Article Review: Behavioral Study of Obedience
By Stanley Milgram
Behavioral Study of Obedience
By Stanley Milgram
This article presents a behavioral study on the issue of obedience in human beings. Primarily the study conducted aims at discovering the degree to which individuals can be obedient to those in authority. Throughout the article readers are taken through the procedure for the study conducted, the assumptions of the study, as well as, the results attained after the completion of the study. The general procedure of the study involves ordering one subject to administer electric shock to another in a gradual manner. The study was conducted in the Yale University ground with the subjects included 40 males between the ages 20 and 50. The chosen subjects were of diverse racial and professional backgrounds, and they were obtained through a newspaper advertisement.
The procedure involved the separation of subjects into two main groups including naïve subjects and victims. The naïve subjects were given the responsibility of administering shock to the victims, under instruction from the experimenter. The experimenter provided all participants with the rationale for the study, which is the effect of punishment on obedience, as well as, the relationship between teachers and learners. Those selected to be victims were then subjected to a gradually increasing electrical shock administered by the naïve subjects. The naïve subjects would then be commanded to increase the electrical voltage until the point where the subject refuses to do so, or put simply, disobeys the commands of the experimenter. The assumptions of the study were that naïve subjects would at one point disobey the commands of the experimenter, with a very small number continuing to administer the shock when in high voltage. The results were as per the assumption with more than half of the participants quitting the experiment before it was over.
Effect of the Scientific Style of Writing
Evidently, the author embraces a scientific writing style when writing this article. As compared to other styles of writing, the scientific writing style is complex and sometimes hard to understand for the readers. For that reason, this style of writing may confuse the readers, especially when trying to understand the concept of the message being passed on to them. Scientific writing supports the use of numeric data and figures, something that readers may not be comfortable having to be subjected to. For example the section regarding the shock generator is very confusing, as it contains a number of scientific definitions of tools and objects to be used in the study. The provision of this only confuses the readers, and it is not prerequisite in the article. Instead of putting so much emphasis on describing the scientific aspects of the experiment, the author would have simply explained the procedure and left out the nitty-gritty descriptions of the tools to be used during the study. However, scientific writing gives the impression that the study was conducted by professionals who were well aware of the need for the study. Additionally, it provides the necessary reliability and validity regarding the study. The use of scientific writing in the article suggests that the article is legitimate and exhaustive, as it is supported by scientific data. Accordingly, readers will have the notion that what is being written is truth, meaning that the results are also true.