How Evil Are You?

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Hey guys for uni I have to do an hour long presentation about social and moral development. A part of this presentation includes something called the Milgram Experiment. Test subjects had to administer electric shocks to another person whenever they got a question wrong with the voltage increasing every time. Below is a short video that explains what I am talking about.


Feel free to watch the entire episode if you wish.

My question to you guys is what do you think you would do in that situation? Would you continue the experiment or would you refuse to do so? I know most of this is only theoretical as in a real life situation you might chose something different to what you answer here.

Thanks for your help.

*sigh* I'm sorry, but you don't seem to know the first thing about that particular experiment if you think it's about "how evil" one is (note: this is the general "you"). It's about "how obedient one is even when ordered to do things that conflict their conscience." Seriously, the media and sensationalism...that needs to be purged

Needless to say, the researchers were flabbergasted by the results.

Vegosiux:
*sigh* I'm sorry, but you don't seem to know the first thing about that particular experiment if you think it's about "how evil" one is (note: this is the general "you"). It's about "how obedient one is even when ordered to do things that conflict their conscience." Seriously, the media and sensationalism...that needs to be purged

Needless to say, the researchers were flabbergasted by the results.

I titled the post How Evil Are You because that's the name of the video and it would attract attention.

SirDeadly:

Vegosiux:
*sigh* I'm sorry, but you don't seem to know the first thing about that particular experiment if you think it's about "how evil" one is (note: this is the general "you"). It's about "how obedient one is even when ordered to do things that conflict their conscience." Seriously, the media and sensationalism...that needs to be purged

Needless to say, the researchers were flabbergasted by the results.

I titled the post How Evil Are You because that's the name of the video and it would attract attention.

Hence my rant on sensationalism *nods*

But you know, right now, I suspect pretty much everyone will say that there's no way they'd go all the way to the end, and would walk out of the room. Curiously, that's what the expected result of the experiment was. But, in reality, the result was...well...scarier.

I heard that only about 35% of people refuse to go through with it. But I bet if you polled it 90% would say they would be in that 35%.

Personally, whilst I like to think of myself as being a bastion of morality and integrity, I do tend to be cowed by authority, so I probably would do it, no doubt convincing myself that they knew what they were doing and wouldn't really let me hurt someone.

SirDeadly:
Hey guys for uni I have to do an hour long presentation about social and moral development. A part of this presentation includes something called the Milgram Experiment. Test subjects had to administer electric shocks to another person whenever they got a question wrong with the voltage increasing every time. Below is a short video that explains what I am talking about.


Feel free to watch the entire episode if you wish.

My question to you guys is what do you think you would do in that situation? Would you continue the experiment or would you refuse to do so? I know most of this is only theoretical as in a real life situation you might chose something different to what you answer here.

Thanks for your help.

Isn't that perticilar experiement to prove that people more often that not would trample on their morals if someone of authority were pressuring them ? When german soldiers from the whent to court they usually said something along the lines of "i was ordered to do it" ( or something like that ). Meaning that most people ( if not all ) would say no , but in the actual situation they would end up doing it ? Thus asking if people would do it the common reply would be no?

Anyways . I think i would . I crumble pretty easy under pressure .

Edit : as for morality . I personally think morality is a made up thing to make people feel good about themselves compared to other people . Morality is subjective, therefor it is different for every person , hence it doesn't truely exist . You do what you feel is right for no logical reason.

A good read about this is 'Superfreakonomics', talking about greed and altruism in the lab, and how people act usually more good in the lab because someone in a white coat is watching them, sort of an opposite of the Milgram experiment.

The overall message in this book is 'people respond to incentives'. And people on average are not evil, they just prefer to have the better deal.

ClockworkPenguin:
I heard that only about 35% of people refuse to go through with it. But I bet if you polled it 90% would say they would be in that 35%.

Personally, whilst I like to think of myself as being a bastion of morality and integrity, I do tend to be cowed by authority, so I probably would do it, no doubt convincing myself that they knew what they were doing and wouldn't really let me hurt someone.

You know what's funny? I'm in that last little 10%. I would go til that last switch was flipped. The cries of pain wouldn't bother me. I'm rather cold emotionally when it comes to something like this.

I wouldnt do it because somone ordered me to. I would do it because its fun!

I refuse to answer loaded misleading questions. No offence OP, I just hate that.

