Meta-Milgram: An Empirical Synthesis of the Obedience Experiments

Nick Haslam*, Steve Loughnan, Gina Perry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Milgram's famous experiment contained 23 small-sample conditions that elicited striking variations in obedient responding. A synthesis of these diverse conditions could clarify the factors that influence obedience in the Milgram paradigm. We assembled data from the 21 conditions (N = 740) in which obedience involved progression to maximum voltage (overall rate 43.6%) and coded these conditions on 14 properties pertaining to the learner, the teacher, the experimenter, the learner-teacher relation, the experimenter-teacher relation, and the experimental setting. Logistic regression analysis indicated that eight factors influenced the likelihood that teachers continued to the 450 volt shock: the experimenter's directiveness, legitimacy, and consistency; group pressure on the teacher to disobey; the indirectness, proximity, and intimacy of the relation between teacher and learner; and the distance between the teacher and the experimenter. Implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number93927
Number of pages9
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2014

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