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Stanley Milgram A lesson in obeying. How far do you think people will go in the name of obedience?

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Presentation on theme: "Stanley Milgram A lesson in obeying. How far do you think people will go in the name of obedience?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Stanley Milgram A lesson in obeying

2 How far do you think people will go in the name of obedience?

3 Where we're at.... We have previously discussed Zimbardo’s prison experiment on status and power which now leads onto obedience. We have previously discussed Zimbardo’s prison experiment on status and power which now leads onto obedience. Milgram’s work on obedience in1963 extended from Solomon Asch’s line experiment in 1956 on conformity (which we will discuss next Thursday) Milgram’s work on obedience in1963 extended from Solomon Asch’s line experiment in 1956 on conformity (which we will discuss next Thursday) Milgram was one of Asch’s critics so due to this and other personal reasons regarding the Nazis he conducted further research in the area. Milgram was one of Asch’s critics so due to this and other personal reasons regarding the Nazis he conducted further research in the area. Who has heard of Milgram’s experiments? Who has heard of Milgram’s experiments?

4 Are Germans different? In the beginning, Stanley Milgram was worried about the Nazi problem. In the beginning, Stanley Milgram was worried about the Nazi problem. His research aim was to provide evidence for the “Germans are different” hypothesis His research aim was to provide evidence for the “Germans are different” hypothesis Stanley Milgram was a social psychologist at Yale University in Stanley Milgram was a social psychologist at Yale University in 1960.

5 “Germans are different” hypothesis The hypothesis has been used by historians to explain the systematic destruction of the Jews The hypothesis has been used by historians to explain the systematic destruction of the Jews Milgram set out to test whether Germans have a basic character flaw Milgram set out to test whether Germans have a basic character flaw A readiness to obey authority without question, no matter what outrageous acts the authority commands. A readiness to obey authority without question, no matter what outrageous acts the authority commands.

6 Milgram developed a laboratory experiment which provided a systematic way to measure obedience. Milgram developed a laboratory experiment which provided a systematic way to measure obedience. His decision to study obedience was tempered by his own Jewish cultural background. His decision to study obedience was tempered by his own Jewish cultural background. His plan was to test the hypothesis on the population of New Haven on Americans and then go to Germany and test the German population. His plan was to test the hypothesis on the population of New Haven on Americans and then go to Germany and test the German population.

7 Milgram’s experimental design Milgram recruited participants using a newspaper advert (he did 17 experiments using 40 males between and 1 experiment using 40 females between 20-50) Milgram recruited participants using a newspaper advert (he did 17 experiments using 40 males between and 1 experiment using 40 females between 20-50) The participants arrived at The Yale Interaction Laboratory and were met by the “professor”, Jack Williams, a man dressed in a white laboratory coat. The participants arrived at The Yale Interaction Laboratory and were met by the “professor”, Jack Williams, a man dressed in a white laboratory coat.

8 The participants met another man who was in his 50s. The participants met another man who was in his 50s. The experimenter ‘professor’ explains the experiment to both of them participants: The experimenter ‘professor’ explains the experiment to both of them participants: “It is about learning. Science does not know much about negative reinforcement on learning. Negative reinforcement is getting punished when you get something wrong. In this case, it will be an electric shock.” “It is about learning. Science does not know much about negative reinforcement on learning. Negative reinforcement is getting punished when you get something wrong. In this case, it will be an electric shock.”

9 Milgram’s Obedience research

10 Milgram’s experimental design The experimenter takes two pieces of paper and places them in a hat. The two pieces of paper say “Teacher” and “Learner”. The experimenter takes two pieces of paper and places them in a hat. The two pieces of paper say “Teacher” and “Learner”. You and the man in his 50’s reach in to find out what your role is You and the man in his 50’s reach in to find out what your role is You look at yours, it says “Teacher”. You look at yours, it says “Teacher”. The man then becomes the “Learner”. The man then becomes the “Learner”.

11 The experimenter says to the learner whilst you are standing next to him: The experimenter says to the learner whilst you are standing next to him: “I want you to step right in here and take a seat, please…. Roll up your right sleeve, please. “I want you to step right in here and take a seat, please…. Roll up your right sleeve, please. Now what I want you to do is strap down your arms to avoid excessive movement on your part during the experiment. Now what I want you to do is strap down your arms to avoid excessive movement on your part during the experiment. This electrode is connected to the shock generator in the next room.” This electrode is connected to the shock generator in the next room.”

12 Milgram’s experimental set-up

13 Milgram’s Experimental Design Once set up, the teacher is required to read out a list of words and their pairs. The teacher is then told to read out words and the learner was told to provide the word pair. If the learner gave the wrong answer, the teacher would administer an electric shock. In this way the study was apparently investigating the effect of punishment on memory. Once set up, the teacher is required to read out a list of words and their pairs. The teacher is then told to read out words and the learner was told to provide the word pair. If the learner gave the wrong answer, the teacher would administer an electric shock. In this way the study was apparently investigating the effect of punishment on memory. Each time the learner made a mistake, the teacher had to increase the strength of the electric shock. The experimenter sat in the room with the teacher encouraging the teacher to administer the shocks even after the learner cried out in pain and complained of a bad heart. Each time the learner made a mistake, the teacher had to increase the strength of the electric shock. The experimenter sat in the room with the teacher encouraging the teacher to administer the shocks even after the learner cried out in pain and complained of a bad heart.

14 The Shock Generator (from 15volts to 450volts)

15 Would Milgram’s participants obey? What percentage of participants do you believe would obey? What percentage of participants do you believe would obey? At what voltage would you obey? At what voltage would you obey?

16 Milgram’s result 65% of Milgram’s participants delivered the full (and fatal) 450 volt shock. (fill in the next two questions on your sheet) 65% of Milgram’s participants delivered the full (and fatal) 450 volt shock. (fill in the next two questions on your sheet) Even though the learner gave out an agonised scream at 285 volts, a refusal to answer at 315 volts and only ominous silence after that. Even though the learner gave out an agonised scream at 285 volts, a refusal to answer at 315 volts and only ominous silence after that. The learner (50 year old man) in the study was a confederate and no real shocks were given in the experiment except for the 45v example shock given to the teacher The learner (50 year old man) in the study was a confederate and no real shocks were given in the experiment except for the 45v example shock given to the teacher So why did the participants obey? Most participants (teachers) groaned, protested, fidgeted, argued and in some cases, were seized by fits of nerves. Many looked to the experimenter for guidance but he would only reply with: “You have no option, you must go on”. So why did the participants obey? Most participants (teachers) groaned, protested, fidgeted, argued and in some cases, were seized by fits of nerves. Many looked to the experimenter for guidance but he would only reply with: “You have no option, you must go on”.

17 Killing in the name of…. Gas ovens at Auschwitz (6 million Jews) Rwandan genocide Vietcong deaths

18 WHY?

19 Were the Germans different? The answer is “No”. The answer is “No”. Milgram’s experimental results in 1963 provide evidence that atrocities can happen ANYWHERE. Milgram’s experimental results in 1963 provide evidence that atrocities can happen ANYWHERE.

20 What can we learn?


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