preview

Destructive Disobedience

Good Essays
In society, authority and its rules are respected by people in the community through acts of obedience. Authority is not only the government laws, but can also be people with a higher status, such as parents, teachers, or employment managers. As long as people obey those with authoritative power, they will receive rewards, or at least avoid punishment, even when the command requires unjust actions towards another person. For example, Hitler’s propaganda that made the Germans believe that the Jews were the source of their economic problems and scapegoated them in world war two. And years after the Holocaust, some Germans deny their part in the abuse towards the genocide of six million Jews. In other words, people who deny their part in an…show more content…
Because the German-Jew relationship during the Holocaust had interested him, psychologist Stanley Milgram (1963) had conducted an experiment on “destructive obedience”, to determine the conditions where the subject will obey authority and the conditions where they will disobey. In the experiment, the subject is told by the experimenter to give shocks from a scale of low to dangerously high to the person on the electric chair (who was an actor) when they give a wrong answer. The shocks were not real, but prior to the experiment, the subjects were given a small shock to influence them that the shocks in the experiment were true. Surprisingly, Milgram’s experiment resulted with many of the subjects obeying the experimenter, continually increasing the shock level to the “dangerous zone”. There was a noticeable arousal of conflict shown on the subject’s face when the person receiving the shocks displayed discomfort (Milgram S., 1973, p. 63). Despite satisfying the experimenter’s request to commit immoral acts by increasing the shock levels when the receiver was in extreme pain, the subjects felt symptoms of nervousness, such as sweaty palms, and laughing fits, during the
Get Access