Friday, March 19, 2010
Milgram and Asch
I have decided to do my next speech on the Milgram Experiments. For those who might not know, the Milgram was a psychological experiment to test conformity and peoples willingness to do terrible things to other people if told to by an authority figure. It was done after WW2. During the Nazi war trials, many nazi soldiers said they did things because they were told to.
What Milgram did was he took people and told them that they were participating in a memory test. If their "learner" got the question wrong they were to give them an electric shock. This shock would start off painful and go up to deadly. The "learner" was actually an actor and the "teacher" was actually the subject. Around 80% were willing to give the fatal shock. Most people would try to stop and they didn't like it, but they would be pushed into doing it by the experimenter.
This was recently redone for a French documentary "The Game of Death" in which the subjects were told they were participating in a new game show. They wanted to test how much tv impacts our morality. The results were slightly higher than the orignal experiment.
I'm thinking about starting the speech by doing an Asch conformity test. In which I'll use peer pressure to get a student to give me the wrong answer because everyone else is giving me the wrong one.