The Milgram Obedience Experiment, The Perils of Obedience, By Kendra Cherry, About.com Guide
Why did so many of the participants in this experiment perform a seemingly sadistic act on the instruction of an authority figure? According to Milgram, there are a number of situational factors that can explain such high levels of obedience:
- The physical presence of an authority figure dramatically increased compliance.
- The fact that the study was sponsored by a trusted and authoritative academic institution led many participants to believe that the experiment must be safe.
- The selection of teacher and learner status seemed random. [no vengeance factor]
- Participants assumed that the experimenter was a competent expert.
- The shocks were said to be painful, not dangerous.
Milgram wrote, “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” (Milgram, 1974).
Milgram’s experiment has become a classic in psychology, demonstrating the dangers of obedience.
The Milgram Experiment of 1961 was conducted to answer another question regarding the rise of Hitler and the Nazis (They Thought They Were Free, Milton Mayer, 1955). Milgram had “teachers”, authority figures, inflict electric shock on”students” who gave the wrong answers. The students, part of the experiment, did not receive any shocks but responded in greater and greater degrees of mock pain. The teachers were acting on instructions of the experimenter, the “authority” figure.
The experimenter issued a series of commands to prod the participant along:
- “Please continue.”
- “The experiment requires that you continue.”
- “It is absolutely essential that you continue.”
- “You have no other choice, you must go on.”
In other words, the experimenters wanted top know, “If a person in a position of authority ordered you to deliver a 400-volt electrical shock to another person, would you follow orders?”
“When Milgram posed this question to a group of Yale University students, it was predicted that no more than 3 out of 100 participants would deliver the maximum shock. In reality, 65% of the participants in Milgram’s study delivered the maximum shocks.”
Jump to today and the New America of HOA-Lands. Translate the experimenter as the HOA attorney or dictatorial HOA president or manager; the students as the homeowners; and the teachers as the go along board, ACC and the non-dictator presidents. These “go alongs” act on the “advice”, instructions or urgings of the above authority figures, the “experimenters.”
It is important for advocates to know that, “Later experiments conducted by Milgram indicated that the presence of rebellious peers dramatically reduced obedience levels. When other people refused to go along with the experimenters orders, 36 out of 40 participants refused to deliver the maximum shocks.”
That’s a resounding,
STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS! SPEAK OUT! CREATE REFORM GROUPS!