Burger (2009) - Replicating Milgram

  • Created by: KarenL78
  • Created on: 23-06-17 21:57

Burger et al (2009) - Replicating Milgram - AIM /

AIM:  Attempt to replicate Milgram's study in an ethically acceptable way and to see if similar results to Milgram's original study could still be found today.  

Does Milgram's study have historical validity?

METHOD: Most of Milgram's procedure was followed but important changes were made as follows:

  • No-one with knowledge of Milgram's study was used.
  • Max. apparent shock was 150v - the level at which the learner first cries out in pain - to protect participants from stress.
  • 2-step screening process was used to exclude participants. No-one with history of mental illness or stress was accepted. This excluded 38% of potential participants.
  • Participants were told 3 times they would withdraw at any time and only received a 15v shock, rather than 45v shock that Milgram's teachers recieved.
  • Experimenter was NOT a confederate but a clinical psychologists who could stop the experiment at any sign of excessive stress.
  • 70 male and female participants were used.
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Burger et al (2009) - Replicating Milgram - FINDIN


  • Obedience rate of 70%, with no difference between male and female rates.
  • Another condition, where a second defiant confederate teacher was introduced, failed to reduce obedience significantly, UNLIKE in Milgram's findings.


  • Possible to replicate Milgram's study in a fashion non-harmful to participants.
  • Obedience rates have not changed dramatically in the 50 years since Milgram's study.


  • Technique allows obedience research to be conducted that has not been possible for decades.
  • Efforts to improve ethics are uncertain in their effectiveness and pose impractical demands.
  • Different procedures used by Milgram and Burger do not allow a clear comparison of results.
  • Highlights the difficulties of extending research on destructive obedience within contemporary ethical guidelines.
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