Replicating Milgram: People are still willing to obey authority and inflict pain

A 2009 article from Cognitive Daily described a replication of Milgram’s classic obedience to authority study.

In that study, participants played the role of “teachers” asked to give electric shocks to “students” during what appeared to be a learning experiment. The key finding was that people were surprisingly willing to obey and give increasing levels of electric shock.

Nobody thought the study could ever be repeated because of ethical concerns, but now it has been done.

And the results? People are still willing to obey.


Would we still obey? The first replication of Milgram’s work in over 30 years

Seventy percent were willing to continue past the 150-volt mark, prompting the experimenter to halt the study. This result was statistically indistinguishable from Milgram’s.

Now there has been a more recent replication from researchers in Poland:

Just like Milgram, and other replication attempts in the US and elsewhere, the team found the majority (90 per cent in this case) of “teachers” were willing to continue to the highest shock level, even after hearing screams of pain from the “learner”.

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