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How Far Would U Go

Essay by   •  December 12, 2010  •  Essay  •  453 Words (2 Pages)  •  810 Views

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In today's society most people would say that they are individuals making individual choices. My mind is my own therefore I am free to do as I will. One question I have is "do we always do the things we do because we know its right, or because others influence our decisions."? I think the problem arises when we are influenced by others to act irrationally. We all live in groups that influence our decisions constantly everyday, whether it being our family, friends, and people at our workplace. Furthermore most people cannot stand to be alone for long periods of time. Although throughout our adolescence stages in our lives were we tend to move towards self sufficiency, we still we are always seeking groups to belong to.

How far would you go if put in a situation where you were told by an authority figure to harm another person? Most often times we would be quick to say no, yet research shows otherwise. When in a group we tend to think as the group does. The basis of Stanley Milgrams experiment was to test how much pain a normal person would inflict to another person merely because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist. In the experiment, the teachers who were actually the subjects of the experiment were picked by Milgram. They were asked administer an electric shock of increasing intensity to a learner for each mistake he made during the experiment. The made up story given to these teachers was that the experiment was exploring effects of punishment. The teachers who were hired by Milgram were not aware that the learner in the study was actually an actor simply indicating discomfort as the teacher increased the electric shocks. Sixty percent of the teachers obeyed orders to punish the learner to the very end of the 450-volt scale. Throughout the experiment the teachers often asked the experiment if the shocks were harmful. After the experimenter said he would take full responsibility the majority of the teachers would continue the shock treatment.

As seen in this experiment, ordinary people could carry out such immoral acts without thinking due to following orders from authority. This relates to group pressures because I feel that us as humans are merely acting on how we have been brought up in today's society. If we as children never had to worry about what people thought, how we dressed, and what was the correct answer to a question, their would be no need to conform to a group. Furthermore this



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