Ian Parker’s article titled Obedience, explores the several reactions to Stanley Milgram’s Obedience experiment. The paper produces a timeline of the results of Milgram’s findings i.e. upon the earliest of Milgram’s results; he was first turned down by two distinguished editors of different journal academia, as they thought the experiment was more of a demonstration. Milgram was to later add nearly a dozen different variables into the experiment i.e. the issuing of instructions by phone.
Ian Parker outwardly looks at the success and attention Milgram’s Obedience experiment generates amongst the Social psychology community. Milgram’s widely received recognition earned him leading positions in Yale and Harvard’s psychology departments. Milgram, after constantly being scrutinized by his fellow faculty members at both schools ended up working for the University of New York for the remaining 17 years of his life. Milgram had died when he was fifty one years of age.
All though not all of Milgram’s readers are fans. Amongst this opposing group are some of the most eminent scholars in Milgrim’s field. I believe that it was out of jealousy so many had spite him. Parker tells of a Harvard psychologist, Roger Brown, who was a colleague of Milgrim’s at the time who had secretly confessed to Zimbardo that he felt under appreciated as his hard work and research went unnoticed during Milgrim’s success. There was a promiscuous multitude of media performers and shows that made cheap jeers at Milgram’s expense. For example, The Simpson’s cartoon had mimicked the experiment by replicating the idea of using electricity as torture devise for those who answered questions wrongfully.
Next the two logical arguments against Milgram’s experiment will be presented. First, Parker argues against Milgrim’s insertion of the Holocaust into his scientific reasoning. What Milgram had professed was that one of the purposes of his study was to make sense of the Holocaust. Milgram had argued in his first paper in 1963 that the study he had just conducted had proven that ordinary individuals are not exempt from destructive obedience.
Since the atrocities of the Jewish Holocaust had been carried out by soldiers and workers not so much dissimilar following orders from the same superiors, could be construed as ordinary people. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen a leading scholar on the Holocaust tells Parker that the individual’s part of Hitler’s Nazi regime was obeying their “own conscious rather then fearfully following orders”. That they were carrying out the action because truly they felt it was the right thing to do. Goldhagen further believes that Milgram is incorrect because Milgram did not control such variables as trust and joint decision making i.e. consultation amongst all participating leads to a mutually desired result. Goldhagen suggests that disobedience is more common around the world then one would think. A second argument was posed by a Stanford professor and a Milgram scholar by the name of Lee Ross.
Ross had given his students instructions to be prepared for the next class, admitting that he knows that these instructions will be ignored. The overall point of this is to prove that when there is escape routes there then will be a higher probability that the subjects will disobey. Ross tells Parker that there was no exit for the subjects, thus resulting in a nonexistent possibility for disobedience. Further Ross suggests that people do the things they do because of their environment, not because of who they are.