Obedience – Is It Good Or Bad? (For College Work)

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  • #589030

    hi! more college talk for all you helpful people!

    i have to write a paper in a few short hours (so quick responses will be much appreciated) on Stanley Milgram’s “A Peril of Obedience.” Basically he did a experiment to test obedience, which proved that most people do obey authority even when it means inflicting pain on someone else…

    So, the essay topic is:

    Obedience; is it good or bad? or both?

    proofs needed…

    from a jewish or secular perspective!

    thanks ya’ll in advance!

    #629467
    Bais Yaakov maydel
    Participant

    was that the study about the people who had to administer electric shocks to people who answered questions wrongly? i learned that in one of my psych classes….

    in this case, bad: because inflicting pain, every time answer=wrong, the shock gets stronger (25-400 volts), and since they really believe theyre torturing someone, because they hear someone screaming, i would consider them animals. if i remember correctly, 70% of these administrators of the shocks kept going and didnt refuse to shock someone.

    other cases, theyre all dependent on what kind of situation it is!

    #629468
    brooklyn19
    Participant

    BYM – yeah that’s the one. always drove me crazy.

    KeepInEntertained – use “the wave”

    #629469

    yea, i am talking about that experiment.

    besides for the holocaust and wave what else can i use for proof about the con side of obedience? can you remind me how the wave worked?

    #629470
    Bais Yaakov maydel
    Participant

    perfect example bklyn19. KIE, you should definitely use it

    #629471
    anon for this
    Participant

    KeepInEntertained, Dr. Jerry Burger recently conducted an updated version of Milgram’s famous study & obtained much the same results. This rebuts the argument that people have changed since the 1960’s and would not behave the same way today.

    #629472
    intellegent
    Member

    Bais Yaakov maydel

    I heard of that too, but I think they weren’t really shocking them. they were actors, no?

    It’s crazy how people can do anything if you convince them.

    #629473
    jphone
    Member

    “Basically he did a experiment to test obedience, which proved that most people do obey authority even when it means inflicting pain on someone else…”

    I never heard of this study and have no idea how this conclusion was reached and have no basis to disagree. Nonetheless, I would have thought that the obedience wasnt about inflicting pain on someone else but avoiding the pain on themselves.

    Chazal praise the shotrim in mitzrayim, not because they did not hit their fellow yidden, rather, because they were willing to absorb the punishment themselves. In other words, they overcame their fear of being hit and said “rather I be hit then I hit him”.

    Same with Miriam and Yocheved (Shifra and Puah). They were not as concerned about not hurting someone else, as they were in doing what was right, even at the risk of getting hurt themself.

    In short, I would argue with the conclusion drawn by this study and say that people are not obedient to the point where they would even hurt others rather, I would say they are obedient for fear of being at the receiving end of whatever it is they are doing to the next person.

    There is another popular study done that says people are motivated by 1 of 2 things, fear and money. The fear of being hit, or the monetary gain is what causes someone to be obedient, even to the point of hurting another person.

    #629474
    000646
    Participant

    I think blind obedience to ANY (religious or otherwise) authority figure without a logical reason, is a very dangrous and bad thing that generaly can and will lead to even good people doing terrible things, as was demonstrated by the experiment mentioned above.

    #629475
    brooklyn19
    Participant

    KIE – look it up. i saw the movie, but it’s based on a real experiment and it was slightly different. one of the kids actually committed suicide after the whole thing fell through.

    #629476
    Joseph
    Participant

    This is an example of the goy:

    Shocking study finds most will torture if ordered

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some things never change. Scientists said on Friday they had replicated an experiment in which people obediently delivered painful shocks to others if encouraged to do so by authority figures.

    Seventy percent of volunteers continued to administer electrical shocks — or at least they believed they were doing so — even after an actor claimed they were painful, Jerry Burger of Santa Clara University in California found.

    “What we found is validation of the same argument — if you put people into certain situations, they will act in surprising, and maybe often even disturbing, ways,” Burger said in a telephone interview. “This research is still relevant.”

    Burger was replicating an experiment published in 1961 by Yale University professor Stanley Milgram, in which volunteers were asked to deliver electric “shocks” to other people if they answered certain questions incorrectly.

