The Pearls of Obedience

Topics: Electric shock, Milgram experiment, Stanford prison experiment Pages: 4 (645 words) Published: October 8, 1999
In this article "The Pearls of Obedience", Stanley Milgram asserts that

obedience to authority is a common response for many people in

today's society, often diminishing an individuals beliefs or ideals.

Stanley Milgram designs an experiment to understand how strong a

person's tendency to obey authority is, even though it is amoral or

destructive. Stanley Milgram bases his experiment on three people: a

learner, teacher, and experimenter. The experimenter is simply an

overseer of the experiment, and is concerned with the outcome of

punishing the learner. The teacher, who is the subject of the

experiment, is made to believe the electrical shocks are real; he is

responsible for obeying the experimenter and punishing the learner

for incorrect answers by electrocuting him from an electric shock

panel that increases from 15 to 450 volts. The learner is actually an

actor who is strapped to a harmless electric chair. He is told several

pairs of words, and must remember and repeat these pairings with

the make-believe fear of being electrocuted for incorrect answers.

The foretold outcome or this experiment was expressed by

several people who are familiar with behavioral sciences. They

predicted that the majority of subjects would not pass 150 volts, and

that a few crazed lunatics would reach the maximum voltage. This

conclusion was disproved from Milgram's experiment. The majority of

the subjects obeyed the experimenter to the end. There were several

reactions to the experiment. Some people showed signs of tension or

stress, others laughed, and some showed no signs of discomfort

throughout the experiment. Subjects often felt satisfaction by

obeying the experimenter. This gives proof to the belief that many

people obey authority to show they are doing a good job, and

perceived as loyal by the experimenter or society, which ever the case

may be.

One theory used to...
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