The Milgram Experiment

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The Milgram Experiment

Stanley Milgram, a famous social psychologist, and student of Solomon Asch, conducted a controversial experiment in 1961, investigating obedience to authority (1974). The experiment was held to see if a subject would do something an authority figure tells them, even if it conflicts with their personal beliefs and morals. He even once said, "The social psychology of this century reveals a major lesson: often it is not so much the kind of person a man is as the kind of situation in which he finds himself that determines how he will act (Cherry).” This essay will go over what Milgram’s intent was in this experiment and what it really did for society.

The Milgram Experiment was on obedience to authority, which raised a series of controversial and notorious social psychology experiments in which study subjects were asked to do things that conflicted with their own conscious, while being asked to obey authority. The study looked at how people would react in doing something they would normally not do when responding to the request of an authority figure. Stanley Milgram recruited the subjects by placing ads in the newspaper for 40 men; the subjects did not know they would be paired with a confederate of the experimenter who would pose as the victim (1973). In exchange for their participation, each person was paid $4.50 (Cherry). The subject and the confederate were to participate in the experiment which analyzed the effects of punishment on the ability to learn. Milgram wanted to prove whether people would obey authority figures regardless if the tasks asked to be performed were morally wrong.

Each participant took the role of a "teacher" who would then deliver a shock to the "student" every time an incorrect answer was produced. The “teachers” were asked to administer shocks ranging from fifteen volts to four hundred and fifty volts to “student”, who the subjects thought were also participants in the experiment but only actor’s. In...
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