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  • Created by: vicky
  • Created on: 26-04-11 11:50

 Milgram’s study.

The aim of Milgram’s (1963) experiment was to investigate what level of obedience would be shown when participants were told by an authority figure to administer electric shocks to another person.

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.

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…


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