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The researcher told the teacher to increase the shock each time an incorrect answer was given.Regardless of uncertainty on behalf of the teacher, protests from the learner and latterly no sound at all from the learner, the researcher still instructed the teacher to administer the highest voltage possible.
Many of the subjects expressed emotional upset as they thought that they were inflicting immense pain on another person and that the high voltage shocks that they apparently administered had the capacity to kill somebody.
Milgram was criticised as being ‘insensitive to his subjects’ (Baumrind, 1964).
The participant or teacher met the learner (who was privy to the true nature of the experiment) and witnessed the electrodes being strapped to their wrists.
The learner expressed a degree of fear and questioned whether the shock would have any impact on their heart condition.
Milgram attempted to investigate if people would follow orders even if they felt that they were morally wrong.
Milgram’s study is well known for both its results and its means of obtaining them.This study highlights ethical issues which are relevant in the present day.Perhaps Milgram could have tested his ideas on obedience without causing distress to his subjects.The researcher told them that this was not something to worry about but they did inform them that the shocks could be extremely painful.During the learning session the teacher and learner were in different rooms and they communicated via intercom.This lead to the consideration of what is ethically acceptable and guidelines which protect participants being developed.These guidelines are in place today and therefore have an impact on the way in which current psychological research is conducted.65 per cent of the participants followed instructions and administered the highest voltage shock to the learner (Milgram, 1963).Following the experiment participants were debriefed and they were informed that the shock apparatus was not real and that the protests from the learners were scripted.What, if any, relevance does it have to the present day?Stanley Milgram’s obedience study (1963) has been extremely influential in psychology.