MILGRAM AIMS & CONTEXT
aimed to investigate how willing people would be to obey an authority figure when asked to inflict pain on another.
some germans that took part in the atrocities of WW2 were put on trial and said they only committed the cruel crimes because they were obeying orders, Milgram was concerned that such atrocities could be committed anywhere due to obedience to authority figures.
- participants were decieved into thinking the research was about memory and learning, whereas it was really obedience.
- lots were drawn to assign participants to be either a teacher or a learner, but it was rigged so that the real participant was always the teacher.
- 'Mr Wallace' (confederate) was strapped into a chair with electrodes attached to his wrists, the participant was instructed to give Mr Wallace an electirc shock for every wrong answer.
- there were 30 switches on the shock generator marked 15v-450v, the shock would increase 15v everytime the wrong answer was given.
- as the shocks were given Mr Wallace showed his discomfort by calling out, most responses were pre-recorded for the same volts so each time it was the same.
MILGRAM FINDINGS & CONCLUSIONS
- 300v - all participants continued to this point, but 5 (12.5%) of the participants refused to go on
- 450v - 26 (65%) went all the way. so 35% defied the authority at some point.
- signs of extreme tension-patients 'sweat,tremble,stutter,bite lips, groan, dig nails into flesh' 14 displayed nervous laughter and smiling, 3 had uncontrollable seziures, 1 experiment was stop
- obedience is due more to situational facotrs, shows that German people were'nt different and normal people would do the same.
- experimenter trustworthyness (thought milgram knew what he was doing)
- felt pressured as he had volunteered to take part
- in that situation alone, didnt have chance to discuss with anyone else
DESIGN- lab experiment
ETHICS- Baumrind(1964) claimed that he caused psychological harm to his participants that couldnt be justified. Milgram defended him self 1. didnt realise the distress that would be caused 2. stopping experiment wasn't necessary 3. 84% were glad to have participated 4. benefits outweigh costs. ..uninformed consent, deception.
RELIABILITY- easily replicated - controlled lab experiment .. Burger (2009)
VALIDITY- Ome and Holland(1968) clamied it lacked experimental validity as participants didnt believe shocks were real, behaved due to demand charcteristics aswell as payment. Milgram defended this with the questionnare results of 75% thought they were real, 22.6% had doubts, 2.4% believed they were not real.
SAMPLE- 40 paid male volunteers, from a newspaper article.
MILGRAM ALTERNATIVE EVIDENCE
HOFLING ET AL (1966)
- conducted in a real hospital, participant was one nurse working on a night shift.
- phonecall from unnown doctor to administer 20 mg of Astroten to a patient (disobeying rules)
- 21/22 started to give medication
PROVING ECOLOGICAL VALIDITY FOR MILGRAM
RANK AND JACOBSON (1977)
- replicated proceudre but with common drug Valium at 3x the dosage
- caller gave the real name of a doctor and nurse could speak to other staff before gave drug
- only 11% obeyed
CONTRADICTS BUT SUPPORTS SITUATIONAL FACTORS
MILGRAM STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
STRENGTHS OF THE STUDY
- highly controlled, therefore reliable and reblicable
- internal reliability
- some validity
WEAKNESSES OF THE STUDY
- lacks ecological validity
- lacks realism
- ethical issues