Perspectives and Theories in Psychology

Perspectives and Theories in Psychology

Kaplan University

PS124 – Unit 5 Assignment

The Milgram Experiment is an experiment that explores people and how far they would go to please authority and the dangers of group therapy. They know their actions are wrong but are in conflict to obey authority. Milgram wanted to know how people who are descent members of society could do unthinkable acts that are inhumane, harsh, and by not showing any kind of feelings of compassion or conscious. These experiments lead to Milgram wanting to know how the Germans could permit the extermination of the Jews and how so many officers said that they were only following orders.

  • Identify the study (video) you selected.

““I was only following orders.””

Adolf Eichmann, Director of Nazi deportation of Jews to concentration camps

In 1962, Milgram, used shock generator to do his experiment. He used 40 males ages from 20-50. Milgram wanted to see how far a person would go, by listening to and obeying authority, when they were torn with their own morals and conscious.

Psychological disorder is a significant dysfunction in a person’s thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. (Meyers, 2015) I do believe this research explains the development of psychological disorders. This research explains personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder and schizophrenia. The development of people not responding to other individual’s pain by giving electric shocks to them just to obey authority. It explains how the mind can close itself off from expressing empathy or by having any concern of another person’s discomfort or pain.

  • Summarize the results of this study and what implications it has with regards to human behavior and mental processes that you’ve learned about in Units 4-5.
  • Milgram is conducting an experiment with a shock generator that is supposed to send volts to one participant from the other participant (teacher). The first participant is the teacher the one asking the questions of the word pair test and giving the electric shock to the other participant (learner) for each answer that was not correct. The electric shock would increase with each wrong answer. Unknowingly, the (teacher) participant did not know the experiment was rigged and the other participant (learner) was in on the study. In Milgram experiments, Milgram focused on the darker side of obedience and how people would obey authority figures, even when it goes against their conscience and it resulted in people being hurt and harmed. Socially, when another person experiences pain we normally would have empathy for them. When feeling empathy for another’s pain, a person’s own brain activity may partly mirror that of the other’s brain in pain (Singer et al, 2004). In Milgram experiments some people did feel the pain that they thought the victim was experiencing and refused to continue with the experiment but you had most people who felt that obeying authority was more pertinent to them and they continued with the experiment. Even with the experiment causing them distress as they continued giving the electric shocks up to the end. As human beings, our minds tend to focus on doing as we are told by authority rather than doing what is right.
  • Discuss what is meant by the term states of consciousness and apply it to your research study, considering whether it impacted the behavior or mental processes of the subjects involved.
  • State of consciousness is the awareness of your surroundings, feelings, and thoughts. In the experiment, the state of consciousness for most of the teachers were not executed, because they ignored their feelings and own thoughts of knowing that what they were doing to another human being was wrong. They were pulled into obeying the authority figure who was nearby telling them to continue, no matter the cost or what it would do to the victim in the next room. After being pressed by the facilitator the teacher continued to give the electric shocks to the victim ignoring the victim cries for them to stop. I believe that it did impact some of the participants, for them not to proceed with the experiment because of their consciousness awareness, that if they continue they would be doing harm to another human being. I also feel that it made a lot of participants to take a god look at their behavior as to why they felt they had no choice but to follow authority in doing something unethical, when they did have a choice to say I am not going to do harm or hurt anyone. ““Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process”” (1974, p. 6). (Meyers,2015)
  • Consider whether or not you think this research could explain the development of psychological disorders? Explain your reasoning using reference to the study and the disorder(s).

The theory that I feel that may have influenced Milgram’s research is social cognitive theory. Social cognitive theory is the sub group for social psychology. In this process, we understand a person’s behavior and how a person processes social situations by the way they think feel and interact with others. (DSM-5, 2013) In Milgram’s experiments, he found that people who adhere to please authority will act out of their normal way and do things that they normally will not do to another person.

  • Theories lead to hypotheses, which lead to research. Explain which theory you think may have been the influence for the research study that you chose. (For example: psychodynamic, humanistic, social cognitive, behaviorism, or trait theory) Explain your reasoning using reference to the study and the theory.


American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author; 2013.

Markrho, (September 25, 2010) Milgram Obedience Study, Retrieved from

Myers, D. G. (06/2014). Exploring Psychology with Updates on DSM-5, 9th Edition. [Kaplan]. Retrieved from

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