Wednesday 31 December 2008

Milgram Revisited

Four Decades After Milgram, We???re Still Willing to Inflict Pain: "If this is how most people behave, how do we prevent more Holocausts, Abu Ghraibs and other examples of wanton cruelty? Part of the answer, Professor Burger argues, is teaching people about the experiment so they will know to be on guard against these tendencies, in themselves and others.

An instructor at West Point contacted Professor Burger to say that she was teaching her students about his findings. She had the right idea ??? and the right audience. The findings of these two experiments should be part of the basic training for soldiers, police officers, jailers and anyone else whose position gives them the power to inflict abuse on others."

To be fair to our humanity, we also now know a large and significant percent of the original participants did NOT comply, and more still were weeded out because they MAY not; choice was always an option and the danger was mostly when we believed the lab-coat knew more than we did about what was 'safe', so it's not a question of inherent cruelty per-se, but primarily one of trust (again!)in our information sources.