Author Topic: The Experimenter  (Read 532 times)

The Experimenter
« on: January 03, 2017, 06:01:59 AM »
This is the true story of an American social psychologist -Stanley Milgram- who conducted 'controversial' experiments designed to measure conformity, conscience and free will in 1961, in Yale University. (I personally don't find his experiments controversial.)

Probably, it is the most depressing story of revealing human nature. There are no gore scenes or visual depictions of such events. The movie has a light documentary style.

Everyone needs to see it. So please do. I am sure there are people here who watched it, but don't think 'it was '61 then it is 21st century now', the experiments have been repeated later in 2008 with pretty much the same results.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experimenter_(film)


Offline Baruch

Re: The Experimenter
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2017, 07:17:38 AM »
Yes, I am aware of this research, the one with the shocks.  Proves that group conformity outweighs morality.  A similar experiment with students playing guards and prisoners got out of control in a similar way.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment
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Offline Munch

Re: The Experimenter
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2017, 07:55:19 AM »
your link to wikipedia didn't show up anything, and when I googled it, is talked about the recent movie, presumed a retelling of the events, make in 2015.

I found this however.

http://experimentermovie.com/synopsis

Quote
Yale University, 1961. Stanley Milgram (Peter Sarsgaard) designs a psychology experiment in which people think they’re delivering electric shocks to an affable stranger (Jim Gaffigan) strapped into a chair in another room.

Subjects are told it’s about memory, but the experiment is really about conformity, conscience, and free will. Milgram is trying to come to terms with the Holocaust and to test people’s tendency to comply with authority.

Milgram meets Sasha (Winona Ryder), a former dancer living in New York. Their courtship includes a visit to the Yale lab, where Milgram’s experiment has yielded disturbing results: 65 per cent of Milgram’s subjects deliver shocks that may be fatal, obeying polite commands from a lab-coated authority figure (John Palladino).

(Actors portraying subjects include Anthony Edwards, Taryn Manning, John Leguizamo, Anton Yelchin and Danny Abeckaser.)

Milgram is working at Harvard when his obedience findings are reported in The New York Times. He is accused of being deceptive, a manipulative monster. Sasha – now Mrs. Milgram – fortifies his sense of empathy and ethics, as does his colleague Paul Hollander (Edoardo Ballerini).

At Harvard, Milgram undertakes now-classic research into human behavior, including the “lost letter” technique for assessing public opinion, and the Small World social networking experiment, the basis for “six degrees of separation.”

But the obedience experiments threaten to overshadow all else. When Milgram barges into a classroom to announce that President Kennedy has been shot, students don’t believe him – his reputation for deception has eclipsed his credibility.

Milgram fails to get tenure at Harvard, but he moves on, accepting a professorship at the City University of New York, where he guides graduate students, treating the streets as a vast experimental laboratory. All the same, he’s compelled to return to his obedience work, re-igniting debate with his book, Obedience to Authority, an Experimental View, published in 1974.

Milgram goes on the talk-show circuit, and sees his experiments distorted in The Tenth Level, a made-for-TV movie starring William Shatner (Kellan Lutz) and Ossie Davis (Dennis Haysbert).

Although Milgram’s life is cut short by a heart condition, EXPERIMENTER’s tone is celebratory, and as playful and provocative as a Milgram experiment. A bold use of voice-over and rear-screen projections mirrors Milgram’s inner life and reflects his insights into human behavior, social structures, the interplay of reality and illusion.

What would you do? is an underlying question in major Milgram research. EXPERIMENTER aims to show how Milgram’s conscience and creative spirit continue to be resonant, poignant, and inspirational.

Quote
You could say we are puppets. But I believe that we are puppets with perception, with awareness. Sometimes we can see the strings. And perhaps our awareness is the first step in our liberation.
— Stanley Milgram



It seems to imply this more a publicity stunt then anything else. If this was a test to determine peoples will power in defying authority, then using one person to test this theory, doesn't prove much other then the person in question will either be someone who keeps doing it, or someone who refuses to do it.

simply, unless the scientist held a loaded gun at me and told me to keep giving electric shock to someone or their shoot, then I wouldn't keep doing it.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 07:59:29 AM by Munch »

Offline Munch

Re: The Experimenter
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2017, 08:01:27 AM »
Yes, I am aware of this research, the one with the shocks.  Proves that group conformity outweighs morality.  A similar experiment with students playing guards and prisoners got out of control in a similar way.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment

It proved a few people will go by conformity instead of morality. Yes, there are people in the world who do operate as such, they are called mcdonald employees.
But I believe there are just as many people who would have a moral code of conduct.

Offline Mr.Obvious

Re: The Experimenter
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2017, 08:41:58 AM »
Yes, I am aware of this research, the one with the shocks.  Proves that group conformity outweighs morality.  A similar experiment with students playing guards and prisoners got out of control in a similar way.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment

Yeah, and the movie based on that concept is quite good: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Das_Experiment
I think I'll give Shoe's film a watch sometime soon.
E = Mc²

In the end, we are all standing in the dark,
trying to figure out why we are here.
But let us not choose one direction
without proof of where it is headed.