Meh. I think it's been iterated previously that this experiment had nothing to do with ones evilness rather it dealt with a person's willingness to submit to authority to commit an act that they, at times, feel is wrong.

Later variations skewed the results 1 way or the other.

DoPo:
I refuse to answer loaded misleading questions. No offence OP, I just hate that.

And this makes you EVIL DoPo. Don't you know? Hate leads to the Dark Side.

overpuce:

DoPo:
I refuse to answer loaded misleading questions. No offence OP, I just hate that.

And this makes you EVIL DoPo. Don't you know? Hate leads to the Dark Side.

But is the Dark side evil? Sure Anakin/Darth Vader went in and slaughtered some kids and did some other bad stuff, but he only followed orders. It's not too different from this experiment. The Dark side gets a lot of bad rap over a few pricks. And the name. I think it's mainly the name. So what? Their marketing department is crap, you don't need to condemn all of them for it.

I find your lack of fate in the Dark side disturbing.

Also, I'm now renaming it to Misunderstood side.

The Milgram experiment isn't about evil you are, it's about the influence authority has on behaviour

And besides I can't answer that as I have absolutely no idea what I'd do in that situation

am i willing to stand up to authority figures when they give me an order and are willing to take the fallout for it. yes. lost a job doing exactly that

I obviously wouldn't, because I know that psychologists are always just trying to fuck with you if they bring you into a room and tell you to flip switches. They just want you to know for the rest of your life that yes, if push came to shove, you would kill for an authority figure, thus why this experiment is so absurdly unethical. Now I can't really be certain that I would quit if I was put into that situation and did not know the psychologists were trying to make me have terrifying nightmares for the rest of my life, but I think I would. In fact, a large fraction of modern individuals would, as such absurd degrees of conformity are largely a thing of the past. The thing that always bothered me about the videos is that nobody ever seems at ease doing his, but they go through with it anyway. It always scares me.

One of the ways to circumvent the experiment is knowing the parameters of the experiment. Did the participant sign anything? Are you free to stop if you are uncomfortable? Where are the electrodes on the subject's (the other subject) body?

Here's the critical one though.
At what voltage does an electric shock cause substantial trauma?

Having ethical fortitude isn't a necessity. You just need to know the highest ground and hold it. Knowing stuff helps that. Also, never agree to anything you didn't ask a lot of questions about.

DoPo:
I refuse to answer loaded misleading questions. No offence OP, I just hate that.

This is a smart person. Here, have this taser.

It's been argued that the results of the experiment don't demonstrate people's inability to refuse authority so much as people's willingness to trust "experts" over their own perceptions. They're told repeatedly that the shocks aren't causing any real harm. Which, as it turns out, was completely correct.

Hazy992:
And besides I can't answer that as I have absolutely no idea what I'd do in that situation

I will also say isn't the cat out of the bag on it, I thought it had reached a point where it was pretty well ingrained into the public memory.

And yes, nobody can properly answer that question.

Compleeeeeetely depends on the circumstances involved.
Is the person being shocked asking me to stop? Are they volunteering for this? Is there a safe word? Is the person asking me to do this a real authority figure or a bullshit psychologist? etc.

I'm not that evil according to that. I have no problem watching people in pain as long as I'm not involved, but I can't inflict it. Also if the patient who volunteered for the experiment asked me to stop I would, it's their choice to be there and their choice to leave. Then again I also have no respect for society's authority. I'll judge them as a person myself and give them the respect they deserve, their rank/education/status means nothing to me.

So yeah, everyone who's responded to this thread seems pretty smart and well informed of the situation. Most people would say they wouldn't go through with it but under authority they would, mostly because they are being told no real harm is being done and it adds diffusion of responsibility. It is really hard to make a call like this without being in such a position, obviously this experiment is invalid at this point because too many people know about it and would refuse to preform due to prior knowledge. In reality it is really a struggle to do what is right as opposed to what you are told, these results prove just how hard it can be but I'd like to believe it is getting better.

It's impossible to know, at least for me, without being put in such a situation.

I'm very empathetic. But I also excel in military-type of efficiency and work well with authority.

