist" conducted a study while working as a psychologist at Yale University. The primary goal of Milgram's experiment was to measure the desire of the participants to shock a learner in a controlled situation. The experiment was based on three primary roles: the authoritative figure, the learner, and the teachers. The authoritative figure instructed the teachers to shock the learner when they answered the question wrong. This form of punishment is typically believed to conflict with personal morals and the main reason for the experiment was to evaluate the teacher's response to administering this type of punishment. For each experiment Milgram would select forty male subjects that had no prior knowledge of the study. The subjects sought for these experiments were male adults ages twenty through fifty. Not only was Milgram persistent in having a balanced age range of males for his experiment but he also made sure that they had a variety of different occupations. In the experiment, Milgram recruited the "teachers," who were actually the unknowing subjects of the experiment. They were asked to administer an electric shock of increasing intensity to a learner for each mistake he made during the experiment. The experiment consisted of the teacher administering a list of paired associates to the learner, to test him on the list and to then to punish him for the errors. The fictitious story given to these teachers was that the experiment was exploring effects of punishment for the incorrect responses on learning behavior. The teacher, however, was not aware that the learner in the study was an actor that was not actually being shocked. The experiment was conducted to measure the level of discomfort and moral dilemma the teacher felt as he increased the electric shocks. When the teacher asked the administrators whether...
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