The Men in the White Coats

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I always had a suspicion that people were more followers than leaders. However, I never really understood to the extent to which people were sheep-like in their decisions. After reading about the milgram experiment, I found that out exactly and the responses honestly frightened me. In this experiment,participants were asked to play a teacher and deliver different voltage shocks to a participant supposedly hooked up on the other side - the machine going to a lethal dosage. Here's a video to explain it better than I ever could:


Over 66% of the time, people didn't quit just because there was an experimenter telling them to continue. The fact that authority figures were telling them to do something and there was no other consequences of stopping than to annoy the man in the white coat actually pushed these people into complete obedience. This experiment by itself taught me to just always question the legitimacy of authority no matter how it seems and to always be certain and conscious of my actions. The principles applied in this experiment are demonstrated throughout history and large travesties such as the Holocaust can be avoided if more people were to study these types of effects. Oh it also taught me to never trust men in white coats.

11 Comments

This is a great blog! I also don’t think this is something I will soon forget. I find it very scary that 66% of people would go through with this experiment. I know that people have a tendency to say they would have quit even if they wouldn’t have, but I can say with 100 % certainty that I would not have gone throw with this experiment. I have been told to do things at work by my bosses that I don’t think are right, and I have not done them. In a situation like this one I like my stubbornness would actually have been very helpful.

It is very surprising that 66% of the participants went through with the experiment when they thought they were hurting the "student". I don't think I would have gone through with this experiment either. I'm just too sympathetic for this kind of things. I liked the cartoon video, showing things in cartoons makes it more interesting. :)

This experiment brings a very scary statistic to light about human nature. I do believe that the Holocaust happened because this. It also shows the ability to brainwash and control people is ridiculously easy. Great blog!

It is very surprising that 66% of students went through with experiment are becoming kind of followers.

I would have never guessed that 2 out of 3 people would go through with this experiment. You would think that if a person knew they were doing something wrong even though someone else told them it was okay to continue on, they would stop regardless. I guess this just goes to show how obedient some people are to authority, or maybe just men in white coats. In a situation like this, you just have to do what is right.

I like how you say your stubbornness would stop you from this experiment, however, I just want to point out that not every situation is like the one presented in the experiment. One good example I can think of is from one of my favorite movies which is Valkyrie. In this movie the main character Stauffenberg is a very stubborn person when he chooses which side he wants to fight for, however, during the movie he is torn between which side to choose. If he follows Hitler he thinks his family will be safer, however, if he goes against Hitler, which he thinks is the right thing to do, he fears for his family members lives. This would no doubt be a harder decision that stubbornness and morals alone would not solve.

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This page contains a single entry by Chelsie Webb published on April 29, 2012 9:46 PM.

Obedience to authority figures, Blog 4, Jarod Aaron was the previous entry in this blog.

Classical Country is the next entry in this blog.

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