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A Researcher, Stanley Milgram, Wondered How Far Individuals Would Go in Following Commands. in 1974 He Set up a Series of Experiments. Describe the Research Methods Used, Together with the Findings.

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Essay title: A Researcher, Stanley Milgram, Wondered How Far Individuals Would Go in Following Commands. in 1974 He Set up a Series of Experiments. Describe the Research Methods Used, Together with the Findings.

A researcher, Stanley Milgram, wondered how far individuals would go in following commands. In 1974 he set up a series of experiments. Describe the research methods used, together with the findings.

In 1974 Stanley Milgram conducted the classic study of obedience to authority. The study looked into how far individuals would be willing to go, and were asked could they deliver increasingly devastating electric shocks to a fellow human being, as they were requested to do so by the professor in charge of the experiment.

The aftermath of the holocaust and the events which lead up to World War 2 left the world stunned with actions of the Nazi German army and their acquired surrounding territories which came out during the Eichman Trials. Eichman, a high ranking official of the Nazi Party, was on trial for war crimes against humanity. The question is, “Could it be that Eichman, and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders? Could we call them all accomplices?

It was Stanley Milgram that was to answer the call and perform a series of experiments on the obedience of authority.

When it came to selecting participants for the study, Milgram considered using Yale graduates, which was a university nearby. However, he felt that students weren’t ideal a group as they were all highly intelligent, and had some familiarity with psychological experimentation. Milgram felt it was therefore more appropriate to bring in subjects from a wider scale, and therefore he decided to use the New Haven community of 30,000 people, as this gave him a wide range of individuals who were all from different backgrounds and would have had different experiences when it come down to authority.

In Milgrams experiments the ordinary men and women were brought in to participate in what they thought was a study of memory in which they were paid $4.50 an hour for their time. On arriving for the experiment they were told that they would play he role of the teacher. They were to read a series of words pairs to an individual on the opposite side of a partition. They were to test the individuals’ memory by giving him a word and asking him to select the correct matching word from four alternatives. Each time the learner made an error, they were to give him/her an electric shock at the touch of a lever. The individual was strapped into an electric chair while they watched. The teachers had levers in front of them labelled from 15 to 450 volts and switches labelled from slight shock to danger: severe shock to the final ‘XXX’. They were instructed to move one lever higher on the shock generator each time the learner made an error. There were not of course any shocks.

The individual strapped in the chair had of course been specially trained for the experiment. As the shock level increased they would protest to the teacher who would here the pleas through the adjoining wall. The individual would scream and then after 300 volts stop making any noise including answering questions. Many of the teachers would object, pleading with the experimenter not to carry on. The experimenter never threatened them but said it was necessary top carry on. 65% of subjects went all the way to the maximum level and none of them stopped before 300 volts.

Throughout the research Milgram conducted a series of 18 experiments in total to see how far an individual would go to following commands. In most experiments the individual would follow the commands in which the experimenter instructed. In one experiment when the teacher was free to choose the shock level, and findings showed that the teacher was more reluctant to use higher voltages when the experimenter did not pressurise him/her into doing so.

Another of his experiments was when one of the experimenters left his phone number with the teacher, and told him to phone him if any problems arose, as he was instructed to carry on the experiment alone. Milgram found that as long as the teacher found reassurance he had no problem with administering the shocks to the individual, even when the teacher could no longer hear any noise the teacher still carried on with

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