    Milgram found that, after hearing an actor cry out in pain at 150 volts, 82.5 percent of participants continued administering shocks, most to the maximum 450 volts.

    The experiment surprised psychologists and no one has tried to replicate it because of the distress suffered by many of the volunteers who believed they were shocking another person.

    “When you hear the man scream and say, ‘let me out, I can’t stand it,’ that is the point when the real stress that people criticized Milgram for kicked in,” Burger said.

    “It was a very, very, very stressful experience for many of the participants. That is the reason no one can ethically replicate the experiment today.”

    ‘SURPRISING AND DISAPPOINTING’

    Burger modified the experiment, by stopping at the 150 volt point for the 29 men and 41 women in his experiment. He measured how many of his volunteers began to deliver another shock when prompted by the experiment’s leader — but instead of letting them do so, stopped them.

    In Milgram’s original experiment, 150 volts seemed to be the turning point.

    In Burger’s modified experiment, 70 percent of the volunteers were willing to give shocks greater than 150 volts.

    At one point, researchers brought in a volunteer who knew what was going on and refused to administer shocks beyond 150 volts. Despite the example, 63 percent of the participants continued administering shocks past 150 volts.

    “That was surprising and disappointing,” Burger said.

    Burger found no differences among his volunteers, aged 20 to 81, and carefully screened them to be average representatives of the U.S. public.

    Burger said the experiment, published in the American Psychologist, can only partly explain the widely reported prisoner abuse at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq or events during World War Two.

    “Although one must be cautious when making the leap from laboratory studies to complex social behaviors such as genocide, understanding the social psychological factors that contribute to people acting in unexpected and unsettling ways is important,” he wrote.

    “It is not that there is something wrong with the people,” Burger said. “The idea has been somehow there was this characteristic that people had back in the early 1960s that they were somehow more prone to obedience.”

    #629477
    oomis
    Participant

    I agree that blind obedience is not always a good thing. There was a story of a teacher who as an experiment, divided her class up into the blue-eyed blondes and the brown-eyed brunettes and began subtly making a very big demarcation between the groups. The end result was to show children how easy it is to become prejudiced and to treat people in a bigoted way,even when you know them to be your friends and good people. The children’s behavior towards their friends altered significantly until the experiment was explained.

    #629478
    Joseph
    Participant

    Shocking study finds most will torture if ordered

    Some things never change. Scientists said on Friday they had replicated an experiment in which people obediently delivered painful shocks to others if encouraged to do so by authority figures.

    Seventy percent of volunteers continued to administer electrical shocks — or at least they believed they were doing so — even after an actor claimed they were painful, Jerry Burger of Santa Clara University in California found.

    “What we found is validation of the same argument — if you put people into certain situations, they will act in surprising, and maybe often even disturbing, ways,” Burger said in a telephone interview. “This research is still relevant.”

    Burger was replicating an experiment published in 1961 by Yale University professor Stanley Milgram, in which volunteers were asked to deliver electric “shocks” to other people if they answered certain questions incorrectly.

    Milgram found that, after hearing an actor cry out in pain at 150 volts, 82.5 percent of participants continued administering shocks, most to the maximum 450 volts.

    The experiment surprised psychologists and no one has tried to replicate it because of the distress suffered by many of the volunteers who believed they were shocking another person.

    “When you hear the man scream and say, ‘let me out, I can’t stand it,’ that is the point when the real stress that people criticized Milgram for kicked in,” Burger said.

    “It was a very, very, very stressful experience for many of the participants. That is the reason no one can ethically replicate the experiment today.”

    ‘SURPRISING AND DISAPPOINTING’

    Burger modified the experiment, by stopping at the 150 volt point for the 29 men and 41 women in his experiment. He measured how many of his volunteers began to deliver another shock when prompted by the experiment’s leader — but instead of letting them do so, stopped them.

    In Milgram’s original experiment, 150 volts seemed to be the turning point.

    In Burger’s modified experiment, 70 percent of the volunteers were willing to give shocks greater than 150 volts.

