Evaluating Research into Obedience

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  • Deception and lack of informed consent
  • The participants were decieved with the true purpose of the experiment. 
  • Many participants left feeling that they had learned 'something of personal importance' from their participation.
  • Right to withdraw?
  • Although being offered $4.50 even if they withdraw, the 'prods' recieved by the experiementer were very decieving and left participants feeling they had to continue.
  • Protection from physical harm
  • Baumrind attacked Milgram's study with the great deal of emotional strain he put on the participants. 
  • Milgram protected himself in several ways, saying prior to the study he was unaware of the high levels of distress. The second way was him asking participants afterwards if they had found the experience distressing, and interviewed them again a year later.  84% felt glad they had participated and 74% felt they had learned something of personal improtance.
  • Darley proposes a chilling effect of participation in Milgram's study... experience of administering shocks may activate a previously dormant aspect of an individual's personality... more motivated to repeat the actions. 
  • Why was Milgram's research subjected to so much hostile criticism?
  • Milgram's findings were so shocking because they challed Western assumptions…


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