Study Shows that 62% of us are Killers

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Many years ago, Stanley Milgram, a graduate student under Solomon Asch, wanted to conduct a study on the sources of destructive obedience. He played around with different scenarios to conduct his study. He finally found one that worked which involved a test subject being told by a man in a white lab coat to ask questions to an actor (unknown to the test subject) and give them an electric shock for a wrong answer. During this study, Milgram and his associates predicted that only .1% would administer the "450 Volts" shock; this shock would indeed kill you. After finishing his study, Milgram was dumbfounded by his results that a whopping 62% of participants in the study administered the 450 Volt shock.

Now you may think that his results are complete nonsense because who in their right mind would kill someone just because they are being told to by a man in a white lab coat? I thought the same thing but this shows that a majority of us fall prey to people in authority and peer pressure. This man in the lab coat looks totally official and we wouldn't want to disappoint him and ruin the study, right? Of course not, we want to give him the results he wants and fit in because we are afraid of discrimination or consequences for not following orders.


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Great post! I also thought that this study was incredibly shocking. To be honest, I have no idea what I would do in that type of situation. I would like to think that I would say "no" to the researcher and leave, but these stats are so crazy that I really have no idea how I would react. I think that the majority of people (like us) do not think that we would administer the full 450 volts, but in reality 62% of us actually would. These stats are crazy, and really made me think about how I would react if placed in this situation.

This study was maybe one of the most disturbing things I've heard in a long time, even after listening to Call Me Maybe. Before this study, like everyone else, I considered the idea of being forced to kill someone ridiculous. However, after this article and seeing the study in class, I reevaluated my thinking. If I were in this situation, I would like to think that I would stop immediately, but after a couple of the personality studies I've done for REP points, I have found that I am very trusting of people. Therefore, I would assume that the scientists knew what they were doing and that the law would not permit them to do something awful like this. So, I might be inclined to administer more shocks then I would like to hope. Bottom line is that I'm very happy I know about this so I will never fall for this test.

Watching this study in action during Discussion was very shocking. It's amazing what some people do when pressured under higher authority. Even I sometimes fall under the pressure and listen to others who have some sort of authority position. I think grade school and growing up always paying attention and listening to someone else plays a large factor in this experiment.

Good post. It is very shocking to see people do this. I look at that experiment and say that I would never put someone through that even when a guy in a white coat is telling me to. But in reality this experiment causes questions about what I would really do.

To borch183,the reason they did press the button was because the guy in the white coat was telling him too. The subject had no reason to believe scientist would try to kill someone so they might have thought of it as a trick.

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This page contains a single entry by zydow003 published on April 23, 2012 12:48 AM.

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