Stanley Milgram

Stanley Milgram
“The Obedience Experiment”
Milgram’s background
Completed his undergraduate degree at
Queens College in Political Science
Went to Harvard for a Ph.D. is Social
Became a psychologist at Yale University
Obedience and Individual
His study focused on the conflict between
obedience to authority and personal
He examined justifications for acts of
genocide offered by those accused at
WWII, Nuremberg War Criminal trials
Could the accomplices in the Holocaust
just be following orders?
The experiment
$4.50/hour to participate
in a psychology
experiment involving
memory and learning
Introduction to experiment
He is introduced to a stern looking
experimenter in a white coat and
a pleasant and friendly co-subject
People are told they will be
testing the effects of punishment
on learning
The Shock
The teacher (person who is being
researched) is to shock the student
(friendly guy they met) every time they get
the answer incorrect starting at 15 volts
Volts go from 15 to 450 in 15 volt
Unbelievable results
2/3 of this studies participants
fall into the category of
“obedient” subjects and they
represent ordinary people.
65% of all the teachers punished
the “learners to the maximum
450 volts”
No subjects stopped before 300
Other results
Also tested the teacher/learner proximity
and how it would effect the outcome
32% of the subjects in the proximity-touch
condition held the hand of the learner on the
shock plate while administering shocks in
excess of 400 volts
Findings over the phone
Further experiments showed that subjects
were less obedient when communicated
with by telephone instead of in person
Follow up experiments
This experiment has been replicated by
others across the world.
In Germany over 85% of the subjects
administered a lethal electric shock to the
Is this experiment ethical?
In today’s times, the field of psychology
would deem this study highly unethical
What else does this research imply in
regards to…
American soldiers
Mob actions