Background: Milgram’s study can be seen as an attempt to test ‘the Germans are different’ hypothesis.The Germans are different hypothesis stated that German’s have a basic character deficit which means they have a readiness to obey people in authority regardless of the act they are being asked to carryout. The Germans are different hypothesis is an example of a dispositional attribution as it is arguing that the cause of behaviour is believed to result from the persons own personality or characteristics. However, Milgram set out to question this dispositional attribution of the Germans. He believed that the situation had led to the inhumane behaviour of the Nazis and therefore that anybody in the same situation as those committing such atrocities would have done the same in the same circumstances. Milgram argued that people would commit atrocities if required to do so by an authority figure. This argument is an example of a situational attribution as it is arguing that the behaviour resulted from the situation a person was in.
M&P: While it can be considered an experiment, there aren't any control conditions (i.e. all participants took part in the same experimental procedure). Therefore, it is more accurate to describe the method as a controlled observational study. The participants consisted of 40 males aged between 20 and 50 years of age who were recruited by a newspaper and direct mail advertisement which asked for volunteers to participate in a study of memory and learning at Yale University. Each participant turned up to the laboratory alone and was asked to draw a slip of paper from a hat to determine which role he would play. The draw was rigged so the participant was always the teacher and Mr. Wallace (the confederate) was always the learner.