Milgram (1963)

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  • MILGRAM (1963)
    • 40 male participants
    • Studied how punishment affects learning
    • Partipant's paid $4.50
    • Participant, 2 confederates, an experiment (authority figure) and an accountant (learner).
    • Partipants had to administer a shock to the 'learner' every time he got a question wrong.
    • Remote condition - the learner, sat in another room, received the shock in silence until the shock reached a level of 300, when they pounded on the wall and didn't answer the next question.
    • The movement at 300 were repeated at 315, after that the 'learner' returned to receiving their shock in silence.
    • If the participant asked to stop the experimenter had a series of 'prods' to get them to continue.
    • Psychiatrists predicted that the majority of participants would stop at around 150 volts and only 4% would continue to 300 volts, and only 1/1000 would reach the full 450 volts.
    • 65% of participants continued to the full 450 volts.
    • Only five participants stopped at 300 volts.
    • All participants reached 300 volts.
    • Ordinary people are capable of committing atrocities if obeying orders.
    • Crimes against humanity may be the result of situational rather than dispotional factors.
    • Proximity of the victim - When the participant and the learner are placed in the same room, obedience rates dropped from 62.5%-40%
    • Proximity of the victim - in one experiment the participant had to force the 'learners' hand onto a shock plate. Obedience dropped to 30%.
    • Proximity of the authority figure - when the experimenter was placed in a separate room only 21% continued to the maximum shock level.
    • Presence of allies - 1 participant and 2 accomplices were given the task of administering shocks to the learner. One read the words, another told the 'learner' whether or not they were correct, and the final (real participant) administered the shock.
    • Increasing the teacher's discretion - when the participants were under control of the severity of the shock, only 1 out of 40 administered the full voltage, and 95% of participants refused to deliver shocks beyond the point where the 'learner' first protested.
    • Cultural differences - Germany has the highest rates of obedience and Australia has the lowest.
    • ID - there are no male-female differences in obedience
    • Baumrind (1964)
      • Claimed Milgram placed participants under great emotional strain.
      • Milgram defended himself in several ways:
        • He was unaware prior to the study that such distress would be caused.
        • He asked participants to immediately afterwards and a year later if they had found the experience distressing. 84% were glad they participated and 74% felt they had gained something from the experience.
    • Ethics - Milgram deceived his participants, by not telling them the true aim of the study.
    • Ethics - Unclear to what extent participants felt they had the right to withdraw.
    • Darley (1992)
      • Suggested that the experience of administering shocks would activate a previously dormant aspects of an individuals personality, enabling them to feel more able to repeat the actions.
    • Lifton (1986)
      • Reported that physicians at the Nazi death camps started out as normal people but became killing machines.
      • Their personalities altered as a result of the activities they were asked to perform.
    • Orne and Holland (1968)
      • Claimed that participants have become accustomed to deception and now know not trust the said purpose of the experiment.
      • However, participant interviews done by Milgram after the experiment contradict these claims because they showed that the majority of participants though they were actually administering real shocks.
    • Hofling (1966)
      • Nurses were telephoned by 'Dr Smith' and asked to give a patient 20mg of Astrogen.
      • This order went against hospital regulations.
      • 21 out of 22 (95%) nurses did as requested.
      • Shows obedience occurs in real life situations.
    • Rank and Jacobson (1975)
      • Asked nurses to carry out an irregular order.
      • 16 our of 18 (89%) refused.
      • On this occassion it was a known drug and the nurses were allowed to consult with peers.
      • More realistic presentation of hospital practices.

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