Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View

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9780060129385: Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View

Volunteers are invited to a scientific laboratory under the pretense of participating in a study about the effects of punishment on learning. They are instructed by an experimenter to administer an electric shock of increasing intensity every time a 'learner', strapped to an electric conductor, makes a mistake. How many, if any, would go right up the scale to 450 Volts? The implications of Stanley Milgram's extraordinary findings (up to 65 per cent of subjects administered the full shock) are devastating. From the Holocaust to Vietnam and Iraq, Obedience to Authority goes some way towards explaining how ordinary people can commit the most horrific of crimes if placed under the influence of a malevolent authority. With a new foreword by Jerome Bruner.

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In the 1960s Stanley Milgram carried out a series of experiments in which human subjects were given progressively more painful electro-shocks in a careful calibrated series to determine to what extent people will obey orders even when they knew them to be painful and immoral-to determine how people will obey authority regardless of consequences. These experiments came under heavy criticism at the time but have ultimately been vindicated by the scientific community. This book is Milgram′s vivid and persuasive explanation of his methods.

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A masterpiece. -- New Statesman

Brilliant. -- Psychology Today

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