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.
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.
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- Conducting the Milgram experiment in Poland, psychologists show people still obey
- Dariusz Doliński, Tomasz Grzyb, Michał Folwarczny, Patrycja Grzybała, Karolina Krzyszycha, Karolina Martynowska, Jakub Trojanowski. Would You Deliver an Electric Shock in 2015? Obedience in the Experimental Paradigm Developed by Stanley Milgram in the 50 Years Following the Original Studies. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2017; 194855061769306 DOI: 10.1177/1948550617693060
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