The Effects of Authority: The Milgrim Experiment
By: Barry Belmont

If you want to feel sad, angry, and hopeless over the nature of the human condition, watch these three segments (about 15 minutes total) from a BBC documentary about aggression. In it the film makers replicate the infamous Milgrim Experiment wherein a subject is persuaded to inflict extraordinary harm on another human being by the mere presence of an authority figure.

Thus it is sadly not inconceivable that people (normal, fine, decent people) when placed in certain situations are all too capable of actions that would cause the sun to grow cold with horror.

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2 Comments Posted in A Series of Experiments, Science, The State
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  • Keeban3

    I’ve heard of these experiments, but never really seen them before. I think that the main reason these numbers were so high was the supervisor’s demeanor. He never debated or addressed their points, simply kept repeating, the experiment requires that you proceed. I kept thinking that the people were going to quit, but after hearing this they went on. Even the pianist did for a while. I truly think it was something about the lack of debate or discussion that was part of why it was so effective.

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