Sunday, September 16, 2012

Milgram's Experiment- Or why our society is frighteningly screwed

Stanley Milgram was a regular ol’ psychologist at Yale, minding his own business, but fascinated by the trial of famous Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann (by law, every German war criminal had to be named Adolf). An interesting thought struck Milgram – was the average Nazi soldier a thinking, willing accomplice, or just a ‘soldier following orders’? Then, as psychologists are wont to do, he took the idea, and went batshit insane with it.

Read on to find out what happened next, here in my next article for SoundSmartAbout.

Now as to why you should read this article which has apparently something to do with psychology (and not iPhone5 or Barfi)? To know the answers to the following (I bet you can't answer w/o having read the article):
$4 for an hour was not bad in 1961

- What does a Nazi war criminal on death trial have to do with an experiment in social psychology?
- To what extent will people go, against their conscience, just to follow orders of a man in a lab coat?
- One of the many reasons why humanity is doomed.

Feel free to ask questions or still better, if you are on facebook, post your comment right there in the SoundSmartAbout page itself. Which writer doesn't need feedback, after all?

For the new visitors, we at SoundSmartAbout, a close to two month website, write on topics you must know about to sound smart in your conversations. You can call it a poor man's wikipedia that uses a lot of pop culture references and interesting snippets so that you don't leave an informative article midway. We understand that you are pressed for time (busy you, surfing 9gag and youtube) so we keep them short. Small, fun, digestible bits of complicated concepts like the Drake Equation, the Peter Principle and many others drawn from a wide variety of domains are what we write.
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2 comments:

  1. This experiment certainly makes us think about our situation or the environment we live in!! The Milgram Experiment along with the Stanford Prison Experiment and Asch Conformity experiment put up a big reality that comes as a shock.
    The only people i have found who are not at the mercy of the situation are the ones who follow their own principles. e.g. M.K.Gandhi, Phunsuk Wangdu (3 idiots), Oscar Schindler and many more.
    -Shaad

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    Replies
    1. Very true. The 3 experiments you mentioned did come as a shock, not just to the psychological fraternity but to the whole world. No wonder Milgram came to be known as 'the man who shocked the world'.

      The examples you have cited are yes, non-conformers. I have always wondered why amongst so many teachings of Gandhi, refusing to blindly conform has never received due acclaim. And I have noticed that it is after the release of 3 Idiots that not conforming has become fashionable. Only, the youth shouldn't start seeing rebelliousness as a goal in itself. Being a rebel without a cause is perhaps as sad as being a blind conformer. Oscar Schindler, well....is in a different league altogether. Respect is the first word that comes to my mind when I hear his name.

      Glad to have you read this post.

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