Friday, March 23, 2007

Milgram Experiment

The video is pretty long but I think it's worth it. A short (7 min) video summary can be found here. wiki: Milgram summed things up in his 1974 article, "The Perils of Obedience", writing:
The legal and philosophic aspects of obedience are of enormous importance, but they say very little about how most people behave in concrete situations. I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist. Stark authority was pitted against the subjects' [participants'] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects' [participants'] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation. Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.
Pretty shocking (pun) and interesting experiment. Too bad things like this or like the Stanford Prison Experiment aren't done anymore out of concerns about the ethics of it.

3 comments:

Rens said...

This takes " Wir haben es nicht gewurst" into consideration

cybrbeast said...

Well, maybe not so much "Wir haben es nicht gewußt" but more "we knew about it, but did or let it happen anyway, because the people in authority said it was OK"

Annoms post already falsified Wir haben es nicht gewußt

Annom said...

Cool, I had already read about this experiment a few times. I haven't seen it yet because I'm a study hermit trying to make something of my exams with way too little time.

I'll definitely watch this later!