September 11, 2023
The Milgram Experiments on obedience to authority figures was a series of social psychology experiments conducted by Yale University psychologist - Stanley Milgram.
They measured the willingness of study participants, men from a diverse range of occupations with varying levels of education, to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts conflicting with their personal conscience. Participants were led to believe that they were assisting in an unrelated experiment, in which they had to administer electric shocks to a “learner”. These fake electric shocks gradually increased to levels that would have been fatal had they been real.
The experiment found, unexpectedly, that a very high proportion of subjects would fully obey the instructions, albeit reluctantly. Milgram first described his research in a 1963 article in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology and later discussed his findings in greater depth in his 1974 book, Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View.