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If Hitler Asked You to Electrocute a Stranger, Would You? Probably

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posted on Mar, 11 2004 @ 07:20 PM
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This has to do with social obedience and control...so I put this in NWO...?
Excerpts from the article by Philip Meyer on Milgram experiments. Bit of a long read, but very interesting...type in italics is my own commentary on the sections.
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The experiment worked like this: If you were an innocent subject in Milgram's melodrama, you read an ad in the newspaper or received one in the mail asking for volunteers for an educational experiment. The job would take about an hour and pay $4.50. So you make an appointment and go to an old Romanesque stone structure on High Street with the imposing name of The Yale Interaction Laboratory. It looks something like a broadcasting studio. Inside, you meet a young, crew-cut man in a laboratory coat who says he is Jack Williams, the experimenter. There is another citizen, fiftyish, Irish face, an accountant, a little overweight, and very mild and harmless looking. This other citizen seems nervous and plays with his hat while the two of you sit in chairs side by side and are told that the $4.50 checks are yours no matter what happens. Then you listen to Jack Williams explain the experiment.
It is about learning, says Jack Williams in a quiet, knowledgeable way. Science does not know much about the conditions under which people learn and this experiment is to find out about negative reinforcement. Negative reinforcement is getting punished when you do something wrong, as opposed to positive reinforcement which is getting rewarded when you do something right. The negative reinforcement in this case is electric shock. You notice a book on the table, titled, The Teaching-Learning Process, and you assume that this has something to do with the experiment.
Then Jack Williams takes two pieces of paper, puts them in a hat, and shakes them up. One piece of paper is supposed to say, "Teacher," and the other, "Learner." Draw one and you will see which you will be. The mild-looking accountant draws one, holds it close to his vest like a poker player, looks at it, and says, "Learner". You look at yours. It says, "Teacher". You do not know that the drawing is rigged, and both slips say "Teacher". The experimenter beckons to the mild-mannered "learner".
"Want to step right in here and have a seat, please?" he says. "You can leave your coat on the back of that chair...roll up your right sleeve, please. Now what I want to do is strap down your arms to avoid excessive movement on your part during the experiment. This electrode is connected to the shock generator in the next room.
"And this electrode paste," he says, squeezing some stuff out of a plastic bottle and putting it on the man's arm, "is to provide a good contact and to avoid a blister or burn. Are there any questions now before we go into the next room?"
You don't have any, but the strapped-in "learner" does. "I do think I should say this," says the learner. "About two years ago I was in the veterans' hospital...they detected a heart condition. Nothing serious, but as long as I'm having these shocks, how strong are they--how dangerous are they?"
Williams, the experimenter, shakes his head casually. "Oh, no," he says. "Although they may be painful, they're not dangerous. Anything else?"
Nothing else. And so you play the game. The game is for you to read a series of word pairs: for example, blue-girl, nice-day, fat-neck. When you finish the list, you read just the first word in each pair and then a multiple-choice list of four other words, including the second word of the pair. The learner, from his remote, strapped-in position, pushes one of four switches to indicate which of the four answers he thinks is the right one. If he gets it right, nothing happens and you go on to the next one. If he gets it wrong, you push a switch that buzzes and gives him an electric shock. And then you go on to the next word. You start with 15 volts and increase the number of volts by 15 for each wrong answer. The control board goes from 15 volts on one end to 450 volts on the other. So that you know what you are doing, you get a test-shock yourself, at 45 volts. It hurts. To further keep you aware of what you are doing to that man in there, the board has verbal descriptions of the shock levels, ranging from "Slight Shock" at the left-hand side, through "Intense Shock" in the middle, to "Danger: Severe Shock" toward the far right. Finally, at the very end, under 435- and 450-volt switches, there are three ambiguous X's. If, at any point, you hesitate, Mr. Williams calmly tells you to go on. If you still hesitate, he tells you again.

