In 1961, Stanley Milgram (1963) carried out one of the most famous experiments in social psychology. He wanted to examine the conflict between a person’s obedience to authority and their personal conscience. This experiment was conducted one year after the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Eichmann, along with most of those accused at the Nuremberg War Criminal trials, often based their defense on ”obedience”. The justification for their atrocious actions was that they were simply following orders from their superiors.
The military spokesman justifies the gruesome and violent attacks towards Egyptian civilians by claiming, “… these soldiers were on duty, what were they supposed to do?” The idea of following orders is a common explanation many militants and police officers use in order to not be held liable. Scientist, Stanley Milgram, experiments the idea of becoming obedient towards authority that may control the decision of individuals. Milgram inspiration derives from the notorious Nazi officer, Adolf Eichmann, who similarly claims that he was simply following orders during the genocide of millions of Jews. Although, Stanley Milgram has proven that individuals tend to follow orders from authority, Egyptian militants who participated in the horrid attacks
Obedience to Authority experiment, which was also known as the Milgram experiment, was considered as one of the most famous and ethically criticized experiment in psychological history. In 1961, Milgram performed the first of a series of experiments to test how far individuals would go in obeying orders given by authority, even when the orders could violate their moral standards and cause harms to innocent individuals. In the experiment, the subjects were told that the purpose of the study was to test how punishment effects the learning. Milgram selected 40 normal adult men between the ages of 20 and 50 from different backgrounds and occupations as the experimental subjects. The participants were assigned the role of the teacher, whereas a
Night: The Psychology of Evil “The line between good and evil is permeable and almost anyone can be induced to cross it when pressured by situational forces,” said Philip Zimbardo after his 1971 Stanford mock trial prison experiment. Throughout the Zimbardo experiment, Zimbardo defined many terms such as dehumanization and deindividuation. Like Zimbardo, Eliezer, a young Jew from 1944 who was deported to multiple concentration camps and also wrote the novel Night, faced copious German militants who abused their power by dehumanizing their fellow humans by taking away essential items for human life such as food, drink, and freedom. Through the countless number of years that humanity has existed, victimizers who have been given power over others have chosen to abuse their fellow humans and make them victims of their rule. To study how power affects human nature, various psychological studies have been conducted to explain such behavior.
An Open Letter to the “Angel of Death,” Dr. Josef Mengele In 1949, you were able to flee from Europe and live for 30 years in Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay (Paradowski, 2013). You were provided this freedom despite being responsible for the deaths of thousands as a result of your horrible human experimentation. You were the evilest Nazi doctor in the entirety of the regime—how could you act with kindness towards children through providing them sweets and proceed to inject chemicals directly into their eyes and/or infect their identical twin with typhoid to see the difference between a healthy twin and a sick twin? In regards to your scientific method, you completely negated the principle of the twins needing to be identical and even used fraternal twins and siblings as test subjects (Grodin et al. 8).
The Milgram experiment and the society 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
Milgram’s baseline experiment was to study whether people would comply with an authority figure during a brutal experiment or if they would utilize their own morals to make the experiment stop. This study was influenced by the Holocaust and Nazi war crimes. For his experiment he had taught an accomplice to pretend to receive electric shocks. The experimental subject/administrator was placed in front of some sort of dial and they were told would give them incrementing levels of shock to the actor. The administrator would then ask a series of questions and if he answered incorrectly the actor would then receive an electric shock.
A. The most likely reason the number of Jehovah’s witnesses and many other persecuted groups killed in the Holocaust varies is because Nazis destroyed records as it became clear the Allies were going to liberate concentration camps and defeat the German army. The Nazis kept meticulous records of the number or people killed or deported and the value of the stolen property coming in from the victims. Promotions in the German army and admiration from other Nazis often came from the number of deaths or deported Ghettos an Officer had caused. The total death caused by a Nazi was often a point of pride, so he was very interested in knowing this number.
In the wake of Adolf Eichmann’s prosecution for commanding the slaying of over 1 million Jews, Psychologist Stanley Milgram called the role of authority into question. What would propel such evil acts from a seemingly normal man? In spite of what top psychologists assumed the outcome would be, the results were astounding. Despite the deep rooted convictions of the subjects opposed to causing physical harm to others, obedience to authority overcame the majority of the time (The Perils of Obedience by Stanley Milgram) According to Milgram in his famous writing, The Perils of Obedience, “Even Eichmann was sickened when he toured the concentration camps, but had only to sit at a desk and shuffle papers.” Stanley Milgram desired to see beyond the man at the
Conformity In 1963, Stanley Miligran and Philip Zimbardo conducted a social experiment in which two people were partnered up, one the teacher, one the learner. Their goal was to see how far the learner would go in obeying the teachers’ commands. This was an important experiment in the world because it shows how easy it is for evil people to use their power for corruption, even in giving innocent people orders. Miligran was inspired to do this experiment while reviewing the holocaust. His goal was to try to see how the German soldiers felt while being given commands to harm innocent people.
Stanley Milgram, a psychologist at Yale University, sought out the reasoning behind Nazi soldiers and their orders, especially after the Nuremberg War Criminal trials in World War II. Some of the Nazis knew killing Jews was immoral, but they proceeded to do it anyway. Why did they do it? Stanley Milgram jumped on the case and conducted an experiment to see to what extent people will go to obey higher authority (McLeod, 2007). The experiments began in July of 1961 at Yale University.
Holocaust survivor Primo Levi once said, “Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.” Throughout history the many have followed the few, the powerful individuals have been able to manipulate our views and change our morals, no matter how flawed the ideals may be. Specifically, there have been instances of human history where an incompetent leader has been able to take advantage of human nature and direct misinformed populations to commit atrocities. For instance, during World War Two, Adolf Hitler convinced millions of Germans that the Jewish people were responsible for German hardships, this led to genocide