This essay is occupied with analyzing whether the agentic state theory developed by Professor Stanley Milgram is a valid explanation for the behaviour of participants in obedience experiments. It starts with defining and describing the abovementioned theory and continues with providing academic research evidence, in order to illustrate the arguments for and against the statement presented above. The essay ends by providing the key conclusions drawn from the analysis, while also attempting to give an answer to whether Milgram’s agentic state theory could indeed be characterized as valid in explaining the behaviour of participants in obedience experiments.
His experiment was used to demonstrate how people respond to orders from people with authority no matter what the order was. He started by having participants test another “participant”, who actually was one of Milgram’s men who knew what was going on. Each time the fake participant chose the wrong answer, the real participant had to shock them with a higher voltage until they got to one that would be deadly. Milgram changed parts of the experiment to find variables that changed how far the real participant would go. He noticed that location and experimenter’s dress apparel changes how likely it is that the real participant would go to the deadly voltage. He saw that the more personal, or close, the real participant had to be to the fake one, while they were being shocked, affected the obedience as well. He also noticed that if there were two other fake participants teaching that refused to shock their learners that the real participant would not comply. Finally, he tested the experimenter telling the real patient to shock the learner by telephone, instead of actually being there in person, reduced obedience as well (McLead).
Speaking of one of the most renowned psychological experiment, which even replications on TV are done, is the Milgram experiment, on obedience to authority figures. It involves the measurement of how much participants will to obey the authority, in order to explain the reason why soldiers obeyed to allow the Holocaust, the homicides of millions of Jews, happened. With the participants’ roles as a teacher to punish a learner by incrementing degrees of electric shocks, though they didn’t know it’s staged, 65% of them did it to the last under the horrendous moans and the commands of the experimenters, which surpassed the expectation of 1.2%. Milgram himself elaborated two theories, encompassing theory of
In the book “Opening Skinner’s Box”, Lauren Slater discusses many complicated ideas relating to certain experiments of recent times. In every chapter, she focuses on one specific experiment and poses many controversial thoughts. One of the chapters I found most interesting was the second chapter titled “Obscura”. In it she walks readers through the experiments of Stanley Milgram and questions the purpose, results, usefulness, and morality of the experiments.
The author begins by describing obedience in relation to social life and how it is often framed in history and literature. For example, Plato is thought to have grappled with the age old question of whether one should obey even if it does not comply with your conscience. This line of thinking is precisely what Milgram was observing in her experiments. Milgram conducted an experiment in which she tested the limits of how much pain an ordinary person can inflict on another person after being ordered to by an
The researcher found that twenty-four out of the forty subjects completed finished the experiment. This is completely against what was expected. The location of the victim and experimenter did make a difference in each circumstance. Americans are not naturally less likely to obey something that they no is wrong. The amount of obedience was highly underestimated. The subjects endured both emotional strain and tension, which was unexpected.
Milgram conducted an experiment in the year 1961 to study the struggle between obedience behaviour and conscience of a person. Based on his study, he wanted to analyse whether obedience to an authority can be destructive in a laboratory experiment.
There had been experimentation on obedience but none had been done like Milgram’s. The experimenter warns, “In this experiment, one of you will be the learner and receive shocks when you make a mistake in word pairs read to you, and the other one will be the teacher and administer the shocks when the word pair repetition is wrong.” (Slater 33). He wanted to see if people would shock a person continuously because someone had told them to. Milgram wanted to know how far people would go. His experiment was all a hoax. The shock machine was fake. All he wanted was to know how many people would be obedient and how many would be defiant. Much to Milgram’s surprise sixty-five percent of people did what were told of them, and only thirty-five percent were
Usually, people follow given orders from authority. Authority can be a work boss, parents, teachers, etc. We are taught to follow orders at a young age so we won’t have issues with obedience in the future. The Milgram Experiment was basically testing how far someone could commit to their obedience before it became too much.
In 1963, Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram conducted a controversial, but highly revered, study on obedience. The experiment was designed to test people’s morals versus an extreme authority, but, as predicted, obedience prevailed. Then in 1973, Philip G. Zimbardo created his own experiment, not unlike Milgram’s, that analyzed the potential of individuals to withstand the pressure of succumbing to an obedient role based on the environment. Both Stanley Milgram, author of “The Perils of Obedience,” and Philip Zimbardo, author of “The Stanford Prison Experiment,” conducted these experiments to show how an ordinary person’s obedience could be affected based off of the situation they are put in.
Milgram’s experiment, that tricks subjects into believing that they have killed someone of their own free will, seems to point to the fact that a situation has the larger effect on how someone acts, than their personality. Slater writes that Milgram agreed with this and that he believed that any normal person could be commanded to do any number of terrible things if put into the right situation (32). An astounding 65 percent of the people put into that said
Despite controversy Milgram’s experiment was ground breaking. It remains relevant today and is frequently cited in demonstrating the perils of obedience.
It showed how normal civilians acted when they were given authority over others. Even the most cordial, intelligent people can take on an evil, machiavellianistic nature when introduced to a dominant role in an individualized setting. This experiment taught psychologists so many things about human behavior and the prison system. It is an event that is taught in classrooms all over the world. While some people question the ethics of the experiment, it paved the way for more understanding as well as the reform of psychological practices
The Milgram experiment was conducted to analyze obedience to authority figures. The experiment was conducted on men from varying ages and varying levels of education. The participants were told that they would be teaching other participants to memorize a pair of words. They believed that this was an experiment that was being conducted to measure the effect that punishment has on learning, because of this they were told they had to electric shock the learner every time that they answered a question wrong. The experiment then sought out to measure with what willingness the participants obeyed the authority figure, even when they were instructed to commit actions which they seemed uncomfortable with.
The Stanley Milgram Experiment is a famous study about obedience in psychology which has been carried out by a Psychologist at the Yale University named, Stanley Milgram. He conducted an experiment focusing on the conflict between obedience to authority and personal conscience. In July 1961 the experiment was started for researching that how long a person can harm another person by obeying an instructor.