Monday, May 05, 2008

The Milgram Experiment

The Milgram experiment was a series of seminal social psychology experiments conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram in the 1960's, which measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience.

In his 1974 article, "The Perils of Obedience" Milgram summarized the experiment:

'Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.'

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