Presentation on theme: "The Stanley Milgram Experiment"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Stanley Milgram Experiment Obedience and Individual Responsibility
2 Trial of Adolf Eichmann The first televised courtroom trial in the history of television happened in 1961, when a Jerusalem court tried Nazi SS Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann for crimes against the Jewish people. Eichmann was the head of Gestapo Department IV B4, and the mastermind behind deporting Jews into ghettoes and then into concentration camps. The direction of this self-proclaimed "Jewish Specialist" was largely responsible for the death of six million Jews. The world attentively watched their tubes, trying to anticipate what Eichmann would be like. We expected a monster, an infinitude of hatred, perhaps the devil incarnate.
3 The Banality (meaning predictability) of Evil After observing the trial, Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt argued in her controversial essay "The Banality of Evil" that Adolf Eichmann was just an ordinary guy. “Eichmann is you and me. There was nothing strikingly evil about him”. Eichmann's defense, like that of other Nazis, was that he was "just following orders.” Furthermore, Eichmann said that he actually had no real ill will toward Jews. In any case, Arendt was ostracized by the Jewish community for the rest of her life. Eichmann was hanged and cremated. His ashes were then peppered across the Mediterranean Sea.
4 Milgram’s InfluenceThe Milgram experiment may be the most famous experiment in psychology to date. It was conducted in 1962, shortly after Eichmann's trial. The world still needed an explanation for Nazi behavior.How could this have happened? Were these Nazis a different kind of human, with no thresholds of violence?Milgram showed that this was not so. Take the average American, put him in the right environment, and he will transform into a slaughterous Nazi.
5 Milgram’s Background and Purpose Stanley Milgram was born in 1933 to a Jewish familyHe earned a degree in Psychology at HarvardHe wanted badly to make his mark in the field of psychologyStanley Milgram became a psychologist at Yale University where he conducted a study focusing on the conflict between obedience to authority and personal conscience (morality).He examined justifications for acts of genocide offered by those accused at the World War II, Nuremberg War Criminal trials. Their defense often was based on "obedience" - - that they were just following orders of their superiors.
7 The Experiment3 rolesSubject (person being experimented on) = “teacher”“learner” and “experimenter” colleagues planted to act their rolesLearner hooked to “electric box”Learner expresses concern over heart conditionTeacher sat in another room at a desk with a series of switchesLabeled from 15 volts to 450 volts
8 The Experiment (continued) Teacher told to read a series of word pairs to the learner and then to read back the first word of a pairEach time the learner got the second word wrong the teacher was told to activate the voltage switchTeacher unaware that voltage switch was not hooked upEach time the learner got a word wrong the teacher was told to increase the voltage
9 The Experiment (continued) After a time the learner begins to scream in pain and ask for the experiment to be stoppedThe experimenter told the teacher to ignore these outburstsThe experiment ended when either the teacher refused to continue or pressed the 450 volt switch
10 Experimental ResultsMilgram asked his colleagues this question, and they responded with very small estimates. Maybe about 4 percent. Milgram himself didn't believe anyone would go so far.Milgram's results were alarming. Of the 40 participants he surveyed, % of them ended up delivering the full 450 volt treatment.
11 Watch the video Individual conformity to group behaviour Experiment was brilliant, but unethicalQuestion of Morality: Tricked participants into thinking the experiment studied the impact of punishment on learning
12 The Milgram Experiment Film Film depicting the Milgram Experiment and the HolocaustWarning: Graphic scenes
13 Factors that Caused People to be Obedient Milgram’s theory of obedience
14 situationismIn the right situation, many people may behave in a way they otherwise would not. Our behavior may depend on the situation we find ourselves in.The moral of Milgram's experiment is that behavior is a function of the situation. People are not innately evil, but in the right circumstances, it is difficult to stand up against authority.
15 Entrapment / Gradual Commitment It can be easier to have people complete a large or difficult task if they first commit to gradual smaller tasks. Once they fulfil some smaller tasks, they may feel obligated to continue even when they don’t want to.“If I just gave him a 50 volt shock, what's wrong with a 75 volt shock? It's only a little more. If I just gave him a 75 volt shock, what's wrong with a 100 volt shock? It's only a little more ... If I just gave him a 425 volt shock, what's wrong with a 450 volt shock?”The subjects were recruited and were being paid to compete the study and therefore they must continue
16 ObjectivityPeople are likely to obey to a situation even when they may not agree if they perceive, or are convinced, that the scenario will produce something worthwhile (the end justifies the means).Milgram told participants that the "learning" experiment was being conducted in the pursuit of science, to study how memory and learning processes work in humans.The scientific theme, combined with the prestige of Yale University and the influence of Milgram's lab coat, suggested that participants calmly and objectively complete the study regardless of how the victim was suffering.
17 Authority StructuresWhen someone is seen a an authority figure and in charge or responsible for the situation, people are likely to obey their orders. They often show that they are in charge by knowing about what is going on, they have an education, or they take power by threatening others.Authority structures strip away moral responsibility.Milgram played the authority figure. It was his experiment. Participants thus believed that any negative ramifications of the experiment would ultimately be blamed on Milgram and not themselves because of his authority.Furthermore, Milgram was a scientist at Yale. So participants assumed that he probably knew what he was doing, and everything was going to be alright.
18 Current Day Case Study: McDonald’s Strip Search Case using Milgram’s Obedience TheoryWarning: Graphic Content