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The Life Of Stanley Milgram Essay

1019 words - 4 pages

“It may be that we are puppets-puppets controlled by the strings of society. But at least we are puppets with perception, with awareness. And perhaps our awareness is the first step to our liberation.” Stanley Milgram made ground breaking discoveries in the field of psychology with his many experiments on obedience and people’s ability to have an effect on the actions of others. From one of his experiments was derived “The Six Degrees of Separation,” which is still studied today in psychology classes (Biography). He would come to be known as, “the man who shocked the world,” with a single experiment.
Stanley Milgram was born in New York City in 1933 (Miller 1997). He was the son of Jewish immigrants, Adele and Samuel Milgram, and he had an older sister, Marjorie, as well as a younger brother, Joel (Raver). Milgram graduated in 1950 from James Monroe High School in just three years by taking heavier class loads than other students (Raver), and then went on to receive his bachelor’s degree from Queens College in 1954. After finishing his degree at Queens, Stanley decided to further his education and receive his Ph.D. from Harvard while studying under the guidance of Gordon Allport (Miller). He wrote his dissertation on the cross-cultural comparisons of conformity in both France and Norway from 1957-1959. He used a technique that had been developed by Solomon Asch, who he was later assigned to, to work as his research assistant. During this time, be familiarized himself with Asch’s experiments on conformity and his interest quickly grew. Stanley Milgram received his Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University in June of 1960. That very fall, he continued on to become an assistant professor at the Ivy League school, Yale University. Both Solomon Asch and Gordon Allport would prove to have tremendous influence on his coming experiments.
Stanley occasionally used peyote, marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines; this drug used sparked his first plan of research: how the use of mescaline affected the judgment of art. He created a proposal to receive a grant for his researched, but was denied. The rejected did not slow him down however; as he was already busy planning his study of obedience, hoping to make both his own research and that of his mentor Asch, more solid. Milgram wanted to discover what would happen when the actions of one person, was directly impacting another. After working diligently to come up with a study in which he could test obedience under these circumstances, he finally succeeded and submitted grant proposals to the National Institute of Mental Health, the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation. During this time, he and some of his students also began preparing pilot studies. Milgram showed a great sense of humility by including a section about the treatment of participants in his grant proposals. He stated that he would debrief all participants to insure their safety throughout the trials. In 1961, he was able...

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