“The Perils of Obedience”
“The Perils of Obedience” is an article written by Stanley Milgram. In this article he explains the relevance of obedience and how it affects people. Milgram conducted a study that “forced participants either to violate their conscience by obeying the immoral demands of an authority figure or to refuse those demands.” (Milgram 358) The results varied from person to person. However, many participants chose to obey their authority’s orders.
Students were chosen from Yale University and simply asked to take part in an experiment. They were told that there was a study being conducted on learners and teachers and the effects of punishment on learning. The teacher was able to watch as the learner was strapped into an electric chair. The teacher was then seated in front of a shock generator that was labeled from a slight shock to a severe shock. The teacher is told to shock the learner for every wrong answer and for every hesitant answer. The teacher is unaware of the fact that the learner is actually an actor and is not being shocked at all.
In the first experiment, the teacher was disobedient and decided to stop the study due to the pain that she was causing the learner. This was a rational decision on her part because the learner was in extreme pain. She stated that she “did not want to be responsible for any harm to him.” (Milgram 361) In the second experiment, the teacher continued to shock the man despite his loud screaming. He questioned the experimenter several times but he did not allow the yelling to stop him completely. Unlike the first experimenter he was not firm and he went through with the entire experiment and displayed obedience. In the third experiment, the teacher was extremely nervous and tense. He explained to the learner that he was administering shocks to him for not answering. After a while, he began to laugh uncontrollably but followed through the entire experiment. This showed that he was concerned...