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Describe one variation by Milgram of his original study.
In Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View (1974), Milgram describes 19 variations of his
experiment, some of which had not been previously reported.
Several experiments varied the immediacy of the teacher and learner. Generally, when the victim's
physical immediacy was increased, the participant's compliance decreased. The participant's
compliance also decreased when the authority's physical immediacy decreased (Experiments 14).
For example, in Experiment 2, where participants received telephonic instructions from the
experimenter, compliance decreased to 21 percent. Interestingly, some participants deceived the
experimenter by pretending to continue the experiment. In the variation where the "learner's"
physical immediacy was closest, where participants had to physically hold the "learner's" arm onto a
shock plate, compliance decreased. Under that condition, 30 percent of participants completed the
In Experiment 8, women were the participants previously, all participants had been men. Obedience
did not significantly differ, though the women communicated experiencing higher levels of stress.
Experiment 10 took place in a modest office in Bridgeport, Connecticut, purporting to be the
commercial entity "Research Associates of Bridgeport" without apparent connection to Yale
University, to eliminate the university's prestige as a possible factor influencing the participants'
behavior. In those conditions, obedience dropped to 47.5 percent, though the difference was not
Milgram also combined the effect of authority with that of conformity. In those experiments, the
participant was joined by one or two additional "teachers" (also actors, like the "learner"). The
behavior of the participants' peers strongly affected the results. In Experiment 17, when two
additional teachers refused to comply, only 4 of 40 participants continued in the experiment. In
Experiment 18, the participant performed a subsidiary task (reading the questions via microphone or
recording the learner's answers) with another "teacher" who complied fully. In that variation, 37 of
40 continued with the experiment.