• > Focusing for now on the obedient participants, Hollander and Turowetz say that they offered four main reasons for why they continued to the end of the experiment.

    Participants have had lots of time to rationalise it to themselves, so they don’t feel like “bad people” after the fact. How are these responses supposed to be evidence they did not actually believe they were hurting someone at the time? A rationalisation would, instead, indicate there was a fear of it being real at the time, and they’ve found ways to distance themselves from that.

    > Just under 60 per cent of these participants said at least once that they had been following instructions, which provides some support for Milgram’s agentic theory.

    That doesn’t imply not thinking it was real.

    > Seventy-two per cent of obedient participants made this kind of claim at least once, such as “If it was that serious you woulda stopped me” and “I just figured that somebody had let him out”.

    That’s kinda the point of rationalising doing something bad – to make it “not so bad” in your own mind. This in no way means they did not believe, at the time, that they were hurting someone, just that they engaged more and more in projecting the hope that, somehow, it’s really ok.

    A defensive rationalisation is hardly uncommon and can’t be evidence that they did not actually believe it at the time, or have real fears at a very unpleasant level.


    > Around 10 per cent said at least once that they had been fulfilling a contract: “I come here, and yer paying me the money for my time”.

    At least sociopaths are honest. 🙂

  • This is why I hate seeing psychology studies on here. In 20 years they will say it was all nonsense. Which it always seems to be anyway. We need to sort all that junk out and keep the real stuff here.

  • I think there remain enough real world examples of the behavior. The experiment really shows just how little outside suggestion it can take to give someone a sense of impunity. “The experiment requires you to continue.”

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