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Basically, the REAL object of the experiment was to find the shock level at which the person would disobey the experimenter and refuse to pull the switch. Most psychology majors asked about possible results thought that some would break it off early, most in the middle, and few towards the end, voltage wise. All agreed, the highest estimated number of people who would go all the way to 450 volts was 3. Milgram hypothesized that Germans have a readiness to obey authority without question, more so than other people. He intended to experiment first in the USA, then in Germany. It was based on the fact that so many followed Hitler during the second world war.

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In his pilot experiments, Milgram used Yale students as subjects. Each of them pushed the shock switches, one by one, all the way to the end of the board.
So he rewrote the script to include some protests from the learner. At first they were mild, gentlemanly, Yalie protests, but "it didn't seem to have as rash effect as I thought it would or should," Milgram recalls. "So we had [some] violent protestation on the part of the person getting the shock...but simply to generate disobedience. And that was one of the first findings. This was not only a technical deficiency of the experiment, that we didn't get disobedience. It really was the first finding: that obedience would be much greater than we had assumed it would be and disobedience would be more difficult than we had assumed."
The only meaningful way to generate disobedience was to have the victim protest with great anguish, noise, and vehemence. The protests were tape-recorded so that all the teachers ordinarily would hear the same sounds and nuances, and they started with a grunt at 75 volts, proceeded through a "Hey, that really hurts," at 125 volts, got desperate with, "I can't stand the pain--don't do that," at 180 volts, reached complaints of heart trouble at 195, an agonized scream at 285, a refusal to answer at 315, and only heartrending, ominous silence after that.
Still, 65 percent of the subjects, 20- to 50-year old American males, everyday, ordinary people, like you and me, obediently kept pushing those levers in the belief that they were shocking the mild-mannered learner, whose name was Mr. Wallace, and who was chosen for the role because of his innocent appearance, all the way up to 450 volts.

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Even then, there wasn't enough disobedience, so the script had to be rewritten.
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He put the learner in the same room with the teacher. He stopped strapping the learner's hand down. He rewrote the script so that at 150 volts the learner took his hand off the shock plate and declared that he wanted out of [the] experiment. He rewrote the script some more so that the experimenter then told the teacher to grasp the learner's hand and physically force it down on the plate to give Mr. Wallace his unwanted electric shock.

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Milgram felt that hardly any people would go on after this, and it would be the absolute limit..he was wrong.
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Milgram tried (the new version) with 40 different subjects. And 30 percent of them obeyed the experimenter and kept on obeying.
"The protests of the victim were strong and vehement, he was screaming his guts out, he refused to participate, and you had to physically struggle with him in order to get his hand down on the shock generator," Milgram remembers. But 12 out of 40 did it.

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Milgrim said that by nature humans are obedient, and do what they are told without (quoting milgram) "limitation of conscience, so long as they percieve that the command comes from a legitimate authority. If, in this study, an anonymous experimenter can successfully command adults to subdue a 50-year old man and force on him painful electric shocks against his protest, one can only wonder what government, with its vastly greater authority and prestige, can command of its subjects".
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"It's quite true," he says, "that this is almost a philosophic position, becase we have learned that some people are psychologically incapable of disengaging themselves. But that doesn't relieve them of the moral responsibility."
After the series of experiments was completed, Milgram sent a report of the results to his subjects and a questionnaire, asking whether they were glad or sorry to have been in the experiment. Eighty-three and seven-tenths percent said they were glad and only 1.3 percent were sorry; 15 percent were neither sorry nor glad. However, Milgram could not be sure at the time of the experiment that only 1.3 percent would be sorry.
One thing that happened to Milgram back in New Haven during the days of the experiment was that he kept running into people he'd watched from behind the one-way glass. It gave him a funny feeling, seeing those people going about their everyday business in New Haven and knowing what they would to to Mr Wallace if ordered to.
---------------End--

So...couple questions if you read through it. Why do you think people are so willing to obey, and what would you have done if you were a participant in this experiment?


