Milgram's Obedience Experiment

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  • Created by: Ellie
  • Created on: 28-05-13 15:37

Method

  • Recruited 40 male participants by advertising for volunteers to take part in a study of how punishment affects learning
  • 2 confederates, the particpant always played the teacher
  • The confederate purposely gave the wrong answer to the teacher
  • On every false answer given, the participant would be asked to  give an electrical shock. This would increase in voltage each time, with a prerecorded response from the confederate
  • When the participant hesitated to give a shock the experimenter would prompt to continue
  • At 300V the pupil would stop reacting and fall silent

Results

  • All participants went to 300V
  • 65% continued to 450V
  • This suggests that obedience is due to situational factors rather than dispositional factors

Conclusions

Ordinary people are obedient to authority,  even when asked to behave in an inhumane way. When we find ourselves in a subordinate position within a powerful social heirarchy our capacity for making independent decisions is suspended. 

Variations

  • Proximity of the victim - learner is seated in another room away from the teacher, this was the voice feedback study, where obedience was 62.5%. When the teacher

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