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Milgram: Obedience to Authority

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94 Comments

  1. Isaac Ribeiro-Rosas says:

    This experiment demonstrates how far we’ll go obeying authority. Its crazy how the teacher knew it was wrong but continued anyway, and its like he was afraid of the consequences if he stopped. Theres a certain point where it goes too far and as we all have a conscious, we know from right or wrong, and to speak up and not be afraid to “speak up”.

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  2. Blanca says:

    Every time I watch this video, I am absolutely astonished at the acts members of society will partake in if they feel there is an authority figure present telling them what to do even if those actions go against their personal values. At a certain point, you’d figure the people would have stopped when hearing the man was clearly in pain. Due to someone in a lab coat throwing commands at them, they felt the need to be subservient when there was no incentive given. Similar to the bystander effect, it seems that people are not willing to take the blame for their own actions (or lack thereof) and convince themselves that what they are doing (or not doing) is normal.

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  3. Michelle Oliveira says:

    I think that the important thing to realize is that no one is born hating someone, no one really is born with hatred in their hearts, this is most definitely learned. I think that hatred and violence are behaviors learned from observation and from “following directions.” If a white, little four-year-old American girl is told by her parents to not sit with black African Americans, she is simply obeying her parents, through her innocence she means no harm, but is actually offending many. If the same white little girl is raised in an atmosphere that mistreats others of color she is doing what she has always been taught, though it is wrong, she thinks it is right.
    Just as this little girl, many people blindly obey what others tell them to if the person giving orders is authoritative. If someone is in high power or even seems to be, this seems to be enough justification to do whatever is commanded of them. It is pretty terrifying how as humans we can turn into sheep and do whatever is asked our us when we feel under pressure. The thing we fail to remember is that anyone can put on a lab coat, an id, a uniform, and carry around a clipboard. The fact that people will answer to what they think is authority rather than what actually is, is disheartening because then anyone can put up a facade of authority and possibly get away with anything.

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  4. mendo S says:

    its ironic how all of us have been told since childhood to be obedient and responsible of our actions. Now Milgram experiments with these two specific traits. of course he was disappointed and America shocked. the question here is our conscience and our authority on it. if we can develop ourselves enough to be lead by our own conscience and be independent of the societal norms and constraints. if there are others who would take the responsibility, would you actively participate in the criminal act? it takes courage and a lot of will power to believe in yourself and to seriously think about the consequences of your actions. however in the experiment, ordinary human are shown to be under pressure to perform by the figure of ‘authority’ to which they succumb easily. our ability to think critically and act responsibly is undermined by an authoritative figure. the experiment successfully pick at our weaknesses we have acquired living in a society based on hierarchy and structure.

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  5. Laura Betancourt says:

    I’ve seen a version of this video before, a more modern one, and even then people ‘killed’ the guy because they absolved themselves from responsibility. The fact that the “teacher” guy stood up and tried to stop it was a bit different. I want to point out that the “teacher” actually asked who would be responsible if the “student” died or got hurt which was the beginning of the teacher really questioning and realizing what he was “doing”. When the guy in the lab coat “took responsibility” the teacher seemed to no longer care wether the “student” was ok or not because he thought there were no consequences. Maybe he believed the guy in the coat knew more than he did about the shocks. I t was a scary video though because the other guy “the student” would shout for them to “get me out of here!” and the “teacher” did nothing except slightly protest. The responsibility being taken away might make us feel like we wont get punished for our actions, thus we can continue but the consequences can still affect us even if somebody says they wont either then or after I think people that we believe to make decisions for us and tell us they take the responsibility for the consequences of our actions should not hold so much power over our standing on what’s good or bad and we should hold ourselves accountable to our own deeds and their consequences.

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  6. What I understand in this video is that people are willing to obey authority figures. It illustrates how authorities have power over individuals to get them to perform tasks that are not align with their own beliefs, it includes perfoming cruel acts to others.

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  7. Deslande says:

    From I’ve seen in this video, we as humans are willing to far to follow orders. It doesn’t matter if it’s going to affect to someone else’s life. Because at the end Just because that’s what ” the authority ” or ” boss ” wants us to do. We never stop to ask ourselves how well does that sit with me. Isn’t that going to affect me in some way. At the end of the day, you get to say I was just doing my job. And you won’t feel like that you need to be held accountable, although you had a role to play in it.

