The Milgram Experiment

Stanley Milgram was born on August 3, 1933, in New York City to Jewish parents, and during his childhood, he heard stories of family members who had escaped from Nazi concentration camps and took a keen interest in Were how something like the Holocaust could happen. He studied psychology, eventually earning a degree from Harvard University, and in the 60s got a job as a professor at Yale.

Following Orders

In 1961, the trial of Adolf Eichmann, a high-ranking Nazi member and so-called "architect of the Holocaust", attracted public attention, especially Milgram. Eichmann's main defense was that he was merely "following orders", which prompted Milgram to explore the concept of authority. He wanted to study how ordinary people like German soldiers could be persuaded to kill innocents before the war.

Milgram Experiment

Milgram advertised his experiment as a study of the brain's ability to form memories and an opportunity to earn some extra cash. Two participants at a time were invited to a room, where they portrayed their roles at random. One was the "teacher", who was led into a room with a small box, which controlled a chair with an electric shock, and the other was the "learner", who was fastened to the chair and used to say a few words to a chair. Was asked to join. Although the teacher could not see the learner, they could hear each other and speak freely. The teacher was then instructed to give an electric shock for each wrong answer, giving each new shock an increase of 15 volts.

Of course, the "learner" was actually an actor, the "random selection" was not random at all, and no real shocks were ever given. But the "teacher" did not know this, and the actor did not give him any reason to doubt it. Initially, Milgram believed that almost no one would continue to shock the learner after his screams, but his published results showed that many not only continued, begging for the actor's life. Even after 65% gave a fatal 450 volt shock and eventually fell silent, simply because a man in a lab coat told them they had no choice but to continue. Even many of those who protested and showed great sadness at hurting another human continued to deliver shocks of alarming levels.

Revisiting Milgram's Use

Milgram's experiment became famous for its depiction of humanity's desire to obey its own wishes, even if it resulted in the death of another human, but it was also widely criticized. Many have questioned the ethics of convincing participants that they had harassed another person and subjected them to the emotional distress resulting from such an experience, and subsequent examination of Milgram's data revealed this. That only half of the participants actually believed the experiment was real, and those who did, Mant refused to continue at some point. Nevertheless, the experiment has been repeated by many other psychologists around the world, all with horrifyingly similar results.

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