- To test how far an individual will go in obeying an authority.
- To also test the idea that German people are different in obedience
- 40 Males aged 20-40.
- Newspaper advertisement, offered $4.50 pay.
- Yale University, an experiment testing the effect of punishment on learning.
- The participant was the teacher and the confederate a learner.
- The teacher tested the voltage at 45v in the electric shock generator.
- It was a word game based on memory and for every wrong answer the voltage went up by 15v and they were in two separate rooms.
- A painful pre-recorded scream was played through speaker phone.
- At 300v the learner became silent which meant they were unconscious or dead.
- There were verbal prods when the participant objected.
- The experiment stopped when the participant kept objecting or when they reached 450v
- The participant was debriefed at the end.
- 65% administered the shocks to 450v
- 100% administered the shocks to 300v
- Some participants experienced lip biting, trembling, sweating, fits and nervous laughter as a result of their anxiety in doing the experiment.
- It is possible for any individual to go against their moral code and cause harm as a result of obeying an authority figure.
+ Clear controls, cause and effect and replicable due to standardised procedure
+ Reliable as there were variations that shows similar results
+ No bias, same situation
- Unethical as there was deception, no full right to withdraw, no informed consent caused distress (harm)
- Lacks ecological validity as the setting is artificial
Milgram Variations (1963)
- To investigate the reasons for the high level of obedience in a systematic way
1st Variation - Opposed to the victim being remote from the participant, the participant holds the victims hand to receive the shock - 30% administered the shock to 450v
2nd Variation - To see if the presence of two colleagues who refuse to continue will affect the participants decision to continue - 10% administered the shocks to 450v
3rd Variation - Aimed to see if the participants decision to continue would be affected by one experimenter telling them to continue and the other telling them not to - None administered the shocks to 450v
Meeus and Raaijmaker (1986)
- To investigate destructive obedience in an everyday situation of a job interview
- 39 participants both male and female
- 15 in the control group, 24 in the experimental group
- Newspaper advertisement, paid $13
- Conducted in a university
- The participant was required to harass an applicant (confederate) by saying 15 stress remarks, which were displayed on a TV and when to say them, for every wrong answer.
- There were 4 verbal prods if the participant wished to withdraw from the experiment
- The applicants (confederates) responses were scripted and they had to answer 32 multiple choice questions
- They communicated through speaker phones
- The tension was measured through electrodes on the skull
- 22/24 of the experimental group obeyed and said all 15 remarks