The Art Of 0-day

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's December 2001

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delivered what they thought were electric shocks to a "˜victim´ who was really a confederate. The study placed the participants in a highly conflicting situation: to carry out the experiment involved hurting another person. The focus of study was the amount of electric shock the subject was willing to give to another person when ordered by an experimenter to give the victim a shock. The learner(confederate) was strapped into "˜electric chair´ and had to learn a list of paired associates. The teacher(participant) had to administer punishment whenever the learner erred. The learner erred purposely many times. There were various levels of electric ranging from a mild shock to a severe shock. Milgram found that 60% of the subjects gave shocks right up to the maximum level. Milgram´s interest in this area was aroused by the trials of Nazi soldiers during the Second World War. He wanted to discover how easily individuals could become an instrument of authority.

Although Milgram did this using scientific method, he did so by setting up a laboratory situation far removed from the situation any Nazis would have found themselves in. We can argue that we cannot generalise from Milgram´s findings to the larger world because the social situation in his experiment is simply far too diluted to be comparable to the real world. It is difficult to imagine it being possible to replicate the social situation in which the Nazis found themselves during the Second World War. If this is the case we might well ask ourselves if there is a point to carrying out such research it if does not allow use to increase our understanding of human behaviour in the real world. Is social psychology scientific if in using scientific methods it fails to provide an objective explanation of human behaviour? We will...