Milgram Experiment

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The Milgram Study is one of the most controversial of psychology experiments. Stanley Milgram, a social psychologist at Yale University, desired to test the obedience to authority. The experiment was setup with “teachers” who were the actual participants and a “learner”. Both the teacher and the learner were told that the study was about memory and learning. The Milgram study was conducted in 1961-1962. It shocked and fascinated the scientific community all over the world with not only by its disturbing findings, but also with its questionable and unethical experimental methods. The aim of the experiment was to place an individual in a situation in which they would be forced to choose either to obey or disobey the commands given by an authoritative…show more content…
The research strategy called for participants to give increasing voltage of electric shocks when a wrong answer was given to their question, ranging from 15 volts to 450 volts, with warnings such as ‘Danger severe shock’. As the experiment continued the voltages increased, and the subjects began to show signs of being highly distressed and disturbed. Milgram noted, “Persons were observed to sweat, wobble, stutter, bite their lips, and groan as they found themselves increasingly compromise in the experimental dispute.” (Milgram, 1965, cited in Public and Private Conformity). These actions describe how intense the participants were distressed. The participants themselves were concerned with the ethical issues of the study. Milgram reported the occasion where subjects became spellbind in the technical machinery, possibly seeing themselves as technicians so as to surrender management of ethical constraints to the experimenter itself (Milgram, Obedience to Authority, 1974). Milgram designated this as ‘agentic state’ and reported that the participants stop seeing themselves as liable and saw themselves as an agent for another, i.e. the experimenter with respect to the study. Milgram also found that the subjects come to view the experiment as an entity unto itself, divorced from human control and he termed it as…show more content…
The fact that they were causing someone pain was extremely embarrassing to the participants to the extreme that they went to heights of avoidance to look at the consequences of what they had done, despite of the fact they got electric shocks.
All these factors collaborate to make the study unethical in some views; as such ardent distress cannot be forgotten or fade off just by merely being told that the entire study was a deception. After the experiment was concluded, there was a compromise made between the teacher and learner to prove no iniquity was done and a debriefing from the experimenter, to help participants to know what the study was actually about. There was no sufficient psychological support or evidence for any enduring effects that may have been rooted by the experiment, which counts against the study as the participant’s long-term sanity
Though many find the use of electrical shocks to be obnoxious, electric shocks are not a new concept to many psychological experiments. It is widely convinced that certain levels of ‘pain with no harm’ are a small price to pay for scientific knowledge and new discoveries. Thus, Milgram adjudged that participants emotional distress as ‘necessary pain’, stating it as an unanticipated by-product of the scientific
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