The Milgram experiment as a French game show

by CynthiaYockey on March 18, 2010

Allahpundit has a video clip of the fake French game show “Game of Death” that tested whether contestants would administer potentially fatal electric shocks to another contestant when ordered to do so as part of the game — 81 percent did. He matches that with some information about the famous experiment from 1961 by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram, who was trying to figure out why the Germans followed orders to commit the mass murders of the Holocaust.

However, I think Allah and others overstate the amount of pressure or domination that was applied in the Milgram experiment to induce the 62.5 percent of the participants to deliver painful and potentially lethal electric shocks. Here’s what the authority figure said to gain compliance:

If at any time the subject indicated his desire to halt the experiment, he was given a succession of verbal prods by the experimenter, in this order:

  1. Please continue.
  2. The experiment requires that you continue.
  3. It is absolutely essential that you continue.
  4. You have no other choice, you must go on.

If the subject still wished to stop after all four successive verbal prods, the experiment was halted. Otherwise, it was halted after the subject had given the maximum 450-volt shock three times in succession.

The above commands do not represent enormous duress. It is sobering enough to imagine that these acts were committed under terrible pressure, but they weren’t. The authority figure just insisted. There were no threats. There were no consequences for quitting.

Obama takes full advantage of whatever it is in the 60 to 80 percent of the population vulnerable to the commands of authority figures to commit atrocities. Whenever Obama cannot gain the support, money and power he wants from other people voluntarily by making them whatever promise they want to hear (with no intention of delivering), he always turns domineering and contemptuous. I hope one day soon people figure out that the best response then is just to laugh in his face and call him on his lie of the moment — and rinse and repeat as necessary.

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  • Liz

    “Obama takes full advantage of whatever it is in the 60 to 80 percent of the population vulnerable to the commands of authority figures to commit atrocities.”

    I’m a little more optimistic. Kathy Shaidle (yeah, yeah, I know) put a Hot Air comment on her blog. It said something to the effect that the Milgram experiment didn’t take into account the people who would have refused to take part in the first place. I’m not so sure that 60%-80% of people are that succeptible. Look at the decline in support for Obama’s policies.

    “…he always turns domineering and contemptuous.”

    So, so true. He has an odd mixture of complete indifference and contempt for differing opinions. And everything that goes wrong is the fault of those who disagree with him.

    • Liz,

      I’ll have to look into whether Milgram, and later Zimbardo (who did the fake prison experiment), ever thought about whether people who were more susceptible to authority were the ones who agreed to participate and those who were resistant bailed on hearing the description of the experiment. If you read the Wikipedia entry I linked, you’ll see that even the people who refused to continue giving the shocks did not follow up by reporting the experimenters to the police. Eeek.

      Obama’s “indifference and contempt for differing opinions” are features of his sociopathy and narcissism. The range of emotions of sociopaths is extremely small — that’s why he seems so cool, or indifferent. He’s not calm — he does not able to have a full range of emotions. He does not feel empathy of any kind. What emotions CAN Obama feel? Obama feels glee when he can make people jump, or give him what he wants. Obama feels overwhelming shame and humiliation anytime his superiority is questioned, or his faults are exposed. His response is to invalidate, insult and degrade and dismiss whoever or whatever shamed him. The appropriate response when you see him doing that is to ridicule him, laugh your ass off and continue exposing what he truly is and his true agenda.

      I know it’s hard for idealistic people to comprehend how sociopathy works, especially when they are being conned by someone who is telling them exactly what they want to hear, which is why I keep educating people about it.

      Cynthia

  • Ever thought of “Survivor” and other reality shows as “Stanford Prison-Softcore”? I do. Why in the world people would celebrate and watch a reality show called ominously “Big Brother”? Money is the stimulus to show these things on TV and make people do even worse as seen on “Fear Factor”. Nevertheless, I believe that Obamacare would have been “law of the land”, if people haven’t resisted like they did. A large lot of people is not taking the “it’s good for you” BS.
    .-= Dr. sipmac´s last blog ..Jorge Luis Borges, Santo Patrono de Internet? Bueno, Si y No. =-.

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