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How And Why Milgram's Research On Obedience Contributed To Our Understanding Of Human Behaviour

1107 words - 5 pages

Part 1 Interpreting a table

Table (adapted from Milgram, 1974, cited by DSE141 assessment booklet, p11) puts together prediction of average voltage at which 'teachers' would disobey experimenter to continue and percentage of 'teachers' using the maximum shock level -by psychiatrists, students and middle class adults and the results of the original study and its three variations:
• 'teacher' being in the same room as 'learner',
• 'teacher holding hands of learner on shock plate,
• 'teacher' choosing shock level.

The results shows that:
• the mean of voltage used before the participants would withdrawn that was predicted by three groups was about 133.
• the figure from the ...view middle of the document...

• Volunteers were invited individually to laboratory, took part in drawing to decide who will be 'teacher' and 'learner'. It was set up – participants were to play a role of a teacher. Learner was played by a nice and friendly looking accountant.
• Teacher and learner were sat in different rooms, could communicate through the sound system.
• Learner was supposed to learn pair of words.
• For every mistake made teacher was supposed to administer electric shocks, increasing the voltage (from 15 to 435) with subsequent mistakes.
• Teacher was given sample shock of 45v which was not pleasant but did not hurt.
• On the beginning all went well, but after some point the learner started to make mistakes and teacher administering electric shocks. Soon moans and cries of learner started to be heard.
• When and if teacher wanted to stop the experimenter was 'pressing' him to continue by saying i.e. 'Please, continue.'

• All of teachers administered up to 300v
• Only 5 participants stopped there.
• 65% went all the way using maximum voltage

Milgram was strongly criticised for the stress and anxiety to participants. One of opposing psychologists was Diana Baumrinds. (Banyard, 2010) According to her Milgram violated the Nuremberg Ethics Code:
• experiment should had been stopped because of high level of distress to participants
• the value of the results was questioned
• participants has no real right to withdrawn form the study - when they tried they were pushed by experimenter to continue.
Milgram argued that:
• he could not predict the results
• participants were interviewed afterwards, debriefed fully and reconciled with the 'learner' – that was new thing.
• were checked by psychiatrist if they were OK, and most of them were happy that they took part in the research.
• the study was about obedience so it was necessary for experimenter to give orders to continue.
In the result the storm about study showed clearly why the ethics are important.

Outside the laboratory?
There was a question if the experiment would work in real life situation.
It was tested by Charles Hofling in 1966 – the nurses in the hospital were asked by a dummy doctor over the phone to administer drug in dosage twice the daily allowance and he would sign authorisation later. 21 out of 22 nurses obeyed! (Banyard, 2010)

After the study
Milgram research was a shock to the world. It was started to understand what has happen in the past, but its results pointed out...

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