    At one point, researchers brought in a volunteer who knew what was going on and refused to administer shocks beyond 150 volts. Despite the example, 63 percent of the participants continued administering shocks past 150 volts.

    “That was surprising and disappointing,” Burger said.

    Burger found no differences among his volunteers, aged 20 to 81, and carefully screened them to be average representatives of the U.S. public.

    Burger said the experiment, published in the American Psychologist, can only partly explain the widely reported prisoner abuse at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq or events during World War Two.

    “Although one must be cautious when making the leap from laboratory studies to complex social behaviors such as genocide, understanding the social psychological factors that contribute to people acting in unexpected and unsettling ways is important,” he wrote.

    “It is not that there is something wrong with the people,” Burger said. “The idea has been somehow there was this characteristic that people had back in the early 1960s that they were somehow more prone to obedience.”

    Reuters/Dec. 19, 2008

    #629479
    000646
    Participant

    They also did the same experiment using a puppy that they actualy shocked in full view of the person pushing the button.

    In the experiment there was also no threat whatsoever to the person pushing the button. They could have simply told the authority figure “no i will not push the button” and walked out. However the majority of the people just pushed it because they were told to do so by an authority figure.

    The conclusion that was reached was that even good people will generaly do somthing that they feel is wrong if told to do so by an authority figure.

    #629480
    asdfghjkl
    Participant

    use the wave, and lord of the flies-the book of the kids alone on an island!!!!

    #629481
    frum not crum
    Participant

    what about the guards in Abu Ghraib? My psych textbook mentioned them in connection to that experiment.

    #629482
    Joseph
    Participant

    I hope they tortured them well-enough in Abu Ghraib that they got useful info from those terrorists.

    #629483
    oomis
    Participant

    I am sorry to say this if it offends any liberal sensibilities, but all bets are off where terrorists are concerned. If they will not answer questions about their plans to maim, kill, torture, kidnap, and terrorize the people who are not behaimas, then do whatever it takes to get them to talk. They think nothing of slowly cutting off the head of an innocent Jewish journalist or businessman. They deserve to be treated in kind. Maybe if they were MORE afraid of being treated as they treat others, things would improve. Desperate times call for despicable measures, to rephrase.

    #629484
    Bais Yaakov maydel
    Participant

    000646 mentioned an authority figure….part of milgrams study was that if the person telling the guy giving shocks was wearing a lab coat, there was a much higher chance that he would go all the way to 400 volts. if not, and he wasnt as professional looking or authoritative, many wouldnt go as far as 400 volts, they would stop beforehand.

    frum not crum: i think that is connected to a different experiment, where a professor gathered his college students and separated them into 2 groups, guards and prisoners. for two weeks, they were supposed to act the roles given to them, but after 6 DAYS, they had to stop the experiment because the “guards” were acting in the cruelest ways towards the “prisoners,” their fellow classmates, many of whom needed therapy afterwards because they didnt feel human anymore.

    #629485
    Curious
    Member

    You people actually paid attention during these psych classes?!?! Wow!

    At the end of the semester I’d resell my psych texts as brand new, never opened books.

    …those where the good days….

    #629486
    jphone
    Member

    On second thought, these studies prove what the torah tells us. If the torah (the ultimate authority) tells us to wipe out amalek, we do. We are not supposed to have rachmanus on an amaleki, no matter how much they cry out.

    #629487
    brooklyn19
    Participant

    jphone – perfect example. a little hard to use, though. there’s no psychology involved – it’s people following the divine word.

    le’havdil – what are the arab terrorists doing? <en>we know it’s not the same thing, but from a third point of view it appears similar. we kill amalek because the torah says so. they kill jews because the koran says so.

    #629488
    Joseph
    Participant

    brooklyn, from the tenor and sarcasm of jphone’s comments here and in other threads, I would not be surprised at all if he actually believe killing Amalek and their descendants is archaic and not intended to be practiced in today’s modern day and age. (Of course we don’t practice it since we’re not sure who Amalek is, but if we did know, we would have the obligation to carry it today — and we would be first in line to do the Torah’s commandment.)

    #629489
    oomis
    Participant

    When you are kind to the crule, you are destined to be cruel to the kind. Look what happened with AGAG.

