Monday, September 29, 2008

False premise of Milgram Experiment

Stanley Milgram from Yale conducted this experiment

In the experiment the participant was lead to believe he is teaching someone by electric shock. Another guy, the experimenter, will try to assure the participant that the student he is teaching is OK and let the participant continue on with higher voltages to shock the "student" for each wrong answer.

After seeing a large number of people who failed to stop the experiment and just follow the orders of the experimenter.

After reading about this on the forge, I was surprised. But last night when I thought about what I would do if I was the participant, I realize the test was flawed. Every human has a sub conciseness, and we are smart enough to take cues from our environments. When the student (the one that was supposed to be shocked) was only banning on the walls but didn't say anything else, i.e "STOP!", it implies that he can take more. And it is human nature to explore the untested. The participant, who was lead to believe that he is given some one electric shocks, would start to question the effectiveness of the shock, and experiment to see where is the tester's limit (as long as the student is not objecting verbally, it is a cue to him that he can continue).

And I am suspecting that Stanley initially let the "student" to give verbal demands to stop, but all participants stopped, so to make the test a success, Stanley just let the "student" to ban on the wall.

So indeed, somethings might not be what they look like.

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