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Milgram Obedience Experiment

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We consciously or subconsciously obey authority in everyday of our lives.

Obedience occurs when there is legitimate power, there is burdening to conform. Compliance with that which is required by authority; subjection to rightful restraint or control. Authority is the legal or rightful power; a right to command or enforce obedience on another. This PowerPoint will discuss, explore and evaluate the explanations as to why people obey authority.

Obedience is a basic part of society’s structure; its destructiveness has been questioned throughout time. The Milgram Experiment is one of psychology’s most debated experiments. This study examined the extent individuals would go to obey an authority figure even if they believe their actions are harming another individual. The study is singularly responsible for the American Psychological Association’s implementation and enforcement of guidelines and regulations that prevent a researcher from causing emotional distress or any other detriment upon a subject.  Even today the results from this study continue to be powerful, many times causing an individual to reevaluate himself, society, and to what extent he would obey authority.

Psychology, Research, and Ethics,

Saul McLeod published 2007, updated 2015


Milgram explained that the results of his research showed ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, can become representatives in the terrible destructive process. Although the effects of the participants work becomes clear, as they were asked to carry out actions incompatible with the vital morals and ethics of morality, very few people have the resources needed to resist authority.

Milgram afforded the subjects may fear that they would appear arrogant or rude if they were to break off from the assignment. A certain level of pride is gained by obeying authoritative figures. Participants can feel as thought they are only the instrument in another’s wishes, and therefore no longer regards him or herself responsible for their own actions. It is easier to ignore responsibility when a person feels they are not the main cause of the action. Milgram also recognized that obedience to authority is closely related to the form, shape, and development of society. His claim that division of labor can break society up into people that carry out narrow and very special jobs which take away the human quality of work and then they are unable to act without overall direction. Therefore, the individuals yield to authority and in doing so alienates themselves from their own actions.



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