evaluation of Milgrams study

notes from flanagan on Milgrams experiment

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Evaluation of Milgram's study
Ethical Issues
Deception and lack of informed consent: told them they were testing punishment on
learning. If they told the truth the experiment wouldn't work. The participants didn't
seem to mind, they said they have learned `something of personal importance'
Right to withdraw: its key to be allowed to leave, Milgram's study could be argued
not to be clear that it was allowed. Milgram argues they were allowed from the start.
Proved as some people were allowed to leave. But others argue the `prods' made it
very difficult to leave.
Protection from harm:
Baumrind Milgram
Argues Milgram caused great He argues he didn't know it
emotional stress. Leaving would cause such high levels of
psychological damage that can't distress.
be justified. He asked afterwards if they were
distress and interviewed them a
year later.
84% happy with experiment
74% felt they had learned some
of personal importance.
Milgram study shocked western ideals and showed ordinary people can perform in the same
way as evil people.
Validity issues:
Orne and Holland Milgram
Orne and Holland question the validity of Milgram argues that in
Milgram. Specifically the internal validity. post-experiment interviews the
People distrust experimenters as they know participants though the shocks
the true purpose of an experiment may be were real ad the victim in distress.
disguised. E.g. learner cries in pain, Hofling et al- tested obedience in a more
experimenters calm and distant. Leading to realistic setting.
the assumption the learners not in pain and Nurses were given an order over
then participant will administer full shocks. the phone by `Dr Smith' to give
20mg of astroten to a patient.
(AO2 of Holfling)- Rank and Jacobson did a similar
The order was against several
study, asked nurses to do an irregular study and
use a drug they are familiar with (valium). So nurses regulations : orders over the phone,
then consulted with peers 16 out of 18 refused unknown Dr, dosage twice what
89%. More realistic. said on the bottle

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Dispite this 21 out of 22 95% of
nurses obeyed.
This supports Milgram as it showed
obedience occurs in a real life setting.
Real life contradictions:
Proximity of victims- this is supposed to increase defiance. In Jozefow
massacre, solders were ordered to shoot Jews and only a small amount
Proximity of authority figure: in Jozefoe they were alone face-face with the
victims. So they should've defied but they didn't.…read more


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