Stanley Milgram's The Man Who Shocked The World

1012 Words5 Pages
In 1963, Stanley Milgram, a social psychologist and professor at Yale, Harvard and City University of New York, published in the scholarly periodical Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. The study consisted of forty male subjects who were tasked with shocking an individual each time they got a wrong answer and the study was designed to observe obedience in individuals. Thirty-five years after Milgram’s experiment was published, Thomas Blass, a Psychology professor and writer of the 2004 Milgram biography, The Man Who Shocked the World, published a paper of his own where he found no significant discrepancies between his results and Milgram’s. On the other hand, unlike Milgram’s and Blass’ experiments, which were designed to observe obedience…show more content…
Established during the 1950s as a Christian sect in Indianapolis during a time where racism was still running high, the People’s Temple was adamant on not discriminating against people of color, therefore attracting many African Americans right off the bat. By 1971, the cult had expanded to San Francisco and it was then that allegations of financial fraud and physical abused against its members surfaced. On what happened after, the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) writes in its article, The Jonestown Massacre, published in the Huffington Post that, “The paranoid Jones then moved his Temple to Guyana, to build a socialist utopia at Jonestown.” Following several complaints, Congressman Ryan decided to visit Jonestown for himself and on the seventeenth of November 1978, he landed in the utopic society. The ACSD further notes that although the visit went well at first, the following day “several Jonestown residents approached the [congressman] and asked [him] for passage out of Guyana. Jones became distressed at the defection of his followers, and one of Jones’ lieutenants attacked Ryan with a knife.” Chaos then ensued as Jones ordered his people to gather in the main pavilion where he ordered adults to orally administer to children a mixture of Kool-Aid and cyanide before taking it themselves—either by…show more content…
Zimbardo introduces in his article, “Learning How to Resist Unwanted Influences”, several tactics used to manipulate people into listening to what they are told. One of those tactics is the foot-in-the-door (FITD) tactic. Zimbardo explains how FITD works as follows: “This tactic begins by first asking someone to do a small request (which most people readily perform) and then later on to ask them to comply with a much bigger request (which was the actual goal all along)” (309). In the case of Jonestown, the FITD approach has a direct correlation with Jones’ rehearsals of death. By first asking the people in the cult to only rehearse their death, he was slowly easing them into agreeing to actually die for him when he felt like the time had
Open Document