high in control ( can establish cause and effect) but it lacks ecological validity and is difficult to generalise to real life
AIM; to investigate whether ordinary people would
obey an unjust order from a legitamate authority
figure, even when required to injure an innocent
took place at yale university, tested
ordinary americans from all
therefore it was a controlled setting (yale)
but it only looked at americans so it could be biased.
40 male volunteers told theyre
taking part in a study on the role of
punishment on learning.
the participants were decieved as they were actually being studied on obedience
this is an ethical issue; DECEPTION and
its also biased as only 40 males were
used, no females and they were all white.
therefore it isnt a good reresentation of
the target population.
participants had the role of the 'teacher' and
were told the 'learner' had to memories word
pairs the teacher then tested the learner on
their ability to recall these.
the learner was a confederate
this is another ethical issue; DECEPTION.
the teacher and learner were
in different rooms and the
learner would indicate choice
of answer using system of
lights. teachers were told to
administer electric shocks of
increasing voltage up to 450v
to the learner each time the
answer was incorrect.
these shocks were fake. this is again an ethical issue. this
is not only DECEPTION, but could also cause mental harm
to the participant (ethical guideline protection of
participants broken) as they actually believe they're
harming an innocent person and they may feel guilt
following the study.
the experimenter overseeing this
experiment was wearing a lab coat. when
the 'teacher' began to question the
experimenter encouraged with 4 prods.
the lab coat gave a sense of authority
which made the participant more likely to
the prods used were;
please continue/ go on
the experiment requires you to continue
its absolutely essential that you continue
you have no other choice
you must go on.
this is again an ethical issue
as it removes the participants
right to withdraw.
all the participants went to atleast 300v on the shock generator.
65% of participants went to the end of the shock generator.
this suggests that ordinary people are obedient to
authority, even when asked to behave in a unhumane
this suggests its not only evil people who commit atrocities but ordinary people who obey orders.
as its a lab experiment it
therefore has low ecological
this study bears little resemblence to real
life situations as its in a controlled lab at
its artificial and
unrealistic as in real life
they may be asked to
obey orders but not
shock an innocent
therefore this is a weakness as the results cant be generalise to real life.
as the setting is in a lab, participants may
have shown demand characteristics and
the study may have low internal validity.
ORNE AND HOLLAND claimed the
participants were 'going along with the
act' and the argued that the
participants did not believe they were
gving real shocks and they were not
this is a limitation as if
this is the case
milgrams conclusons are
milgram broke the ethical guidelines
of informed consent and deception
milgrams participant did not know the true purpose of the experiment as
they thought that the study was investigating the effects of pushiment on
learning rather than obedience.
this is a limitation as it could cause
lasting damage to the particioants and
also damages the reputation of
another ethical guideline is the protection of participants.
its claimed that harm could have resulted from the stress of carrying out the instructors
orders and harming the learner. the participant ofte trembled, stuttered and showed
this is a limiation as theres possible long term
psychological effects of learning that they had been willing
to give someone potentially life shocks.