Prison Experiment at Yale University – Milgram Experiment

Posted by admin  /   February 27, 2010  /   Posted in Ins and Outs  /   No Comments

Other than the Stanford Prison Experiment mentioned in the previous post, another similar experiment was conducted at Yale University by Stanley Milgram. The experiment is popularly known as Milgram Experiment after the name of the conductor. His friend wrote that both of the experiments at Stanford and the one held at Yale were frightening as these displayed the darker side of human nature.

The result of the experiment was that the prisoners suffered a lot from the harsh and humiliating attitude of the guards. Many showed emotional disturbances after the end of the experiment. Before the experiment they were confident but after that they had become shy.

A disturbance broke out on the very second day. The guards worked extra hours and broke the prisoner revolt and attacked the prisoners with fire extinguishers. When a new stand-by prisoner was admitted, he raised the issue that the prisoners should not be brutally treated; he in return was abused by the guards. When he went on a hunger strike and refused to eat sausages, the guards confined him alone. The guards addressing other prisoners said that they will release him if everyone would sleep on bare mattresses without blankets.

In psychology, the upshots of the experiment are said to prop up situational attributions of behavior rather than dispositional attributions. In other words, it appeared the situation caused the participants’ behavior, rather than anything intrinsic in their behaviors. In this way, it is standardized with the results of the Milgram experiment, in which ordinary people fulfilled orders what appeared to be damaging electric shocks to a confederate of the experimenter. It displayed impressionability and obedience of people when provided with a legitimizing ideology and social and institutional support. It is also used to demonstrate cognitive dissonance theory and the supremacy of authority.