The Power of Situations

Topics: Stanford prison experiment, Milgram experiment / Pages: 8 (1820 words) / Published: Apr 4th, 2013
Akasha Dykes
November, 27, 2012
Geoffrey McNeil
English 1030
The Power of Situations In any society, obedience and authority is necessary in order to function. Without obedience no individual would be able to follow the rules of the society. Without authority, individuals could not be forced to obey. Authority and obedience may be a necessity, but when is it to much? Is there a point where people should disobey the authority in there society? There have been experiments that relate to the social problems of obedience and authority. The Milgram Experiment, The Good Samaritan Experiment, and The Stanford Prison Experiment are all examples that focus on social problems, situational power, and human nature. A common conclusion among the examples is that a situation has the power to make ordinary people do unthinkable things. The Milgram Experiment was conducted by a Yale University Psychologist, Stanley Milgram, in July, 1961. The experiment was set up like this; The experimenter orders the teacher, who is the subject of the experiment, to give what they believe to be painful electric shocks to a learner. The subject believes that for each wrong answer, the learner is receiving actual electric shocks, though in reality there were no such punishments because the learner is actually an actor in on the experiment. Being separated from the subject, the creators of the experiment set up a tape recorder integrated with the electro-shock generator, which played pre-recorded sounds for each shock level. The subject is instructed to increase shock intensity with each wrong answer from the learner, until the maximum of 450 volts is reached. The results are astounding; almost all of the subjects that participated reached the maximum level of the shock voltage, with only a few that refused to finish the experiment. The results of the Milgram experiment show a darker side of obedience. Society has taught people how to be obedient of authority, but has neglected to teach

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