Members in the Media
From: The Washington Post

You’re not as virtuous as you think

The Washington Post: 

I’ve been teaching Stanley Milgram’s electric-shock experiment to business school students for more than a decade, but “Experimenter,” a movie out this week about the man behind the famous social science research, illuminates something I never really considered.

In one scene, Milgram (played by Peter Sarsgaard) explains his experiment to a class at Harvard: A subject, assigned to be the “teacher,” is ordered to administer increasingly intense shocks to another study participant in the role of “learner,” allegedly to illustrate how punishment affects learning and memory. Except, unbeknownst to the subject, the shocks are fake, the other participant works for the lab and the study is about obedience to authority. More than 60 percent of subjects obeyed fully, delivering up to the strongest shock, despite cries of pain from the learner. Those cries were pre-recorded, but the teachers’ distress was real: They stuttered, groaned, trembled and dug their fingernails into their flesh even as they did what they were asked to do.

As psychologists Shelley Taylor and Jonathon Brown have written, “These illusions help make each individual’s world a warmer and more active and beneficent place in which to live.”

Read the whole story: The Washington Post

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