Full ABC Milgram Replication Online

Jerry BurgerStanley Milgram’s obedience studies of the early 1960s have been something of a staple on this blog (e.g., here, here, and here), in no small part because there has been a lot of news about them of late. I have frequently mentioned that last year the ABC show Primetime did a modified replication of Milgram’s first and most famous obedience study, in which about 2/3 of seemingly normal Americans were willing to shock an apparent fellow participant to the point of death on the orders of a scientist. Although this studied is regarded by many as a paradigm case of unethical research, because the subjects are deceived about the nature of the study and put through a very stressful procedure, the psychologist who conducted the ABC replication — Jerry Burger of Santa Clara University in California — was able to convince his local Institutional Research Board to approve the procedure with relatively minor changes (primarily, lowering the apparent voltage point at which the experiment was terminated). To the surprise of some (who naively thought we had since learned better), Burger’s results were comparable with Milgram’s of 45 years earlier. Burger also had enough women in his study that he was able to do a meaningful sex comparison (women are somewhat more willing to continue with the experiment than men), and he was able to test the effect of subjects’ having a friend to “help” them (which also tends to make them somewhat more obedient).

Until now I have only been able to find a 6-minute abridgment of the replication episode on-line. However, I have finally located the full episode on Google Video here. According to Burger’s website , the episode is being sold on DVD for $19.95, so I would expect the free copy on Google Video to be pulled any day now (as the original Milgram movie was). You can download the copy that is currently online in mp4 format.

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About Christopher Green

Professor of Psychology at York University (Toronto). Former editor of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. Creator of the "Classics in the History of Psychology" website and of the "This Week in the History of Psychology" podcast series.

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