    #629490
    oomis
    Participant

    cruel, not crule. I dont spel so gud.

    #629491
    Bais Yaakov maydel
    Participant

    curious, i actually chose a class i would be interested in.

    #629492
    intellegent
    Member

    These experiments sound like good excuses for the nazis, arabs, etc. They are not excuses and should not be viewed as such. I don’t think giving someone an electric shock can be compared to killing, torturing, enslaving men, women, children, teenagers and babies!

    #629493
    [email protected]
    Participant

    you can continue discussing it but the paper is done with so you are just doing it out of sake of discussion not helping her with the paper at hand…

    #629494
    000646
    Participant

    These experiments are not excuses for anything. They just show that blind Obedience is a very dangrous thing and that without it alot of terrible things that happend in the past may never have happend.

    #629495

    Joseph, how do you know that there weren’t any Jews involved in that experiment?

    Also, even if we knew who Amalek was, we would not carry out the mitzvah of killing them in modern times since Am Yisrael is not united. It is not a mitzvah for individual Jews to kill individual members of Amalek, but rather for the Jewish nation to exterminate the nation of Amalek. That’s not going to happen until Mashiach comes.

    Re torturing terrorists, I’m all for it if it will serve the cause of getting information. However, my understanding of Abu Ghraib is that the terrorists were tortured unnecessarily, since we already had the information we needed.

    #629496
    brooklyn19
    Participant

    since when do we have mitzvos that are for the nation as a whole? isn’t it every jew’s obligation to fulfill all 613 (or whatever is possible for that individual – depending on male/female/kohen/levi/yisroel etc.) correct me if i’m wrong – i could very well be.

    my question is, does dina de’malchuta dina play any role?

    #629497
    Joseph
    Participant

    jf02,

    1. Its not a Jewish midda.

    2. Its a mitzvah daraisa for every single Jew to kill Amalek TODAY. The only reason we do not, is since we do not know who they are today.

    3. Those terrorists were tortured for good reason, to get useful counter-terrorism information. And every of those bloody murderers one got less than they deserved in any event.

    #629499

    Joseph:

    http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/267677/jewish/Wipe-Out-Amalek-Today.htm

    See this article for a different perspective on killing Amalek today. (From Chabad, no less!)

    Anyway, the situation is not as black-and-white as you paint it. For one thing, the obligation to destroy Amalek is cultural rather than national, as is clear from the Rambam which states that we are only to kill them if they refuse to accept the Sheva Mitzvot Bnei Noach.

    http://dir.salon.com/story/books/int/2005/11/10/karpinski/index.html

    If you look at this article, you will see that an estimated 90% of the Abu Ghraib prisoners were actually innocent. Do you call that “good reason” to torture them?

    #629500
    Joseph
    Participant

    jf02, The article says the same thing I stated. Since Amalek’s national identity today is unknown, it is impossible to fulfil the mitzvah to kill Amalek. If the identity were known, we — every individual Yid — would have that obligation here and now. No one disputes this. (Aside perhaps from your Reform/Conservative friends.

    I fully support the continued torture of every terrorist in Abu Gharib.

    #629501

    Ok, i know where you go to school keepinentertained…

    just as a side note to everyone who wrote to stop Abu Graib tortures…unless you are willing to put your own child there in the plane/plaza/hotel that the terrorist is planning on blowing up (and you caught one so could find out enough details to stop it if you tortured them) allow torture!the terrorists gave up their rights as humans when they chose to destroy others lives (with no cause besides fanaticism, greed…). those in the plane/hotel ect did not chose to be killed- but the terrorist did chose to kill!

    #629502
    [email protected]
    Participant

    well I guess that means we know where you go to school havesomeseichel as well…

    #629503

    or that I know someone who goes there… maybe my child? my sibling? a neighbor? a friend? the CR world may never know…

    bored- do u go there?

    #629505

    Or that I know someone who goes there….like a child, a sibling, a friend…

    bored/keepinentertained- whats your major? I assume you go there as well… are you in comp 1?

    #629506

    psych..for now.

    #629508

    enjoy….just dont psychoanalyze me or it might scare you a little too much…. 😉

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