Stanley Milgram's Behavioral Study

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People are seen to do atrocious things when they are told to by authoritative figures. The question is why; why would a seemingly non-violent person do something that acts against their morality which they would not normally do had it not been for orders from a person in power (“Obeying and Following Malevolent Orders” 1)? In Stanley Milgram’s “Behavioral Study of Obedience” experiment the research indicates that authority figures can cause the average person to commit violence of any kind. Blind-obedience is a phenomenon perpetuated by people in authoritarian rule in their field (scientist, governments, etc.) to keep people doing what that power wants. This blind-obedience causes individuals to generally obey those in power because they are…show more content…
Throughout this paper, I will look at how obedience plays a role in society and how authority figures can cause the average person to act in such inhumane ways. Text BoxText BoxMilgram defines obedience as “psychological mechanism that links individual action to political purpose.” In other words, it is the essence of what holds people to systems (Milgram 116). The foundations of our societies need obedience; it is the way our laws are governed, for example ‘do not shoplift.’ If you break that rule there are consequences to be paid, and people will comply with authority to catch the thief so they may be punished for their wrongdoings. In the end, this creates a stable and functioning society and is an example of good obedience. When authority, however, takes advantage of their position it is no longer good obedience on the citizen’s part. The study of obedience and the use of that data for application in greater scopes of human blind-obedience is an issue in psychology. Diane Baumrind, clinical and developmental psychologist, sees the fault in using the study to…show more content…
Gina Perry of Discover magazine found this linking to be valid, “Milgram stressed the connection between Nazi functionaries like Eichmann and the subjects in his lab. His findings appeared to demonstrate that ordinary people would inflict pain on someone else simply because someone in authority told them to” (Perry 1). We are conformist people and often find it difficult to stray from the masses because “behaviour is contagious, modeled by one followed by another. We follow behavior of others to conform” (“Social Psychology” 17). The vast majority are constantly going with the flow, following whoever seems to know what is happening or is staying calm. It not only makes it easier for those following along, but also makes it easier to assign blame because they are not responsible for thinking for themselves and therefore are not active participants in the situation. This alleviation of guilt is what allows for continuation of such actions until complete desensitization occurs with belief that all one is simply following orders. “Once a person merges with an authority who gives the orders . . . even though he might be doing inhumane things that are “alien to his nature” he feels “virtually

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