Well if it's that exact same experiment, well I would probably identify it since I've heard of it way too many times, and I would probably walk out to look good, or just for laughs flip all of the switches on as soon as the experiment begins.
As for my responsiveness to authority, well I get annoyed when someone orders me to do something, and I'm not really one to do something other people tell me to do, but I'm afraid I cannot know what I would do in this situation, since I haven't been on it and a true response can only be told if said thing has already been experience, not to mention that just like everyone else my assumption is that I wouldn't, but you really never know until it's happened.

I'd push it for a little while because it'd be funny, util the point the other guy starts sounding like he is genuinely in distress. Then I would refuse. This is why I would not do well in the armed forces. I believe that authority should not be blindly flowed without question, that kind of blind obedeance is what makes it possible for things like genocide and war crimes to happen.

You do know that the Milgram experiment was not about how evil someone was, but about social pressure, right?

Anyway... Hard to tell. Of course I want to say "No, I would not", but then so would everyone who participated in the experiment. Also, there is some interesting new research that also states it depends on what state of mind I am in, so might as well add that one too.

I love explaining the Milgram experiment to people who have never heard of it. A fascinating experiment in the power of authority, and always good for ethical debates. Plays a big part when you discuss things like the Nazis etc.

YOU VILL ANSER ZE KVESTIONS CORRECTLY!!! *Bzzzzt!*

ClockworkPenguin:
I heard that only about 35% of people refuse to go through with it. But I bet if you polled it 90% would say they would be in that 35%.

Personally, whilst I like to think of myself as being a bastion of morality and integrity, I do tend to be cowed by authority, so I probably would do it, no doubt convincing myself that they knew what they were doing and wouldn't really let me hurt someone.

Well of course people think they wont go through with this. We see it from a distance and we see how horrible it is. If we were actually a part of this we wouldn't be able to distance ourselves from it in the same way and rather follow the instructions thinking that we were doing the right thing. If 90% believes they would be among the 35% it really just shows that we have no idea what it's really like. I want to believe I would be among the 35% because I am physically nauseated by causing pain to anyone and I hate following authorities mindlessly. However I can't say for sure. Really, this thing is a huge part of what's wrong with humanity and don't take this as misanthropic. We do these things because someone has told us to and we don't consider the consequences.

I think I would have stopped at 150 somewhere in my addled mind I seemed to have heard that voltage like that was unhealthy so I would have brought that up.

Vegosiux:
Hence my rant on sensationalism *nods*

But you know, right now, I suspect pretty much everyone will say that there's no way they'd go all the way to the end, and would walk out of the room. Curiously, that's what the expected result of the experiment was. But, in reality, the result was...well...scarier.

This is pretty much the only proper answer.

I'd really like to think that as soon as I start hearing the guy on the other end complaining about actual pain, I'd punch the doctor in the face and walk out, but there's really no way to tell without actually being in that situation.

Anyone who can confidently state what they'd do in that situation without having been in a similar situation before is, quite simply, lying. This thread is mostly irrelevant because of that.

SirDeadly:
Hey guys for uni I have to do an hour long presentation about social and moral development. A part of this presentation includes something called the Milgram Experiment. Test subjects had to administer electric shocks to another person whenever they got a question wrong with the voltage increasing every time. Below is a short video that explains what I am talking about.


Feel free to watch the entire episode if you wish.

My question to you guys is what do you think you would do in that situation? Would you continue the experiment or would you refuse to do so? I know most of this is only theoretical as in a real life situation you might chose something different to what you answer here.

Thanks for your help.

I'm studying Psychology as well.

I'd just like to say, the Milgram experiment wasn't meant to gauge any sort of moral evil. It's just meant to see how people are influenced by authority figures.

To answer your question, I'm a sociopath; albeit one with a set of morals. In general, I'd place the value of a life above some social experiment, and would probably tell the overseer to shove it.

I reckon I would stop pretty quickly unless I met the other person and knew he wanted to be part of the experiment. If that was over with I'd keep going until he told me to stop.
Though, as already mentioned, it's hard to say how we'd react if we actually were in that situation.

What exactly does the switch-flipper think he's achieving with a test like that?

Yeah, I have problems with authority in the first place. I firmly believe that I know what's best for me, and I know EXACTLY what my motives are at any given moment. Anyone who tries to order me to break my moral code can go screw themselves.

Along those same lines of logic, I don't believe I know whats best for anyone else either. Leading and following are things that can only work in the short term for me, even if any given leader doesn't order me to break my moral code(s).

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked