Milgram's Obedience Experiments

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For decades people have been asking how could small masses of people be able to carry out genocides against a whole race, in particular the Holocaust. In social psychology the study known as today as the Milgrams Obedience experiments are said to answer some of the questions people have regarding the Holocaust. The study showed that when participants were presented with the choice to continue shocking other participants, until the point of 450 volts two- thirds of the participants actually did. Researchers consider this experiment to be a small scale representation of the Holocaust and why it was possible to get civilians to kill off the Jews. However there are opposing views; the controversy is how well this study answers our questions; are …show more content…

They suggest that the participants who did not carry out the shocks to 450 volts were people who had good morals to begin with (Miale and Selver, 2005). While the participants with good intentions and morals were a minority, it is still an indicator that not all the participants can be classified as equal. Many of the reasons Milgram provides for the obedient participants can be changed to make more sense of why mass killings happen. Could it be possible that the obedient participants in Milgrams study and the people responsible for the Holocaust were actually aggressive and twisted people from the start? Milgram’s experiment gave them a perfect opportunity to express their violent behavior as well as the Holocaust (Miale and Selver, 2005). These two events let people act violently without judgement because after all they did not orchestrate the whole thing. Another important fact that supports this theory, is that participants administrated higher shock voltage when an experimenter was in the room. The obedient participants felt like the experimenter wanted them to act upon their already present violent thoughts (Miale and Selver, 2005). In the experiment, when an experimenter was not in the room participants administrated lower voltage shocks because they did not feel as confident to express their aggressive behaviors. So the counter argument here is not that normal people will be evil if put in an evil situation, but that evil people will express themselves freely in an evil

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