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  8. Moises Angulo Caraballo says:

    This video was truly shocking in regards to both power and authority. Its amazing how easily people can fall for power and how (even if this “power” is fake) it can change their personality to the extend where they no longer can differentiate right from wrong. It is also sad how obedience can be twisted into something so sadistic. I suppose this also can be seen in places such as the military etc where orders are usually not questioned and right or wrong all depends on who gives the order and who you can say ordered you to do pretty bad things.

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  9. yongting chen says:

    I feel the power of authority also somehow relate to bystander effect. Since the action we able to take are all affect by the people around us. For example, the reason why (at least that’s what I think) people able to activate the 450 volts, is not because the pressure experimenter put on them, it’s due to the amount of the responsibility they can blame to the experimenter. Because they think they are not responsible for any of the consequence, even though they heard many screams, but they automatically these blame to experimenter. They have someone else to blame, and this is the reason lead to their selfish behavior. Just like how bystander effect play into role, because we expect someone else to take on the reasonability, so we directly blame on other people for not taking any action facing the problem.

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  10. Jenny Builes says:

    This video is very interesting, a part of me believes that we learn to obey authority at a young age such as our parents so we fall into that pressure involuntary. As we get older we learn to obey the Police. Another part of me believes if this was happening to someone you know personally, this would be avoided completely, but since they are strangers there is no connection.

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  11. Fredline Gilles says:

    Watching this video makes me realize how far people will go with within the directions of authority. It is how people are brought up from birth through the course of our lives. We are taught to do as a police officer says, a teacher says, a manager of some sort of business, and many more because of their placings and rankings in society. The man was consciously aware of the harm he was causing the person at the end of the volts, but because the professor was telling him to do so, he continued on. The man had the natural tendency to realize the this was a professor, a person who holds much more knowledge than him, and knows what he is doing, so he listened. He kept on reassuring that he would not receive any consequences if the person was harmed, so if their was any that were going to be pinned against him, he can quickly jump, and say it was the professor, it’s his experiment, I was only doing what he was telling me to do. People are willing to do whatever orders are given to them by certain authorities in society. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as they realize that this is a person that has a high ranking then them in society, they will do it. Fear of repercussions play a part in it too. People seeing authority sometimes realize they have the power to to get them in trouble, so they do what they are told.

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  12. arpana says:

    I was so surprised after watching this video , increasing voltage each wrong answer.It scare me when guy told him to electrocute the participants the guy who was doing the electrocuting did! because he was told to.I can’t believe myself doing the work without having confidence it’s was done because it was said to do by other.

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  13. KaLok Kwok says:

    This is a very meaningful experiment even though I feel horrible for the first time. After I understand this experiment. I understand even a cold person who can change via the student screaming during the test. People always judge people in their angle, they never try to position themselves to the victim angle. During this test, I think sounds and tone can let the teacher knows what is their feeling. When the teacher feels enough or they don’t want to hurt the student or they understand the pains from the student, the teacher normally stands up and wanted to stop. This action means he can feel a bit of the pain from the student, and he also feels guilty that he tried to hurt people because the student didn’t give a correct answer. The other interesting thing is when the student act like passed out, and not making any sounds. The teacher feels more nervous and more guilty. He worried that he could accidently kill a person. He began not to trust the experimenter as well. We can know it because he stood up and talk to the professor. He was trying to show the experimenter could be wrong. It could kill the student. I think the teacher understand when a person acts like in bystander angle. He could feel helpless even though he is not the victim.

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  14. Shantal Petrie says:

    Sadly this short clip says that even though the ‘teachers’ felt this was wrong, i continued to inflict pain on the ‘learners’. When he asked who’s going to be responsible, and the tester said me, i though of the death penalty. I always felt that the person administrating the pain for the death penalty has to know what they are doing is wrong, but they do it anyway. Then I started thinking maybe they don’t feel responsible, but they are wrong. Just because someone is telling you to do something, doesn’t mean you have to do it. If it is a horrible situation like this, or even the death penalty, and you inflict the pain, you are just as guilty if not more than the person instructing you to do it. If someone is telling you something for you own good like maybe speaking up for yourself in a situation where you are being treated wrong, then that’s different and you should take that into consideration. That’s advice, not harm.

