Critque Perils of Obedience

Topics: Psychology, Stanford prison experiment, Human behavior Pages: 2 (596 words) Published: June 12, 2006
In "The Perils of Obedience," Stanley Milgram conducted a study that tests the conflict between obeying immoral commands given by authority and refusing authority. The experiment was to see how much pain a normal person would inflict on another person because he/she were being ordered to do so by a scientist. The participants of this experiment included two willing individuals: a teacher and a learner. The teacher was the real subject and the learner was an actor. In almost all case the teacher would shock the student to the assumed point of death and in one case a teacher laughed while administering the shock. This leads to the conclusion that everyone has an innate aggression that manifest with the opportunity arises.

When the circumstances of the experiment were changed, and the teacher could choose the level of shock administered to the learner the results were drastically different. The teacher's hardly ever went beyond the minimum pain threshold. The only difference was the presence of the authority figure. This shows that people find it easier to disregard morals when ordered to do so by authority, this also allows for a scapegoat for the responsibility. It is almost as though the progress of the student is completely forgotten, and the teacher becomes annoyed with the students continuing to shock them as instructed. The conclusion derived from these experiments is that under special circumstances authority figures can transform ordinary people into "agents of terror."

The essay and experiment were an accurate representation of human behavior and how it is affected by authority. It is clearly shown when the difference in people's malicious behavior when shocking the students in the presence of authority and when given the freedom to choose the level of shock. The thesis of Milgram's essay was that obedience is a deeply ingrained behavior tendency; indeed, a potent impulse overriding reining ethics, sympathy and moral conduct is right on the dot. He...
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