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Old 21 January 2008, 01:48 PM
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Default Stanley Milgram -- Obedience to Authority

Stanley Milgram conducted a variety of experiments to determine if people would yield to an authority figure (a Yale University scientist they did not know) to deliver a potentially deadly punishment (electric shock) to a stranger (an actor posing as a hapless subject of an experiment that tests whether punishment influences cognitive abilities). He found that most people in most situations would not defy the authority figure and end the experiment even when they believed they were delivering an electric shock that might be fatal.

First question: My college psychology professor claimed that there were lots of follow-on experiments conducted by other researchers, trying to alter aspects of the study (for example, by using sound instead of an electric shock), and the findings were amazingly uniform: 70% of the participants would be obedient to the end of the experiment, and this was true across cultures. I always believed him because I tend to think that cultural factors are often over-estimated when explaining or predicting human behavior. Does anyone know where I could find publications on the results of some of those other studies?

Second question: Milgram predicted (though, as of the publication of his book in 1975, he had not tested this) that people would be less compliant if the subject were a woman or a child, because social norms find that harming women and children less acceptable than harming men. Were there any studies done that tested this?
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