Milgram (1963) obedience

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  • 40 ordinary male Americans volunteer.
  • Conducted in the prestigious Yale University
  • Participants took on the role of the teacher. Conferates took on the role of the learner,
  • The teacher read out a list of words and the learner, 'Mr. Wallace', had to repeat the list back.
  • Everytime a mistake was made the teacher administered an electric shock, increasing the voltage each time, Starting at 15v (Slight shock) and finishing at 450v (Deadly shock).
  • When a participant started to disobey the present experimenter would give a prod. For example, 'The experiment requires that you continue'. 


  • 65% of participants went all the way to the 450v shock.


+ve, The experiment was conducted in a highly controlled environment and Milgram standarised the procedure. This makes this is a replicable, hence reliable, study.

-ve,Orne et al criticised the internal validity of this experiment. They argued that participants were not real deceived. This would suggest possible demand characteristics and outcomes would be subject to the 'please you screw you effect'. However, Milgram claims that 75% of his sanple reported that they real thought that they were causing harm.

-ve, Ecological validity and mundane realism. In WWII soldiers were punished for not obeying whereas the participants…


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