Well, a new paper published March 14 just announced that the famous Milgram Experiment has been replicated in Poland over 50 years since its inception in the US. It’s been replicated before, but this is the first time any effort to do so has involved both men and women in shock-giving and shock-receiving roles.
Milgram tested how willing participants playing the role of a “Teacher” would be to deliver increasingly intense electric shocks to a person playing a “Learner,” at the encouragement of a researcher.
Milgram’s obedience experiments included many variations and over 700 participants-some of whom refused to inflict shock entirely, under any circumstance. In No. 2, Milgram used a shock operator with 10 buttons, instead of the 30 used in his other experiments-in other words, it didn’t go to as high a shock level. Importantly, unlike previous Milgram replications, this study put women in the shock-receiving, or “Learner” role.
“One thing is certain,” the authors write in the study, “Since the original experiments by Stanley Milgram, we have yet to find a successful way of reconciling realism with care for the wellbeing of study participants.”
While Milgram explicitly attributed his findings to human obedience to authority, some psychologists question whether the study was really designed to study obedience, or whether, unbeknownst to Milgram, it was actually gauging other factors, like participants’ willingness to “Help science;” this study does little to resolve these debates.