Social Psychology Research 8 – Term Paper Example

Milgram (Teacher/Learner Experiment) Introduction Milgramss research on teacher/learner experiment focused on the conflict between personal conscience and obedience to authority. Individual subjects were randomly recruited in response to a newspaper ad from various occupations to participate in a psychology experiment that was aimed at investigating learning and memory. The research was conducted in the old campus of Yale University. The roles played by teachers and learners were assigned to the participants and the respondents were informed that the main objective of the study was to study how punishment could affect the learning ability of the learners. Teachers were to administer electronic shocks to learners who answered questions incorrectly and silence was treated as an incorrect answer (Nevid & Rathus, 2010).
Pastorino & Doyle-Portillo (2006) explain that during the experiment, the participants became distressed and upset while others became upset at the end of the experiment when they realized the consequences of their actions. After the experiment, participants were debriefed and it was evident that they were so relieved when they found they had not harmed the student. Some of the obedient participants justified themselves by blaming the experimenter for their harmful actions while others blamed the learner claiming that he was stubborn and stupid and hence deserved the punishment. However, other obedient participants blamed themselves for the bad act. This group represents individuals who are most likely capable of challenging the authority if they come across such a situation in the future. Some of the rebelling participants felt like the authority were intimidating them (Cnr.berkeley.edu, 2003).
Through Milgramss experiment, the participants realized that they were in a position of harming others in response to the authority. This experiment has become a typical in psychology, revealing the danger of authority. Milgrams research is considered a deceptive research that is dangerous because it can harm the reputation of individuals and the society as a whole. According to the finding of the research, it appears that the average person is willing to obey the orders of the authority even if it means hurting others. Some researchers have referred to this type of obedience as destructive obedience because it leads to harming others. However, Miligrams research on personal conscience and obedience to authority does not mean that all obedience is bad because there are many instances where obedience is good. For example, people should obey authority in the society by observing the established law, or else be charged by the law (Pastorino & Doyle-Portillo, 2006).
References
Cnr.berkeley.edu, (2003). Milgram’s Experiment on Obedience to Authority. Retrieved from http://www.cnr.berkeley.edu/ucce50/ag-labor/7article/article35.htm
Nevid, J. S., & Rathus, S. A. (2010). Psychology and the challenges of life: Adjustment and growth. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Pastorino, E., & Doyle-Portillo, S. (2006). What is psychology? Australia: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.