Milgram placed an advert in a newspaper, allowing people to come forward, making it a volunteer sample. From this, he selected 40 males, aged between 20-50 who were all of different jobs and education level.
The study took place in a laboratory setting at Yale University. When the participants arrived they were greeted by the experiment, a 'stern' looking man in a grey technician's coat. Another participant was also there, a likeable man who was trained for the role (a confederate.)
The participants were told the 'cover story', that the experiment was to find out the effect of punishment on learning. The participant and confederate were asked if they had a preference of whether they wanted to be the teacher or learner. They selected a slip of paper from a hat, which would determine their role. However, it was in fact rigged as both pieces of paper read 'teacher', so the participant would always end up in this role. Both were then taken to a room and the learner was strapped to an electric chair apparatus.
The experimenter explained that…