Recognized Leadership Affects Moral Behavior Says Milgram Experiment

THE CHAIR. Image attributed to the Washington Examiner (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

Did you ever wonder why certain good people turn bad? The Milgram Experiment will shock you. It shows that leadership affects people’s behaviour. It makes people hurt people.

Test Subject in the Milgram Experiment prepared to send electric shocks to an unseen stranger following orders from the man in white lab coat
The Test Subject in the Milgram Experiment

Stanley Milgram was a professor at Yale University. He led the study at Yale in July 1961. The Nazi leader, Adolf Eichmann, inspired him to do the study. The former SS Colonel faced trial in Israel for his crimes. The Israeli court served him the death sentence.

Eichmann tried defending himself. He pleaded not guilty of his crimes claiming he was only following orders. It was just his duty to bring people into the Nazi camps. He held himself blameless but the court did not budge. They convicted him of his crimes. This incident captured Stanley’s attention. He wanted to know how obedience makes people commit heinous crimes.

Professor Milgram began asking for people’s thoughts on the matter. Many believed it was not easy to make people follow orders to do serious crimes. Although, there was a small number of Yale students who thought that some people would obey orders to kill people. A little more of the faculty agreed with these students.

Milgram set out on his work at Yale in May 1962. The Pennsylvania State University produced a video covering the series of social psychology experiments conducted at Yale. You can watch the video below.

Video Published on YouTube by Matt | December 23, 2016

The study included forty white males between the ages of twenty and fifty coming from varying walks of life. Three people were involved in the experiment. One is the test subject and the other two were accomplices. The test subject was instructed to impose electric shocks to an unseen stranger every time he fails to answer a question correctly. The two accomplices worked together on this heist. One acts like a victim to the subjects gruesome act while the other pretends to be the stoic authority.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here