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Before he did the experiment he asked psychiatrists, college
students and colleagues to predict the results. They predicted
that nearly all participants would refuse to obey, a very few would
go beyond 150 volts, and only 4% to reach 300 volts. Only about
1 in 1000 were expected to go to 4000 volts.
Actual results prove that 65% of participants continued to 450
volts, all participants went to 300 volts, and only 5 (12.5%)
stopped at 300.
Ordinary people are astonishingly obedient to authority, even when
asked to behave in an inhumane manner.
It is not evil people who commit atrocities but ordinary people
who are just obeying orders.
Many crimes against humanity may be the outcome of situational
rather than dispositional factors.
An individual's capacity for making independent decisions is
suspended when they find themselves in a subordinate position
within a powerful social hierarchy.
In Milgram's study there are 3 conclusions about obedience to be
1. If the participant and the learner are in the same room the
obedience rate drops as the participant can experience the learners
anguish more directly.
2. When the experimenter sat just a few feet away from the
participant, the participant felt they were always being watched and
when the experimenter was not in the room they didn't fell as obliged
to follow the experimenter's instructions.
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When paired with allies, participants had used the defiance of
their peers as an opportunity to extricate themselves from causing
further harm to the victim.
Three studies of obedience:
1. Hofling (1966) Conducted a study in a hospital. Nurses were
telephoned by a `Dr Smith' who asked that they give 20mg of a
drug called Astroten to a patient.…read more
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Post experimental interviews proved that, during the study, the
vast majority had believed they were giving real shocks and that
the victim's distress was likewise real.
Right to Withdraw:
The prods form the experimenter made giving the participant
the right to withdraw when they wanted to very difficult for
some participants who felt they had no choice about continuing.
Milgram claimed that participants knew they were free to leave
at any time, as demonstrated by the fact that some participant
did leave.…read more