OCR AS Psychology: Core Studies - Milgram (2)

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  • Created by: Majid
  • Created on: 21-03-13 20:09

Milgram (2)

M&P (Cont.): The teacher (participant) and learner were taken to a room and in full view of the teacher (participant) the learner was strapped into the ‘electric chair’. The experimenter explained to the teacher (participant) that the straps were to prevent excessive movement while the learner was being shocked; the effect was to make it impossible for him to escape the situation. An electrode was attached to the learner’s wrist and electrode paste (cream) was applied ‘to avoid blisters and burns’. The participant (teacher) was told that the electrode was attached to the shock generator in the adjoining room. The participant (teacher) then heard the experimenter tell the learner ‘although the shocks can be extremely painful, they cause no permanent tissue damage’. Milgram created a phoney ‘shock generator’ which in the 1960s looked very impressive and realistic. The phoney shock generator had 30 switches marked clearly in 15 volt increments from 15 to 450 volts. The participant (teacher) was then seated in an adjacent room in front of the shock generator and asked to read a series of word pairs to the learner. The learner was asked to learn (memorise) these pairs. The participant (teacher) then tested the learner by giving him one of the words in a pair along with four other words. The learner had to indicate which of the four words had originally been paired with the first word. The learner’s answer was communicated by pressing one of four switches which illuminated a light on top of the shock generator. If the answer was correct the participant (teacher) had to move onto the next word on the list, if the answer was wrong the participant had to tell the learner the correct answer and then the level of punishment that they were going to give them. They would then press the first switch on the shock generator (15 volts). For every subsequent incorrect answer the participant was required to move one switch up the scale of shocks (15 volts higher than the voltage of the last shock delivered).

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