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Psychology   >   Social Influence – Obedience

Milgram’s Obedience Experiments

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Social Influence – Obedience

In this course, Dr Stephen Gibson (York St John University) explores Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiments. In the first lecture, we think about Milgram’s experimental procedure and the findings which resulted from his study. In the second lecture, we explore different variations of Milgram’s baseline study and think about the theory of the agentic state which he developed from his work. In the third lecture, we think about some early criticisms of Milgram’s method and ethics. Next, look at more recent studies which have sought to re-examine Milgram’s work in the light of archival records held at Yale University. In the fifth and final lecture, we explore how a re-interpretation of the Milgram experiments in the context of language and rhetoric can lead us to a new definition of the concept of obedience itself.

Milgram’s Obedience Experiments

In this lecture, we introduce the obedience experiments conducted by the researcher Stanley Milgram in the 1960s, focusing in particular on: (i) a general definition of obedience as a ‘form of social influence elicited in response to direct orders or commands’; (ii) Milgram’s experiments considered as an attempt to measure the levels of obedience shown by people in particular situations; (iii) how the study was set up, including the specific roles of experimenter, participant and confederate; (iv) the experimental procedure in which participants were ordered to administer electric shocks to others; (v) some key findings from Milgram’s classic study and what they can tell us about the ways in which people do or do not obey authority.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Gibson, S. (2019, September 27). Social Influence – Obedience - Milgram’s Obedience Experiments [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Gibson, S. "Social Influence – Obedience – Milgram’s Obedience Experiments." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 27 Sep 2019,

Image Credits

Obedience: A Filmed Experiment (dir. Stanley Milgram, 1965)


Dr Stephen Gibson

Dr Stephen Gibson

York St John University