Conformity and Obedience

The man who would not push the button LINK - this is story by the volunteer who took part in Stanley Milgram's experiment, in his own words about what happened that day


Milgram (1963): Behavioral Study of Obedience

Predicted Results

RESULTS: 65% obeyed fully


Do these effects occur in "real life"?

Hofling et al. (1966)

Results: 21 out of 22 nurses (95.5%) followed the doctor's orders.

Bushman (1988)

return to top of lecture

Topics for Discussion:

return to top of lecture

Sherif (1937) A Study of Some Social Factors in Perception

return above

2. Asch (1951) Effects of Group Pressure upon the Modification and Distortion of Judgment


WHY do people conform in this situation?

return to top of lecture

Schachter (1951). The Johnny Rocco Study

Students participated in groups concerning how to best treat a young juvenile delinquent (Johnny Rocco)

Three of the students were confederates who played the role of:

The amount of time spent talking to each member and liking for each member was measured.

Results: S's spent the most time talking to the slider & deviate until it the slider changed and it was clear the deviate would not change. S's liked the conforming members best (particularly the slider). All S's disliked the deviate the most.

Not all normative influence comes from the presence of actual persons: Social norms exist. These are the rules a group has acceptable behaviors and beliefs.

"The results raise the possibility that ... American democratic society cannot be counted on to insulate its citizens from brutality and inhumane treatment at the direction of malevolent authority. A substantial proportion of people do what they are told to do, irrespective of the content of the act and without limitations of so long as they perceive that the command comes from a legitimate authority. If in this study an anonymous experimenter could substantially command adults to subdue a fifty-year-old man, and force on him painful [and potentially lethal] electric shocks against his protests, one can only wonder what government, with its vastly greater authority and prestige, can command of its subjects."

Dr. Stanley Milgram, American social psychologist, 1968, summarising his landmark series of experiments testing obedience to authority

return above

Summary and Conclusions

return to the top of the lecture

Nota Bene: Why this page was webbed

This page was webbed, because this long time activist wished to understand this also, as I found that Scientology and the Third Reich have a great deal in common, so much so, that this writer believes that Scientology's founder L Ron Hubbard copied many of the same techniques used to build the Nazi mind control machinery. See the page Books Scared Them. I recently found that Mr.Milgram, in correspondence with Milton Erikson, said that he originally decided to do this study in order to understand how the atrocities of of Third Reich could come to pass.

Realted Stanley Milgram Links

Spiked Humor Video a dramatization of The Milgram Experiment [LINK]

Scientology Without End,by Tom Voltz about the relation of Milgram Experiment to Scientology