Questioning the Milgram Experiment

It appeared that sixty-five percent of people would torture someone to death, if pressured to do so. The results made their way into both psychology and cocktail party conversation. But were they correct? At least one woman doesn't think so. Gina Perry, for her book, Behind the Shock Machine, traced as many participants in the Milgram experiment as she could, and re-examined the notes of the experiment. Milgram claimed that seventy-five percent of the participants believed in the reality of the experiment, but Perry puts the number at about half. The change makes a big difference in the results. The people who didn't buy that they were actually shocking people were far more willing to increase the intensity of the shocks. They wanted to know how far the experimenters would go in the ruse, while the experimenters were wondering the same thing about them. Those that believed that they were shocking people were much more likely to keep the shocks down low. While Perry still thinks about a third of the people would crank up the shocks even if they believed, that's a big drop in overall percentage. While no one can deny that people can do some terrible things, perhaps, overall, people are neither as evil or gullible as we imagine.


These questions raise an even greater objection to the validity of the experiment. If the results cannot be reproduced, because the experiment was unethical, then we shouldn't cite it a evidence of anything every. Science demands reproducible results, and without replication we do not have evidence.

Folksonomies: psychology ethics

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Stanford prison experiment (0.984800): website | dbpedia | freebase | yago
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 How many people really went through with the Milgram Experiment?
Electronic/World Wide Web>Internet Article:  Inglis-Arkell, Esther (06/09/2013), How many people really went through with the Milgram Experiment?, io9, Retrieved on 2013-06-10
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  • Folksonomies: psychology ethics