Our Experiment in Environmental Ethics
To the Editor:
Back in the 1960s, Yale psychology professor Stanley Milgram conducted a research experiment whose results shocked the nation.
Participants were told that they were taking on the role of ‘teacher’ in a study of methods to improve learning. An authority figure told the ‘teacher’ to administer increasingly powerful electric shocks to a ‘learner’ in the next room whenever a question was answered incorrectly. There actually were no shocks and the learner was part of the research team, but the ‘teacher’ heard increasing cries of pain with each ‘shock’ administered. Even as the intensity of the shocks approached the maximum of 450 volts, the authority insisted that the shocks should continue – that the anguished screams, the banging on the wall, the pleas about heart conditions, and ultimately the ominous silence from the other room should all be ignored.
It was believed that…
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