Stanley Milgram vs. Diana Baumrind
At very young ages, most of us are taught the importance of being obedient. Many of us may have even been rewarded for obedience and punished for disobedience. For most of us, being obedient creates a sense of accomplishment and pride, but what happens when we are put in a position where obeying a certain order results with violating ones own moral beliefs?
In 1963, Stanley Milgram, a professor of psychology at Yale University, designed and conducted a series of very controversial experiments to test one’s limits of obedience (Milgram 358). Milgram wanted to measure participants’ willingness to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts conflicting with their personal conscience. The results were not only shocking, but they also show how we are living in a society where human obedience is beginning to override human ethics.
Milgram’s basic experimental design was set up so that participants would come to a psychology laboratory to take part in what they believed was a study of memory and learning. One participant was designated as the ‘teacher’ and the other the ‘learner.’ The experimenter explains to the participants that the study is concerned with the effects of punishment on learning (Milgram 360). After watching the “learner” be strapped into a smaller version of an electric chair, the “teacher” is taken into another room to begin the experiment. For each wrong answer that the “learner” gives, the “teacher” is ordered by the experimenter to flip a switch that gives the “learner” an electric shock. The electric shock switches are labeling from “Slight Shock” to “XXX” according to their strength, and each time the “learner” gets an answer wrong, the “teacher” is instructed to increase the electric shock to the next level. The twist in the experiment was that focal point was actually only the “teacher.” There were no electric shocks actually being given...
Cited: Baumrind, Diana. “Review of Stanley Milgram’s Experiments on Obedience.”
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Milgram, Stanley. “The Perils of Obedience.” Writing and Reading Across the
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Miller, Arthur G. The Obedience Experiments: A Case Study of Controversy in Social
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