Evaluate Milgrams research into obedience.

Topics: Ethics, Stanford prison experiment, Milgram experiment Pages: 2 (570 words) Published: December 14, 2013
Evaluate Milgrams research into obedience.

Stanley Milgram (1963) explains why 65% of the people did something they felt was morally wrong, that is they went into an agentic state and exhibited some aspects of denial in order to avoid moral strain. However, Milgram does not explain why 65% did not obey. In other words, it does not explain individual differences as the volunteers in Milgrams experiment seemed to resist the pressure and Milgram does not explain that. To continue, the experiment lacked validity. It did not reflect a real life situation as it is quite unusual to be administering shocks to others if they answered a question incorrectly. The experiment therefore lacked ecological validity which may have lead to demand characteristics. Orne and Holland support this theory by stating that ‘’ in particular, because they were paid, they felt obliged to go along with the situation as they had entered a social contract’’ (Orne and Holland. 1968, p. 78) Milgram (1974) contradicts this statement by demonstrating that 74% of the participants believed they were giving electric shocks, 22.6% had their doubts and 2.4% did not believe the shocks were real. Further evidence supports the view that the situation seemed more valid as the experimenter wore a scientist’s lab coat ensuring that the experiment was real and that he held distinguishable authority alongside with the fact that the experiment was held at Yale University, rendering legitimacy as it is known for its prestige. In terms of reliability, the conditions were controlled, keeping extraneous variables to a minimum. This strengthens internal reliability as all the participants had shared the same set of experiences making it easier to replicate the study henceforth producing the same results. On the other hand, the sampling method was weak....
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