Milgram’s Experiment on Obedience

Stanley Milgram’s famously unethical but ever so interesting experiment on obedience:

The Milgram experiment was a seminal series of social psychology experiments conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram, which measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience. Milgram first described his research in 1963 in an article published in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, and later discussed his findings in greater depth in his 1974 book, Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View.

The experiments began in July 1961, three months after the start of the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Milgram devised the experiments to answer this question: “Could it be that Eichmann and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders? Could we call them all accomplices?”


[Milgram Study of Obedience 1/5 – YouTube]

I didn’t have time to watch the whole thing, but apparently magician/hypnotist Derren Brown reproduced Milgram’s obedience experiment (watch on YouTube). At first I felt confused as to how he got around the ethical violations intrinsic to proceeding with such an experiment in this day and age—but then I realized scientific researchers have ethics boards to get passed; TV producers don’t.

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