People Still Obey Authority to Harm Others, Shows a New Milgram Experiment Study

in psychology •  last year

Would you deliver an electric shock? A modern version of the Milgram experiment shows that many people still would to obey an authority that justifies harming others.

Polish psychologists replicated a modern-day version of the Milgram experiment, where people are tested for their willingness to administer electric shocks to someone they don't know just because they are told to do so by the authority in the experiment. The experiment has long demonstrated that pressure from authority will often get people to engage in actions that harm others.

Source: wiki

The results of the new study were published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. The researchers wanted to know more about how the history of Central Europe has shaped people's attitudes towards authority. 50 years later, the same results shows up, but this time in Central Europe where the Milgram experiment was never previously tested.

Tomasz Grzyb, a psychologists involved in the research, said that yet again the obedience to authority demonstrated in the Milgram experiment stands for Central Europe as well. Despite something being unpleasant, when we are confronted with certain situations there can be an enormous amount of power exerted over us to influence us into engaging in actions we normally wouldn't.

The experiment was different than the original one. Due to variations in ethical considerations in the past 50 years, they decided to lower the shock levels in the test and see what level of obedience was achieved. The study had 80 participants aged 18-69. There were three times as many women compared to men who refused to carry out the commands of the experimenter. The study had a very small sample size with 40 men and 40 women, so these results are not statistically conclusive. 38 men and 34 women did obey the authority to shock the participants to the highest level.

In this recent study, 90% of people were willing to go to the highest shock level in the experiment, showing that 50 years later people are still going to obey an authority even if it involves harming someone else.

Thank you for your time and attention! I appreciate the knowledge reaching more people. Take care. Peace.


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2017-03-19, 2:30pm

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I'm glad they consider the regional influence. It would be interesting to see how people from different parts of the world/ religions/ cultures would handle the Milgram test. Maybe that would be a way to start turning Anthropology into a slightly more empirical science.


Indeed, that's something I noticed of importance too. I thought these tests were done in various areas already... but nope it doesn't seem to be the case. No matter where we are, there is authority that influences us from the cradle to the grave hehe. Thanks for the feedback.


I think I remember learning in Intro Psych that due to the nature of this experiment, they're not really allowed to do it in places with stricter guidelines around psychological testing. Same with the prison guard experiments; if it is going to cause any sort of psychological harm or you can't be transparent with the subjects, you are generally not allowed to perform the experiment. Thanks for the quality post!


makes sense, although people are being confined and fined and judged almost daily, what if all that was really measured, if you take a step back the whole legal system produces psychological harm >D

Sad, that people remain automatons... interesting about the regional nature of this study. Given that humans tend to be "social" creatures, this makes me wonder whether any studies have ever been done (specifically) on the fear of social ostracision vis-a-vis questioning authority... we see these experiments, but I wonder to what degree it is "authority, itself" that makes people comply, vs "the fear of being judged by peers" for having defied authority.

Sorry, it's Sunday... my mind wanders aimlessly...


If there are no peers around, then I would say it's more the fear of punishment from an external authority that has powers we ourselves don't have. Peers don't have special powers like that, so I think authority might supersede in importance even if both are present in some cases. Some people might lean towards peer identification and loyalty in defiance to authority though, not in contrast to peer judgment alone, but coupled with loyalty would certainly make a strong case to win in many people's lives.


What made me ponder it was studies in which it was revealed (observing people hooked up to fMRI equipment) that when people experience shame and humiliation, it activates the same parts of our neural nets as when experiencing extreme physical pain (from, for example, electric shock or torture). Of course, the correlation may be coincidental...

interesting. what if you took the electro thing a majigs and put em on the person who is telling you to shock others? thats what id do, show them to tell me what to do!


LOL, yeah I don't think they would sing the same tune lol.

I wonder how many people, even amongst those who know of these experiments, have adjusted their behavior to reflect such insights.


probably not much, unless you do it daily, you can't change and even then change is relative, if you are with 20 people, you wouldn't easily opt out of the witch hunt and keep a good social circle


Then I guess salvation (freedom) belongs to individuals, not to the masses.

Yeh im not going to lie to you...this study realy depresses my hopes for humanity. Always has. This along with Stanford prison experiment of course...


I feel the same way.

Oi, kinda makes you sad. Still, the ones who refuse prove not all hope is lost.


Hopefully indeed ;)

Go watch the video, people are prone to shock themselves if they are bored :D, that is just a fraction of the whole video.


Interesting. Thanks!

I've heard a lot about this while studying. I think knowing this should make us make better choices in everyday life. We should commit not to do some things.


Hopefully it does make us reflect upon what we do. Thanks for the feedback.

This is a big problem in "humanity".

great post, keep it up friend

The majority of society are followers not leaders so this continues to carry on.