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  15. Jonette says:

    After seeing this video I beg the question, How far is too far and where do we draw the line of being obedient to an authority figure? What would our consequences be if we challenged authority. I think that is what most humans fear, fear for themselves first before others. It is disturbing to think that a person simply wearing a white coat can all of a sudden produce power mentally and control the emotions and thoughts of other. We see it all the time in medicine.

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  16. N K says:

    The video really leads me to ask, Should we always listen to the words of an authority figure? Where is the line between right and wrong? It makes sense that the teacher was able to keep going because (A) the learner was a complete stranger, and (B) the teacher has a “authority figure” a man in a white lab coat, telling him to continue administering a lethal dose of electric shock. The video said that 2/3 of Americans were willing to administer the lethal dosage when encouraged by an authority figure. It goes to show that obedience is not always a good thing, especially when it pertains to a human life.

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  17. FRITZA JEUDY says:

    After watching the video, the Milgram experiment, I thought it helped explain the experiences from the concentration camp of World War II- they were brutally killed by the Nazis. I think that this experiment also shows that like normal people’s obedience to superior authority commands can have an immense impact in the world; this action can even lead to the point of killing an innocent human being.

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  18. It’s a fascinating video to watch – Milgram’s experiment on obedience to authority reveals just how far an ordinary human being can go in hurting fellow humans under perceived “legitimate” authority’s orders, and how little it takes to establish such an authority (in this case, it was just a man in a white coat). Though on some level it makes sense why we as a human race would develop this instinct – it certainly helps to work more efficiently towards a common goal if everyone knows who is in charge and does not question every single order, it is still shocking to realize just how strong this instinct is and what a terrible impact it can have under the wrong circumstances.

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  19. ashley hodgdon says:

    This experiment was difficult to watch. Although you could not see the people being shocked you felt awful knowing that they were being harmed. It is absolutely insane to me that so many people are okay with hurting others simply because it is was what they are being told to do from the person in charge. Everyone knows right from wrong and also has the ability to be empathetic and yet no-one stood up for what was right and said no!

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  20. Jasmine Gray says:

    A similarity between these experiments such as the prison experiment and the learning experiment is that the people in authority positions act in ruthless ways. Put into a position for the betterment of science or psychology, it seems as though the whole purpose becomes lost. Or it seems as though the purpose is put below the desire to mistreat the subjects and put them in their place. Watching from an outside perspective as a viewer, it’s hard to relate or understand why anyone would feel that establishing dominance was more important than the safety, or even the life, of innocent test subjects. Especially considering if they were willing and kind enough to assist you in your study.

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  21. MICHELLE YIN says:

    I found this really surprising, in a way that the teacher that was experimenting knew that the ¨person¨ was getting hurt and went against his own instincts to stop because there was a scientist telling him that he would continue. I don´t understand how it works, knowing that your hurting someone but you don´t stop just because someone says it´s okay to do it. It was interesting to see how easily the man in the white coat or the scientist easily became the authority figure in this situation, and how easily the teacher was able to trust the man.

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  22. This is really eye opening. What is the root cause of why 2/3 of people would do this. Is it based solely on the fact that they have an “authority figure” telling them to do so. If so this brings up more questions such as do these people have free will to not do this. This experiment showed that we are more apt to believe in someone we view as an “authority figure” without consciousness or free will. That is quite terrifying really.

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  23. RODGE NEIMA JOSEPH says:

    I feel like this experiment was less cruel than the one they did at Stanford. The reason why it was less cruel was because the student was just an actor that wasn’t really getting shots but since the teacher did not know that it didn’t influence what he did. This experiment also shows that the only reason a person would go that far is because they would not be held accountable, as the experiment shows the teacher wanted to stop but when he was told that he wasn’t going to be the one accountable if anything really happens to the student so he felt more at ease continuing.

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  24. I think the man running the experiment had something wrong with him and no regard for human life. He just wanted to get answers and didn’t care how he got them. He abused his power and manipulated these people into participating, without telling them ahead of time what was going to happen. I felt so bad for the man being shocked, like he was helpless and pain, you could tell by his voice. The gentleman doing the shocking did not want to continue after the first shock when he realized what he was doing. But for whatever reason continued to finish out the experiment because the gentleman just kept telling him to continue. No matter who was telling me what to do unless I was being held against my will and even then its debatable I would not afflict pain on anyone.

