Obedience: Milgram's Research

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  • Milgram's Shock Study
    • PROCEDURE - 40 male volunteers, aged 20-50 were paid to take part. the pts had to give another 'pts' a shock increasing in severity each time they got an answer wrong (15V-450V deadly). they could hear noises and screams from the 'pts' next door. when asking to leave, the experimenter proded them: "the experiment requires that you continue".
    • FINDINGS -  all pts reached 300V, 12.5% stopped at 300V, 65% continued to 450V. pts were seen to be distressed "sweat, tremble, stutter" and 3 had seizures
    • Low internal validity
      • Orne & Holland (1968) argued that pts behaved the way they did because they didnt believe the setup, shocks were't real, Milgram wasn't testing for what he told them, etc... Perry (2013) listened to Milgram's tapes and found  many pts discuss their doubts about the shocks. Sheridan & King (1972) conducted a study where real shocks were given to a puppy, 54% males gave fatal shock, 100% females gave fatal shock. Milgram reported 70% pts thinking shocks were genuine.
    • Good external validity
      • Although the study was conducted in a lab, the relationship between experimenter and pts accurately reflected wider relationships in real life. Hoffling (1966) conducted a study with nurses, he found that 21/22 nurses would give a fatal does to a patient under doctors orders.
    • Supporting replication
      • A French replication of this study where pts believed they were giving shocks on a game show found that 80% of pts gave the maximum 460V shock to an unconsious man. Their behaviour was almost identical to those in Milgram's, nervous laughter, symptoms of anxiety.


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