Dangerously Compliant Essay

710 words - 3 pages

How far would you go to be obedient? At Yale University, Stanley Milgram set up an experiment testing how much pain a person would cause to an ordinary citizen, only with the reason of being told to do so by an experimental scientist. The subject is told that they are helping with an experiment on punishment-based learning and believe they are conducting this test on someone other than themself. What the subjects do not know is that the true experiment is testing them, not another person. The subjects send an increasing amount of pain to another person. If the subject wishes to discontinue, he must complete the experiment or clearly resist authority. What Milgram found in this study was that adults would go to severe lengths to obey their authority’s commands.
This experiment is ultimately testing the adult obedience to authority. Only a select few are defiant towards authority because obedience is required for all life. For this test, the subject is told there will be one “teacher,” the one giving the punishment, and one “learner,” the one receiving the punishment. The subject thinks he will be the teacher, who will ask questions and send a bolt of electricity through the learner’s body each time he misses a question. The learner will be strapped to an electric chair while asked the series of questions. The voltage will increase each time a question is incorrect. The volts range from 15-450, above each are labels showing the level of severity from least to most amount of pain. Before beginning, the teacher is given a 45-volt shock that helps him to believe in the machine. The learner starts out seemingly unharmed, as the voltage increases, the learner then begins to make noises, scream and demand to be set free, eventually he makes no sound at all, giving the indication that he is dead. The subject thinks it is the learner who is being experimented on, while it is actually the teacher who is being watched.
The people chosen for this experiment came from working, managerial, and professional classes. Milgram...

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