+

‘The last possible resort’: A forgotten prod and the in situ standardization of Stanley Milgram’s voice-feedback condition.

Gibson, Stephen (2013) ‘The last possible resort’: A forgotten prod and the in situ standardization of Stanley Milgram’s voice-feedback condition. History of Psychology, 16 (3). pp. 177-194.

[img]
Preview
Text
Gibson 2013 HoP.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (366kB) | Preview

Abstract

The present paper uses previously unpublished data from Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiments in order to draw attention to a hitherto neglected procedural innovation of the voice-feedback condition. In three experimental sessions in this condition, the experimenter responded to a participant’s attempted defiance by leaving the room, apparently to speak to the learner, before returning to assure the participant that the learner was willing and/or able to continue. This paper documents the usage of this tactic during the voice-feedback condition, and highlights the negotiation surrounding the use of the tactic between Milgram and his confederate, John Williams, who played the role of the experimenter. It is shown that the subsequent use of this tactic did not conform to the conditions for its use agreed by Milgram and Williams. Moreover, the tactic seems to have been dropped both from subsequent experimental conditions and Milgram’s published accounts of his work. These observations are discussed in relation to historical work on experimentation in social psychology, research on standardization in the sociology of scientific knowledge, and in terms of their implications for theory and research on dis/obedience.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: 10.1037/a0032430
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
School/Department: School of Psychological & Social Sciences
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/596

University Staff: Request a correction | RaY Editors: Update this record