This is distressing. I had thought that there was a reasonable argument to be made that adults in modern society are a lot more individualistic and skeptical of authority than in the early 1960s. Apparently that was just wishful thinking on my part.

3 thoughts on “Milgram

  1. People might be more skeptical of authority, but not necessarily skeptical of what’s going on around them.

    “They tend to identify massively with the ‘experimenter’, and become very engaged and distracted by the research”

    And the evidence for that is overwhelming: how many (reasonably) smart people were similarly “distracted” in their daily work at investment banks? Some must have known that their activities were logically threadbare (and ethically, something altogether more so).

    But they still keyed in their nonsense bets.

  2. truely distressing, as well as the fact that an ethcal comission allowed the repetition of the experiment. Well, certainly less distressing than the existence of something like Guantanamo.

  3. I’m not sure this is a fair comparisson with the original experiment. I assume at some point all the volunteers were more or less asked “have you heard of the Milgram test”, and only those who had not were asked to participate. It’s likely that those who have heard of the test are more interested in moral or ethical dilemmas and arguably more likely to refuse to shock the actor.

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