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Behavior Mental Health Stress

The Milgram Electric Shock Experiment Revisited: Nothing Has Changed

1 year, 7 months ago

4267  0
Posted on Feb 03, 2019, 9 p.m.

A landmark study conducted 50 years ago on human obedience has been replicated and showed little change in outcome, as published in the journal Social Psychological And Personality Science.

Originally conducted by Stanley Milgram the experiment was designed to test how willing people were to deliver electric shocks to another person if they were encouraged to do so by a higher authority. No actual shocks were delivered during the experiment, may participants believed that they were shocking their peers. Results showed under certain conditions pressure from authority figures would eventually push people to carry out commands despite potentially harming another individual.

SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities have recreated the Milgram Experiment to see what the results would be in modern day Central European countries that were previously part of the communist run Soviet Union, where history of the regions in issues of obedience towards authority were exceptionally interesting to the researchers.

Due to ethical considerations the experiment was not fully recreated. 80 participants were recruited between the ages of 18-69 of equal men and women, each participant was unknowingly paired with an actor. Actors played the part of the learner and the participants played the part of the teacher who were in two neighboring rooms. Learners/actors were hooked up to electrodes to give the teachers/participants the impression that they were going to receive an electric shock. Teachers were given levers to control and were instructed to deliver electric shocks whenever the learner made a mistake; prerecorded screams were played simultaneously when shocks were delivered.

Facilitators would ask teachers to intensify electric shocks as the experiments proceeded using comments such as please continue and you have no choice if the teachers appeared to be hesitant to deliver the shock. Participants were given debriefing sessions following the experiment and were told the details of the procedure and were apologized to for being deceived and received an explanation of why it was done in this manner.

According to the researchers data showed 90% of the participants were willing to electrocute someone using the highest levels of shock, the numbers who refused to carry out electrocution were 3 times higher when the learner was a woman.

In spite of the many years since the original experiments the proportion of people submitting themselves to authority remains very high, the fact that such a high number of obedience is similar to that attained in the 1960s is exceptionally fascinating according to the researchers.

According to Tomasz Grzyb once more this study has shown the tremendous power of the situation the subject are confronted with and how easily they agree to things they find unpleasant, after half a century an overwhelming majority of subjects are still willing to electrocute a helpless individuals: people are sheepeople.

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