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  25. HAOXI WANG says:

    In this video that I watched, it shows a figure of power and authority and how far a person will go to obey their commands. Personally, I understand that we as human growing up were taught to obey commands from a person of power. Like when we were first starting out we were taught to listen to our parents, then in schools to obey the teachers and make the boss happy during work. We were taught and raised to always obey and listen to the person in power and authority. I think to us, listening to commands of a power in power is basically second nature to us. Unless given a reason for us to resist and rebel against them.

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  26. Sara Davie says:

    Just because you’re told to do something doesn’t mean you always do it so why would this guy continue especially when he’s under the impression that the learner is in a great amount of pain? This man is being told to do something, not forced and just because he seeing the man in the lab coat as an authority figure he’s going to do it. The teacher knew what he was doing was wrong and he knew he didn’t want to continue so why wouldn’t he stop. You would think there’s a certain point where you’d to realize the man telling you what to do isn’t in the right anymore. I think I would’ve stopped after the first time he yelled but maybe this is one of those situation where you really don’t know until it happens.

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  27. YINGTING CHEN says:

    I first heard about Milgram’s experiment of obedience to authority in the book “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century” by Timothy Snyder. It was spoken about in the section on obedience and resistance to authority and it horrified me. I had added a note that said, “I like to think that I have a greater capacity to resist authority than the average person because of my desperate need to be the one in control and not be the one being controlled that drives so much of what I do but this is f*cking terrifying.” I do believe that to be true, even after watching this video and KNOWING the statistics. But I also know that I am just as human as the rest of them, I am no superhero with an uncanny ability to resist orders or act rationally despite influences from the people around me, I am not immune to the effects of authority or armed with the ability to resist control that pushes me to act against my morals and conscience. To think that if I am in that situation, I am prone to falling under command rather than resisting does nothing to sooth the fear that humanity is going to be the cause of its own destruction because even the wisest and kindest minds and hearts can be corrupted beyond recognition.

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  28. Kayla A says:

    For me, the most surprising part of this video is that there was no punishment for not complying with the orders, but the experiment’s subject, though uncomfortable, still did what the “authority figure” asked. It’s scary to think about the possibility of this scenario happening today and what the result would be if it was repeated in 2017. In today’s society, blind acceptance of what someone in power says, simply because they’re wearing a hypothetical lab coat is a constant reality. We assume someone must be right simply because they’re in a higher position than we are.

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  29. victor dematteo says:

    This video shows the lengths people will go with obeying authority. The teacher knew he was wrong but kept continuing on like nothing ever happened. This is where people need to be smart and show how they know right from wrong.

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  30. shakya723 says:

    After watching the video, this video was about how people obey those with authority. This allows those certain people that have authority power to uses those powers to perform acts that may seem cruel to others. I believe this experiment was made to show how in life as a child you are taught to obey those in higher authority through out society.

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  31. Cameron Selfridge says:

    Milgram’s experiment of obedience displays how the average person has difficulty speaking up against a person who is in a position of power, even if what they are being instructed to do is against their morals or inhumane. The individual shown in this video clearly did not want to keep shocking the person for incorrect answers, but trusted the man in the lab coat despite hearing the man on the other side of the wall pleading for the test to conclude because he could not deal with the pain. This is a perfect example of someone following orders blindly with no regard for their morale compass or what harm it may be inflicting. Yes, individuals should respect and listen to those in charge, but not to the extent where the purpose is unclear or unjust.

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  32. meryem dalil says:

    I’m in shock. When the pictures of Abu Gharib Prison become public, I thought, whoever did that to the prisoners can not be human, or be raised with human. Then the fact that they were solders I believed they were trained to do certain things without thinking, or having any feeling or remorse. And her we have a guy electrocuting others just because someone else is telling him to do so. It’s is scary how environment can have an impact on how we behave. The Stanford experiment is telling us that any one can become somebody else in certain environment. Any one can be Hitler, or the solders of Abu Gharib prison, if the environment is pushing to that direction. My question now is: What would I do if I was in any of these situation or to be exact environment ?

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  33. This video showed how people can right from child hood be taught how to obey authority even when their being oppressed , they choose not to get up and speak up, to demand for their proper treatment . The teacher knew they were wrong but kept on with no opposition to demand for a stop. indeed this is very disturbing

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