[Edited on 11-3-2004 by Shoktek]




posted on Mar, 11 2004 @ 07:55 PM
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83% of the people said they were glad shocking the # out of that guy?
Thats just sick.

I cant believe someone would willingly inflict pain on a complete stranger... oh wait, yes I can. I know a lot of people that would do this, sad as it sounds.

As for what I would do? I personally would stop the moment I thought he was in pain. I hate voilence, so going on any more would go against my moral code.

Ugh, I cant get the fact that 83% of the people were GLAD they caused this man pain.



posted on Mar, 11 2004 @ 07:57 PM
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Personally, I would probably go along with it for a while, but would stop once the guy seemed to be in any pain or said anything...you have to remember they thought they were testing negative reinforcement, and they were paid, and told that it couldnt harm the person...but yea, I dont think I would have continued for very long.



posted on Mar, 11 2004 @ 08:08 PM
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One question, and I guess it's a given....

I take it the "Teacher" wasn't able to actually see the "Learner" during this?

Not being able to see the victim, makes it much easier to be detached from his suffering.... If this is the case, and I think it is, it's a rather poor experiment to test what he's looking for, as I'd wager the majority of the participants thought (correctly) that it was really THEM being tested, and so surmised that there wasn't anyone actually getting shocked....

Personally, I'd need more than $4.50 for an hour of my time, hehe....



posted on Mar, 11 2004 @ 08:18 PM
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Originally posted by Gazrok
I take it the "Teacher" wasn't able to actually see the "Learner" during this?


It says during the revised experiment they are both in the same room, and the "learner" would wail and say that he wanted to stop and lift his hand from the shock plate, while the "teacher" was encouraged to physically force his hand onto the plate to invoke shock...12 out of 40 still did this. so yes, they did see in this part

And in the other ones, the teacher could hear the learner's cries and agony, etc...but still you have to think, someone could be asked to pull a lever for a gas chamber to kill many people and not actually see it or experience the people's suffering...yet they would know it is wrong and still do it.



posted on Mar, 11 2004 @ 08:52 PM
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I read about this experiment while studying psychology at college.

Many subjects needed counciling after the test to cope with the after effects and it was also the main reason the code of ethics in psychological research was implimented.



posted on Mar, 11 2004 @ 09:09 PM
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I remember this from my psychology classes as well. It's pretty scary to know how much our perceptiosn bend and twist in a group, or when someone who knows anything about the mind decides to play with them...

DE



posted on Mar, 11 2004 @ 09:13 PM
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Originally posted by DeusEx
I remember this from my psychology classes as well. It's pretty scary to know how much our perceptiosn bend and twist in a group, or when someone who knows anything about the mind decides to play with them...

DE


Worse stuff than this has gone on. If this kind of experiement has been done by research scientists I dread to think how the military have used the results or expanded the research.



posted on Mar, 11 2004 @ 09:15 PM
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Originally posted by Crash Test Monkey
Worse stuff than this has gone on. If this kind of experiement has been done by research scientists I dread to think how the military have used the results or expanded the research.


Oh, you can bet they have mastered almost any method of messing with someone's mind. I wouldn't want to be saddam right now...



posted on Mar, 11 2004 @ 11:23 PM
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What a nasty bunch of bastards these people are. No wonder Hitler had no problems getting his SS to murder millions. That's fecking scary. And to answer the question, there is no way I could do it - not even if I had Bush, Blair or bin Laden plugged in. Thats just inhuman.



posted on Mar, 12 2004 @ 12:22 AM
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$4.50 an hour, to shock the hell out of someone?

I'll do that #



posted on Mar, 12 2004 @ 09:36 AM
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It says during the revised experiment they are both in the same room, and the "learner" would wail and say that he wanted to stop and lift his hand from the shock plate, while the "teacher" was encouraged to physically force his hand onto the plate to invoke shock...12 out of 40 still did this. so yes, they did see in this part


Damn....now THAT is bad.... Personally, when the Learner said stop, that'd be it for me... Maybe the Teachers expected a surprise bonus...???



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