September 18, 2021

Milgram’s experience: Manipulation through authority.

Some people refer to Milgram’s experience in relation to the social situation we find ourselves in today, but what exactly are they talking about?

In short, Stanley Milgram’s experience shows that it is possible to force a person to obey things that only make sense after you get their consent. Achieving this consent makes it possible to go further and further at each stage.

This experience measures the degree of obedience to such a legitimate authority. It allows us to analyze the process of submission to this authority, especially when it encourages actions that address issues of conscience.

That is why it is cited in the internet and in the media, especially when compared to the instructions given by our elected officials regarding sanitary measures. It is true that it is enough to lose a Latino there. Some people contradict each other with a vague logic. That is why some people do not hesitate to compare the current situation with this manipulative experience. But then, how did it happen again?

The puppet master controls the merchant’s salute to jump on the high chart. The concept of manipulation and micro-management.

Milgram’s experience in detail.

Experience course.

Conducted at Yale University in the United States in 1963, the experiment tested the general public in developing programs on memory under the guise of helping science. Two articles were requested.

Someone had to find the correct answer on a list of words that he had to remember in a minute. Installed in a small room, he was tied to a chair, with an electric bracelet on his left to punish him for every mistake. The more mistakes he made, the more violent the electric shock would be.

The other man was in the other room. It was up to him to read the questions and punish: electric shock.

But in reality, there was no shock and the screams of the “electrified” man were recorded. The tied man was an actor. The subject of the experiment was, in fact, the “questioner”: how far will he obey?

Graduation of orders.

If an article expresses a desire to stop the experiment, the veteran will address it, with the following answers:

“Please continue.”
“Experience demands that you continue.”
“It’s important that you keep going.”
You have no choice, you must continue.

Experimental results

To the surprise of the researchers, 62 people submitted orders and gave final shocks despite the actors’ screams of pain. Milgram shows that any person can commit the worst atrocities when the ordering authority is justified in his eyes.

Experience in video.

The video below summarizes the experience in 2 minutes (using archived movies).


Stanley Milgram, in his 1974 book, provides a detailed analysis of this trend. Setting up a framework so that man can go from autonomous mode to organized mode where he becomes an agent of authority.

To achieve this, he looks for the following factors:

  • Terms of obedience (education, family authority …)
  • The state of obedience (increase in acceptance for authority and less than any external expression, loss of sense of responsibility)
  • Reasons to maintain obedience such as anxiety.

To learn more about it.

Wikipedia page
Book ‘Submission to authority’.

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