Le sujet croit participer à une expérience sur l'apprentissage par la douleur et doit à chaque mauvaise réponse envoyer des décharges électriques de plus en plus puissantes à la personne qu'il voit sur l'écran et dont il entend les cris (et qui est en fait un acteur). Résultat ahurissant : 65% des participants allèrent jusqu'à la dose maximum dès lors qu'on les déchargeait de toute responsabilité.
Social influence: the study of how people influence each other.
Very popular, especially since WWII, when the Nazis at the Nuremburg Trials were asked how they were able to commit such atrocities (“We were just following orders.”)
Milgram’s Experiment: The experiments began in July 1961, a year after the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem.
Milgram devised the experiment to answer the question "Could it be that Eichmann and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders? Could we call them all accomplices?" (Milgram, 1974)
Predictions: Experts predicted very few would go past the one third mark (300 Volts)
And only 1 in a thousand would go all the way to the end (450 Volts)
Results: In Milgram's first set of experiments, 65 percent (27 out of 40) of experimental participants administered the experiment's final 450-volt shock.
Everyone paused at some point and questioned the experiment, some even saying they would return the check for the money they were paid.
No participant steadfastly refused to give further shocks before the 300-volt level.
"I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist.
Stark authority was pitted against the subjects' strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects' ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not.
The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation."
L'expérience a été adaptée au cinéma par Henri Verneuil :
Eichmann et la morale kantienne par Hanna Arendt
Documents sur le nazisme