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Groups & Obedience The Milgram Experiment. Sociology Ms. Blackhurst. Today’s Plan. Turn in “Status and Roles” Worksheet from Wednesday Warm-up: PICK UP A COPY OF “THE SCIENCE OF EVIL” FROM THE FRONT DESK!!! Complete the reading & question activity on the Milgram & Stanford Experiments.

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Presentation Transcript
today s plan
Today’s Plan
  • Turn in “Status and Roles” Worksheet from Wednesday


  • PICK UP A COPY OF “THE SCIENCE OF EVIL” FROM THE FRONT DESK!!!Complete the reading & question activity on the Milgram & Stanford Experiments.

Class work:

  • ABC Primetime Special “The Science of Evil”
  • Note/Question Activity
  • 8 more school days until Spring Break!!!!
warm up
  • What would it take to make you do something that you normally would not?
  • Why do people do stupid things when joining a frat during pledge week?
reason for the activity yesterday
Reason for the Activity Yesterday
  • Sociologists study groups of people, not just individuals
  • Where you fit in a group can change how others act when they are with you
  • Were you the leader? The teacher? The submissive group member?
  • This experiment shows how people react when they are given a new social status and social role.
primetime basic instincts video the science of evil
Primetime Basic Instincts Video “The Science of Evil”
  • 'Primetime' Re-Creates a Famous Experiment to Understand How Ordinary People Can Perform Unthinkable Acts
  • Most of us have struggled to understand how seemingly ordinary people can sometimes do morally questionable things.
  • Do you have to be an evil person to do evil things?
primetime basic instincts video the science of evil on a separate sheet of paper do the following
Primetime Basic Instincts Video “The Science of Evil”On a separate sheet of paper, do the following:
  • Take Notes to compare & contrast the 1960’s experiment with the new experiment
  • What were the findings of the new experiment?
  • List & explain two examples from history and current events where the accused people have defended themselves with “I was just doing my job.”
objectives outcomes
Objectives/ Outcomes:
  • Discuss the need for conformity in a society within the context of the problems that can arise with following norms blindly.
  • Identify and explain the relationship between norms and laws in society and the society’s values.
  • Observe conditions in controlled environments and explain the relationship between training and the following of norms in a given society.
  • Compare and contrast theories of crowd behavior
milgram s obedience experiment
Early 1960’s

Yale social psychologist

Dr. Stanley Milgram


Obedience to Authority vs. Personal Conscience

Milgram’s Obedience Experiment
experiment question
Experiment Question
  • Can a group cause a person to physically punish a victim with severity despite the victim’s pleas for mercy?
  • Milgram’s research answered “yes” to this question.
  • Peer Pressure can cause people to treat others in ways they otherwise would not!
experiment design
Research teams

Experimenter and learner are “in” on the experiment

Teachers are not

Teacher is instructed to shock the learner each time the learner gets an answer incorrect

Learner is an actor who is told to get all answers wrong

Experiment Design
experiment design1
Generator has 30 switches in 15 volt increments labeled from 15 volts to 405 volts

Also labeled ranging from slight shock to danger: severe shock

Experiment Design
experiment design2
Experiment Design
  • As the learner answered the questions incorrectly, the teacher was encouraged to increase the power of the shock.
  • Even as learners protested, the teacher, under the direction of the experimenter, increased the shocks.
  • The learners did not really feel the shocks. They were acting but the teachers did not know it.
experiment design3
Experiment Design
  • As shocks became stronger, the learner “grunted, protested, and finally demanded that the experiment stop.”
  • Learner also shouted “I can’t stand the pain!”
  • The teachers asked the experimenters if they should continue and when told yes, they did continue with the shocks!
experiment results
Experiment Results
  • 65% of the teachers punished the learners to the maximum 420 volts.
  • No teacher stopped before reaching 300 volts!
  • People, just like you and me, shocked others because they were “following orders” and obeying an authority figure.
experiment results1
Experiment Results
  • Milgram set up a control group in which there was not an experimenter in the room with the teacher.
  • Shock voltage was much lower in this control group.
  • Thus group pressure heavily influenced the level of shock administration in the experiment.
graph illustrating levels of shock voltage
Graph illustrating levels of shock voltage
  • What conclusion can we draw from this graph?
  • We did not need Milgram to tell us that we have a tendency to obey orders.
  • But what we did not know before Milgram's experiments was just how powerful this tendency is.
  • And having been enlightened about our extreme readiness to obey authorities, we can try to take steps to guard against unwelcome or reprehensible commands.
  • Many professions have taken heed of Milgram's work.
  • The US army, for example, now incorporates his findings into its education of officers in order to illuminate the issue of following unethical orders.
  • However, it is not clear that medicine has truly understood the implications of Milgram's work.
  • How often are doctors or medical students in the position of having to obey "orders" or implicit expectations in hospitals or clinics, when they are uneasy about the ethics of doing so?
was it ethical
Was it ethical?
  • Teacher subjects were encouraged to hurt others even when they expressed concern about it
  • How did it affect them to hear the screams and pleas of the learners and to think that they were real?
how do groups influence our behavior
How do groups influence our behavior?
  • Have you ever been “egged on” by the crowd?
  • Or done anything just because everyone else did?
  • Have you ever done something that you normally would not because you were “following orders?”