Friday, January 09, 2009

The Milgram obediance experiment reenacted.

Researchers at Santa Clara university led by Jerry Burger reenacted Milgram's experiment and found that the percentage of people ready to inflict harm on others in order to follow orders from authority is still the same, more than 40 years later, although the funding and the new ethics rules for the experiment have drastically changed. It was privately funded and the upper limit for the number of volts received by the 'learner' were limited, not for the sake of the 'learner' (who actually did not receive any shock) but for the sake of the psychological welfare of the 'teacher-torturer'.

Below you will find five videos showing the most important parts of the original Milgram experiment.




PART IV The 'Teacher' here was very obediant, even though he had doubts.

PART V.Here the attitudes of the subjects are analysed. The importance of the group in the interpretation is stressed. But this was the conceptual frame for the interpretation after the horrors of WWII. However, I think we should move beyond this frame of interpretation and examine the importance of one on one interindividual relationships in shaping people's ethical decisions, factors such as loyalty to an individual, friendship, personal reward, and the image of the self the other contributes to shape in our mind. Clearly, the Abu Ghraib horrors, and especially the example of Lyndie England's involvement in them, encompassed both the group and the interindividual relationship aspects in wanting to harm others for the sake of following orders from an authority figure.

1 comment:

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