Essay on Stanley Milgram vs. Diana Baumrind

Words: 1154
Pages: 5

The Controversy of Obedience A classic experiment on the natural obedience of individuals was designed and tested by a Yale psychologist, Stanley Milgram. The test forced participants to either go against their morals or violate authority. For the experiment, two people would come into the lab after being told they were testing memory loss, though only one of them was actually being tested. The unaware individual, called the “teacher” would sit in a separate room, administering memory related questions. If the individual in the other room, the “learner,” gave a wrong answer, the teacher would administer a shock in a series of increasingly painful shocks correlating with the more answers given incorrectly. Milgram set up a recorder …show more content…
Because there was no safety net, the issue of danger arises as a controversial aspect to testing these humans. In addition to informing the readers that measures were taking for helping the more sensitive individuals, Milgram simply brushes over the issue. “Sweating, trembling, and stuttering were typical expressions of this emotional disturbance” (WRAC 228). He goes into great detail of the side effects of the test, yet only briefly states how, “a friendly reconciliation was arranged between the subject and the victim, and an effort was made to reduce any tensions that arose as a result of the experiment” (WRAC 229). Milgram did not feel as if, anything else was necessary to helping these people. Baumrind sides with the idea that the participants needed both consent and proper care after the test was completed. She says, “[Milgram]’s casual assurance that these tensions were dissipated before the subject left the laboratory is unconvincing” (WRAC 229). She even argues that Milgram could have supplied the answers himself (WRAC 229). Baumrind believes these subjects were not treated with respect and these experiments could easily result in a lack of trust in the future or a damaged self-image.
The final issue that both writers disagree on is how accurate the actual test was. Milgram concluded that more people fell to the pressure of authority because twenty-five of the forty subjects followed through with