5 Comments

  • Most of the participants who gave dangerous/lethal levels of shocks gave interview responses that resembled confabulation. They did something horrible and, when confronted with what they did, were placed under pressure to explain themselves. There’s no way to know if “oh I knew the whole time that it was all a ruse” is truthful or an attempt to avoid being perceived as a monster.

    Despite all of the attempts to re-interpret Milgram’s studies and provide euphemisms for conformity (e.g., “engaged followership”), the studies are still fairly interpreted as a demonstration of how people can be easily manipulated into doing horrible things by authority figures. What I found most intriguing about these studies is that many people who gave lethal shocks were experiencing levels of anxiety that bordered on *panic attacks* while they were doing it.

    EDIT: Think about comments like this – “If it was that serious you woulda stopped me.” How is that exculpatory? Isn’t that precisely the problem? Specifically, people in his studies were placing moral responsibility for *their own decisions* in the hands of some random authority. *That’s not good.*

  • Wow, just the first paragraph alone… Cute propaganda.

  • I’ve wondered how we could work an experience like this into general education, or if that is even possible. A brief, controlled encounter with these dark social tendencies could give people a kind of immunization against manipulation in the real-world. I’m sure that’s overly optimistic though.

  • This is not new evidence or a new take. They of course trusted the experimenters. Like so many people who do dangerous things trust their leaders. That’s the whole point of the study.

    Edit: took out a “bad word”.

    Also: have the downvoters read Milgram’s book? Or the article? Some of the research subjects believed it must be ok because the researchers told them so. They were just following orders. Exactly what Milgram himself said that he found.

  • Sometimes people recognize theater or at least suspect it and behave accordingly rather than as they might otherwise, and that’s probably worth considering, but it seems like one of the best real life Milgram experiments has been the fast food prank calls that show how blindly people will obey any random self-proclaimed authority to be destructive or abusive. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strip_search_phone_call_scam
    https://consumerist.com/2016/02/04/arizona-wendys-jack-in-the-box-hit-by-prank-calls-instructing-workers-to-break-restaurants-windows/

    Even if the Milgram experiment were not a great example of the problem it described as claimed here, that problem is obviously real.

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