The many switches were labeled with terms including "slight shock," "moderate shock" and "danger: severe shock. As the experiment progressed, the participant would hear the learner plead to be released or even complain about a heart condition. Once they reached the volt level, the learner would bang on the wall and demand to be released. Beyond this point, the learner became completely silent and refused to answer any more questions.
The experimenter then instructed the participant to treat this silence as an incorrect response and deliver a further shock. Most participants asked the experimenter whether they should continue. The experimenter issued a series of commands to prod the participant along: "Please continue. The measure of obedience was the level of shock that the participant was willing to deliver. How far do you think most participants were willing to go? When Milgram posed this question to a group of Yale University students, it was predicted that no more than 3 out of participants would deliver the maximum shock.
Of the 40 participants in the study, 26 delivered the maximum shocks while 14 stopped before reaching the highest levels. It is important to note that many of the subjects became extremely agitated, distraught, and angry at the experimenter, but they continued to follow orders all the way to the end. Due to concerns about the amount of anxiety experienced by many of the participants, everyone was debriefed at the end of the experiment. The researchers explained the procedures and the use of deception.
However, many critics of the study have argued that many of the participants were still confused about the exact nature of the experiment. Milgram later surveyed the participants and found that 84 percent were glad to have participated while only 1 percent regretted their involvement.
Why did so many of the participants in this experiment perform a seemingly sadistic act when instructed by an authority figure? According to Milgram, there are some situational factors that can explain such high levels of obedience: The physical presence of an authority figure dramatically increased compliance.
The experimenter gave four verbal prods which mostly discouraged withdrawal from the experiment: Please continue. The experiment requires that you continue. It is absolutely essential that you continue. You have no other choice, you must go on.
Milgram argued that they are justified as the study was about obedience so orders were necessary. Milgram Audio Clips Below you can also hear some of the audio clips taken from the video that was made of the experiment. Just click on the clips below. You will be asked to decide if you want to open the files from their current location or save them to disk. Choose to open them from their current location. Then press play and sit back and listen!
Clip 1 : This is a long audio clip of the 3rd participant administering shocks to the confederate. You can hear the confederate's pleas to be released and the experimenter's instructions to continue.
Clip 2 : A short clip of the confederate refusing to continue with the experiment. Clip 3 : The confederate begins to complain of heart trouble. Clip 4 : Listen to the confederate get a shock: "Let me out of here. Let me out, let me out, let me out" And so on! Clip 5 : The experimenter tells the participant that they must continue. Some conditions of obedience and disobedience to authority.
Human relations, 18 1 , Milgram, S. Obedience to authority: An experimental view. Orne, M. On the ecological validity of laboratory deceptions. International Journal of Psychiatry, 6 4 , Shanab, M. A cross-cultural study of obedience. We did this with a view to the significant probability of some of them being familiar not only with the Milgram experiment itself, but also with the psychological mechanisms underlying the results he recorded. The study participants received points for participation in the study, which afterward they could exchange for various prizes.
Procedure The participants logged onto an internet portal and began completing a survey, starting with questions about sex, age, and place of residence. Next they were presented with a video roughly 6 min in length that detailed the procedure applied in the original experiment by Milgram. At no time neither in the presentation nor the voice-over was information given about the results achieved. After watching the presentation, the participants answered four control questions designed to verify how closely they had listened to the presented materials.
If they responded correctly to at least three of four questions they were qualified to the next phase of the study.
During the next stage of the study they were asked the following question: What do you think—at what moment did the average person average from studies conducted around the world cease participation in the experiment by refusing to press the next switch?
Indicate the last switch that person pressed: Participants were presented with a scale containing 30 switches, each of which were described exactly as they were in the Milgram experiment voltage and label. Participants responded on the same scale to questions regarding how they would behave in that experiment Imagine that you yourself are participating in that experiment.
Indicate the last switch you would press. The final element was a response to a question about the average value recorded in other countries The experiment was conducted in countries around the world. We adopted as our dependent variable the voltage of the last switch the participants thought they would be pressed depending on the question: by them, by the average person, the average Pole, etc.
This means that, for example, the declaration of the 10th switch was considered to be a declaration of an electric shock with a strength of V. We want to find out just what effect different people have on each other as teachers and learners, and also what effect punishment will have on learning in this situation.
Does either of you have a preference? The participant was asked to draw a slip of paper from a hat to determine which role he would play. The draw was rigged so the participant was always the teacher and Mr. Wallace the confederate was always the learner. The experimenter explained to the teacher participant that the straps were to prevent excessive movement while the learner was being shocked; the effect was to make it impossible for him to escape the situation.
The participant teacher was told that the electrode was attached to the shock generator in the adjoining room. To further enhance the authenticity of the generator the participant teacher was given a sample shock of 45 volts, applied by pressing the third switch.
The shock generator was actually powered by a volt battery and not wired to the mains. The participant teacher was then seated in an adjacent room in front of the shock generator and asked to read a series of word pairs to the learner.
The participant teacher then tests the learner by giving him one of the words in a pair along with four other words. The learner has to indicate which of the four words had originally been paired with the first word.
If the answer was correct the participant teacher had to move onto the next word on the list, if the answer was wrong the participant had to tell the learner the correct answer and then the level of punishment that they were going to give them. They would then press the first switch on the shock generator 15 volts. For every subsequent incorrect answer the participant was required to move one switch up the scale of shocks 15 volts higher than the voltage of the last shock delivered.
In all conditions the learner gives a predetermined set of responses to the word pair test, based on a schedule of approximately three wrong answers to one correct answer. At this point the learner Mr Wallace pounded on the wall of the room and could be heard by the participant teacher. The participant teacher was instructed to treat the absence of a response as a wrong answer and to shock the learner according to the usual schedule, allowing 5 to 10 seconds before considering no response as a wrong answer.
The pounding on the wall was repeated after the volt shock but subsequently the learner was not heard from, and his answers did not reappear on the panel. The prods were always made in sequence. Only if Prod 1 was unsuccessful could Prod 2 be used, etc. If the participant continued to disobey after Prod 4, the experiment was terminated. The experiment would end either when the volt shock had been administered, or when the participant walked out. A participant who breaks off at any point prior to the highest shock level volts is called a defiant participant, while one who obeys up to the volts is called an obedient participant.
The sessions were also filmed and notes were taken by observers looking through an observation mirror.
So there's that sense of science is providing some kind of system for good.
Because the Milgram experiments are quite well known not only within the psychological community but also among the public at large, it could be assumed that participants from diverse backgrounds would include both some who were unfamiliar with the Milgram studies, as well as others who had previously encountered descriptions of them. If the participant continued to disobey after Prod 4, the experiment was terminated.
The learner, Mr. Situational explanation — the situation they were in influenced them to behave in the way that they did. According to Milgram, there are some situational factors that can explain such high levels of obedience: The physical presence of an authority figure dramatically increased compliance. The usefulness of the study is also limited in the sense that although the study tells us that we have a tendency to follow people with authority, it does very little to explain why this occurs. Thomas Blass of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County performed a meta-analysis on the results of repeated performances of the experiment. In Experiment 8, an all-female contingent was used; previously, all participants had been men.