StanleyMilgram, a social psychologist, set up experiments to determine theimpact of authority on obedience. Milgram’s experiment was known asthe obedience study. In determining how people complied with thecommands given by an authority figure, Milgram assigned volunteersfor the roles of a teacher and a student. The teacher was instructedto help the student learn a couple of words, and when the studentmade a mistake, the teacher was coerced to administer electric shocksranging from 15 volts up to the 450 volts[ CITATION Mil09 l 1033 ].Usually, the student gave a wrong answer, intentionally, for theteacher to continue delivering the shocks. According to Milgram, 65percent of the teachers continued administering the shocks until 450volts, while only 3 percent failed to deliver the maximum shock[ CITATION Per13 l 1033 ].
Accordingto Milgram, high rates of obedience were evidenced when the subjectsreceived commands from a high authority figure as compared to thefellow volunteer. The experiments ordered the subject to continuesuggesting that they had no choice but to continue[ CITATION Mil09 l 1033 ].A high percentage of the subjects followed the instructions andadministered shocks until the highest voltage. People tend to obeyorders to avoid the negative repercussions of disobeying.Additionally, the experiments were performed at a prestigiousacademic institution, thus the high rate of obedience, not to affrontthe authority[ CITATION Mil09 l 1033 ].The teacher was in the room with the authority figure, while thelearner was in another room. The teacher was inclined to follow theinstructions under the pressure of the authority figure. Moreover,since the student did not see the teacher disobeying theinstructions, the teacher continued administering the shocks[ CITATION Per13 l 1033 ].It does not come as a surprise because people obey rules not to bediscourteous to the authority.
Giventhe circumstances, I would have obeyed the authority and administeredthe shocks to the student, but not to the extreme. Despite the laidinstructions to continue delivering the shocks, I would haveretreated after the learner showed some severe levels of pain.Sometimes people tend to follow the authorities blindly and assumethat they are always right. People are afraid of the repercussions ofdisobeying a high authority figure, hence would do anything to be onthe safe side. However, it is important for people to question someacts, especially when those acts are unethical. There was a time whenI was coerced to drive on the wrong way simply because an officergave me a directive to avoid the traffic.
TheMilgram’s experiments have a significant role and lesson inrelating obedience to an authority figure. Psychologists state thatthe tests proved that people follow instructions given by theauthority despite its impact on the other subject. The study impliedthat people commit heinous acts and inflict pain on others when givenorders by a legitimate authority figure[ CITATION Mil09 l 1033 ].However, some psychologists differ with the Milgram’s results,citing flawed data in the experiments. Some of the results were notreported as subjects defied orders from the authority.
Askingfor money or help for a charity is not legal, but people tend toavoid donating to the needy in the society. Coercion or threateningpeople to donate does not work as expected. Therefore, I would use anemotional caption that would pull people into donating to thecharity. Expressing the authentic circumstance, why the charity needsaid would be a good start to call upon people.
Milgram, S. (2009). Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View. New York: HarperCollins.
Perry, G. (2013). Behind the Shock Machine: the untold story of the notorious Milgram psychology experiments. New York: Scribe Publications Pty Limited.