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Current time:0:00Total duration:7:06

Milgram experiment on obedience

Video transcript

the Milgram studies were conducted in order to study the willingness of participants average everyday Americans to obey authority figures who instructed them to perform behaviors that conflicted with their personal beliefs and morals and as you can probably imagine it might be hard to recruit participants when that's what we're trying to study and so in order to keep the participants from finding out what he was actually trying to look at Milgram used deception he started by posting ads looking for people to participate in a study about learning and memory and actually have an image of the original flyer here and you can say that they really tried to make it a point to recruit average everyday people when they arrived at the lab they were told that they were going to be participating in a study I was trying to look at the effects of punishment on learning so do people learn best after they've been punished for making a mistake and there were two participants involved in the study and they randomly decided by picking out of a hat who was going to play the role of teacher and who was going to play the role of the learner in reality one of the participants was actually a Confederate meaning that they were working with the experimenter and were secretly in on the point of the study and choosing the roles out of the Hat wasn't actually random in this case because it was raised in such a way that the actual participant always got the teacher role and the Confederates always got the learner role while the teacher was watching the experimenter hooked the learner up to a number of electrodes and they were both told that the teacher was going to teach the learner a number of word pairs and that the learner would be shocked whenever they gave the wrong answer in some versions of this study the person playing the learner noted that they were worried about the experiment because they had a heart condition so they were worried about the shocks at which point the experimenter would explain to them not to worry that the shocks would be painful but not dangerous the teacher was then taken to a different room where they couldn't see the learner they had no visual contact with them and they were sat in front of a box of switches that they were told was a shock box the first which was labeled 15 volts and the switches increased at 15 volt increments until it reached 450 volts along with an indication of voltage there were also labels that went along with switches and I've written a number of them down here but they went from slight to moderate chalk to strong shock and then things like very strong shock and intense shock and extremely intense shock and then kind of troublingly a label that noted that the switches would give a severe shock and the warning of danger xxx the teacher was instructed to read a long list of word pairs to the learner and then when they were finished to go back and read the first word of each pair and then offer for possible pair words of those four possible pair words the learner would indicate what they thought the answer was by pressing a button and this was displayed on a screen to the teacher and whenever they made an error the teacher was instructed to give them a shock at increasing increments so the first wrong answer got a shock of 15 volts the second one 30 volts etc and just so you're aware even though the teacher thought that they were giving the learner shocks no actual shocks were given but of course it was really important that the teacher really thought that the punishment was being administered after giving a number of correct answer the participant seemingly started giving incorrect ones and of course the pattern of correct and incorrect answers that the learner was given was determined by the experimenter well beforehand and the first couple of shocks really didn't elicit that much of a reaction the learner would kind of gasp when they happened but nothing more than that however after several increasing shocks the learner would start to pound on the wall and cry out in pain and eventually they would start to complain about their heart condition saying things like let me out my heart is bothering me let me out and as the shocks increase they would continue to yell and scream that they wanted to quit and after this after a certain point all responses from the learner would cease and there would only be silence from the other room if at any point during the study the participants playing the role of the teacher wanted to check on the other participant or stop the experimenter even just looked back the experimenter for guidance to see what they should do they were told things like please continue and the experiment requires that you continue and even you have no other choice you go on the experiment came to an end after either for verbal protests from the teacher from the participant or after they had given the final shock of 450 volts to the silent learner three times before he started his experiment Milgram HASC the number of professors and psychology students and clinical psychologists whether or not people would obey the commands of the experimenter and they overwhelmingly said that people would not that most of them would stop when the learner protested and that very very few people would shock all the way and that those that did were probably psychopaths and so when the results of the study came out they were actually really disturbing because 65 percent of participants shopped all the way sixty five percent and to be clear those participants didn't do so without feeling they had protested they were sweating and they were trembling but they still obeyed the commands of the experimenter and shocked to 450 volts and in the versions of the experiment with a learner claimed to have a heart condition and specifically claimed the shocks were hurting their heart full compliance did drop but not by much it dropped to 63 percent and again these were everyday average Americans who heard the cries of people they were tormenting and continued with the task and I want to end up with a quote from Milgram and it's kind of a long quote and I've written it out here but I think that it's really important and really sums up the results of the study he wrote I set up a simple experiment at Yale to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist stark Authority was pitted against the subjects strongest moral imperatives against hurting others and with the subjects ears ringing with the screams of the victims authority one more often than not the extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of this study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation ordinary people simply doing their jobs and without any particular hostility on their part can become agents in a terrible destructive process moreover even when the destructive effects of their work became patently clear and they were asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality relatively few people have the resources needed to resist Authority