Evaluating Milgram

Advantages of Milgram's study

  • Said the deception used was neccesary to get a realistic impression of what people would do in that situation.
  • He did debreif them afterwards and 83.7 % had said they were glad they had been involved, he also did a check a year later and most were still glad they had taken part
  • The psychological and physical stress caused was only temporary and after a little while they calmed down.
  • Debreifed completely, allowed to meet Mr. Wallace, told their actions were completely normal 
  • Allowed to withdraw at any point regardless of the money
  • It was a well documented and standerdised procedure meaning that with some ethical tweaks it could be replicated increasing the reliabity of the study and validity of the findings as this was done by Burger
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Disadvantages of Milgram's study

  • He lied to them and they believed they were shocking the real person they had met prior to the experiment
  • They were exposed to extremely stressful situations causing potential psychological and physical harm as some had a seziure and many showed signs of stress like sweating, digging nails into their palms etc.
  • Although they had the right to withdraw it took three objections before they were allowed to stop meaning although not impossible it was hard.
  • The study was conducted in a lab decreasing the mudane realism of the situation and therefore lowering the ecological validity
  • Orne & Holland (1968) claimed a lack of experimental validity as they said many of the pps knew they were not really shocking a person
  • The sample was biased as it only included men, they could not necessarily be generalised to women
  • All the pps volunteered through newspaper or were directly solicited, meaning they have a more 'voulentering prersonality which may be more obediant than those without it again lowering the generaliability of the results.
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