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understanding behaviour of soldiers during war

  • Date Submitted: 03/02/2013 01:07 PM
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How Milgram’s work is relevant to understanding behaviour of soldiers during war.

This report will use the work of Milgram to demonstrate an understanding of the implications of obedience.
Briefly touch on some of the events throughout the Second World War in a military context today, and the relevance now.
Show the implications of adhering to commands from figures of authority and the risks this could pose or potentially cause harm to others.

Stanley Milgram was a psychologist who was born in 1933 in the USA, and was of Jewish heritage (Banyard, 2010, p. 62).
Milgram was drawn to the horrific consequences of world war ll. With a strong desire to know whether or not the Germans were obedient to figures of authority, as this was commonly used as an explanation from the Nazi killings during world war ll (Banyard, 2010, p.63). He wanted to know how far people would go in to obey orders that could potentially harm another person.  
His work is known as one of the most famous studies of obedience in Psychology looking at the conflict between obedience to authority and a person’s own conscience.
Were people just obeying orders even though commands were morally wrong, is obeying an order a reasonable defence.

Milgram devised an experiment to see how far people are willing to go to follow an order.
When reading the experiment its important is to remember Europe had been mentally moved and scarred by the atrocities during the war and wanted answers.
Two participants arrive for a study and are taken to a room where one is strapped to a chair (learner) to prevent movements and an electrode is placed on his arm. The other person which was named the teacher for the purpose of the study was taken to an adjoining room, where he was told to ask a series of questions and if the learner responded with a wrong answer the teacher would then shock the learner which began at 15 volts and increased to a maximum of 450 volts increasing by...


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