October 23, 2018
You’re probably aware of the experiment performed by Stanley Milgram in which volunteers were asked by men in white coats to administer what they believed to be electric shocks to another person, who they could not see, but could hear, from behind a screen. Around two-thirds of the volunteers agreed to deliver what they were told to be potentially fatal shocks to the subject, who they could hear screaming and begging for them to stop. What they didn’t know was the person they were agreeing to inflict this on was in fact an actor. Milgram’s experiment stands as the most famous example of a series of studies that have attempted to highlight the willingness of humans to bow to authority figures and comply with group norms irrespective of what their own morals might tell them.