conducted an experiment
on "Obedience to Authority" in which volunteer
s were given the role
of a teacher
. As the teacher they were instructed
to ask a series of questions
to a "learner". Every time the "learner" got an answer wrong
, they pressed the next in a series
s. Each button, they were told, administered a higher and higher voltage
of electric shock
to the learner. They were told that the shocks would hurt
, and could even kill the learner
. The learner was, infact, an actor
that they were receiving the shock
Milgram's experiment was to see how far the volunteer would go.
Over 90% of the volunteers in the teacher role continued up the scale of buttons, until 450 volts, no matter how much the learner screamed, and begged for the experiment to be stopped.
Milgram concluded that obedience to authority is a "danger to survival inherent in our make-up", and that our conscious mind would prefer we inflict harm upon others, than be disobedient to an authority figure.
Paraphrased from an article on Obedience found at: http://www.mind-trek.com/reports/misc/obedienc.htm