Milgram Essay

Topics: Stanford prison experiment, Milgram experiment, Psychology Pages: 5 (1729 words) Published: November 5, 2012
Numerous of unethical experiments over time caused many mental and physical trauma towards countless of people who were basically treated like guinea pigs. The article, “Patients were Guinea Pigs, Analysis Finds,” showed an experiment of how the human body will react if radioactive dye was injected in them. This shows how far people are willing to go to search for knowledge that will harm others. The article states, “Patients are not always fully informed that they are guinea pigs in medical research studies authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.” Innocent people are used and suffer in experiments just so society can obtain information in an unethical way just like Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiment. Even though Milgram's experiment exemplifies people's unwillingness to confront those who abuse authority, he does it in a corrupt way by lying and harming others. Some people believe Milgram’s experiment to be just. People who are against the experiment argue that the experiment is unethical for different reasons. Stanley Milgram’s experiment is one of the most classic, yet controversial experiment in the world. Milgram wanted to demonstrate that ordinary people can be influenced to perpetrate pain in a situation where they are instructed to obey an authority figure. Therefore, Milgram tried to prove the willingness of people to obey an authority figure who instructed the participants to perform a sequence of doings which conflicted destruction on others and would have an influence on their own personal morality. Milgram’s started off by posting newspaper ads to recruit forty men. In exchange for their participation, each person was paid $4.00. Milgram generated an intimidating shock generator, with shock levels starting at thirty volts and increasing in fifteen-volt increments all the way up to 450 volts. Each participant took the role of a "teacher" who would then deliver a shock to the "student" every time an incorrect answer was said. While the participant assumed that he was distributing physical shocks to the student, the student was actually a confederate in the experiment who was merely acting to be shocked. As the experiment proceeded, the participant would hear the learner begged to be unconstrained or even complain about a heart condition. Beyond this point, the learner became utterly strained and refused to answer any more questions. The experimenter then demanded the participant to continue with the experiment. Milgram’s results showed that some teachers refused to continue with the shocks early on, regardless of commanding from the experimenter. This is the type of response Milgram expected as the norm, but Milgram was surprised to find those who questioned authority were in the minority. Sixty-five percent of the teachers were willing to progress to the maximum voltage level.

People support Milgram’s experiment because we learn something important from his experiment. Milgram’s experiment showed that people are more prone to obey the presence of an authority figure. Milgram stated, “Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.”3 Hearing the “learners” shriek, the subjects continued with the experiment because they were told to continue. Feeling agitated and stressed, the subjects obeyed the experimenter because they are the authorities. Although the subjects obeyed, the subjects were put in a lot of pressure. Another important aspect that we learn is that “without obedience to a relevant ruling authority there could not be a civil society.” Meyer says, “The value of having civil order is that one can do his duty, or whatever interests him, or whatever seems to benefit him at the moment, and leave the agonizing to others.” 2 Even though participants seem to accept the response and continued...
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