Check your pocket for matches
so we can observe and learn together
as fast friends and relative idiots.

Re: The Experimenter
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2017, 08:43:07 AM »
Munch, the page you posted is about the movie. It's not some information page proving this is a public stunt. Because it is not. Do you even understand what is the experiment about? this is not about 'a few people' going for conformity.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment#Results

Quote
The experiment[edit]

Milgram Experiment advertisement
Three individuals were involved: the one running the experiment, the subject of the experiment (a volunteer), and a confederate pretending to be a volunteer. These three people fill three distinct roles: the Experimenter (an authoritative role), the Teacher (a role intended to obey the orders of the Experimenter), and the Learner (the recipient of stimulus from the Teacher). The subject and the actor both drew slips of paper to determine their roles, but unknown to the subject, both slips said "teacher". The actor would always claim to have drawn the slip that read "learner", thus guaranteeing that the subject would always be the "teacher". Next, the "teacher" and "learner" were taken into an adjacent room where the "learner" was strapped into what appeared to be an electric chair. The experimenter told the participants this was to ensure that the "learner" would not escape.[1] The "teacher" and "learner" were then separated into different rooms where they could communicate but not see each other. In one version of the experiment, the confederate was sure to mention to the participant that he had a heart condition.[1]

At some point prior to the actual test, the "teacher" was given a sample electric shock from the electroshock generator in order to experience firsthand what the shock that the "learner" would supposedly receive during the experiment would feel like. The "teacher" was then given a list of word pairs that he was to teach the learner. The teacher began by reading the list of word pairs to the learner. The teacher would then read the first word of each pair and read four possible answers. The learner would press a button to indicate his response. If the answer was incorrect, the teacher would administer a shock to the learner, with the voltage increasing in 15-volt increments for each wrong answer. If correct, the teacher would read the next word pair.[1]

The subjects believed that for each wrong answer, the learner was receiving actual shocks. In reality, there were no shocks. After the confederate was separated from the subject, the confederate set up a tape recorder integrated with the electroshock generator, which played prerecorded sounds for each shock level. After a number of voltage-level increases, the actor started to bang on the wall that separated him from the subject. After several times banging on the wall and complaining about his heart condition, all responses by the learner would cease.[1]

At this point, many people indicated their desire to stop the experiment and check on the learner. Some test subjects paused at 135 volts and began to question the purpose of the experiment. Most continued after being assured that they would not be held responsible. A few subjects began to laugh nervously or exhibit other signs of extreme stress once they heard the screams of pain coming from the learner.[1]

If at any time the subject indicated his desire to halt the experiment, he was given a succession of verbal prods by the experimenter, in this order:[1]

Please continue.
The experiment requires that you continue.
It is absolutely essential that you continue.
You have no other choice, you must go on.
If the subject still wished to stop after all four successive verbal prods, the experiment was halted. Otherwise, it was halted after the subject had given the maximum 450-volt shock three times in succession.[1]

The experimenter also gave special prods if the teacher made specific comments. If the teacher asked whether the learner might suffer permanent physical harm, the experimenter replied, "Although the shocks may be painful, there is no permanent tissue damage, so please go on." If the teacher said that the learner clearly wants to stop, the experimenter replied, "Whether the learner likes it or not, you must go on until he has learned all the word pairs correctly, so please go on."[1]

Results[edit]
Before conducting the experiment, Milgram polled fourteen Yale University senior-year psychology majors to predict the behavior of 100 hypothetical teachers. All of the poll respondents believed that only a very small fraction of teachers (the range was from zero to 3 out of 100, with an average of 1.2) would be prepared to inflict the maximum voltage. Milgram also informally polled his colleagues and found that they, too, believed very few subjects would progress beyond a very strong shock.[1] He also reached out to honorary Harvard University graduate Chaim Homnick, who noted that this experiment would not be concrete evidence of the Nazis' innocence, due to fact that "poor people are more likely to cooperate." Milgram also polled forty psychiatrists from a medical school, and they believed that by the tenth shock, when the victim demands to be free, most subjects would stop the experiment. They predicted that by the 300-volt shock, when the victim refuses to answer, only 3.73 percent of the subjects would still continue and, they believed that "only a little over one-tenth of one percent of the subjects would administer the highest shock on the board."[6]

In Milgram's first set of experiments, 65 percent (26 of 40) of experiment participants administered the experiment's final massive 450-volt shock,[1] though many were very uncomfortable doing so; at some point, every participant paused and questioned the experiment; some said they would refund the money they were paid for participating in the experiment. Throughout the experiment, subjects displayed varying degrees of tension and stress. Subjects were sweating, trembling, stuttering, biting their lips, groaning, digging their fingernails into their skin, and some were even having nervous laughing fits or seizures.[1]

Milgram summarized the experiment in his 1974 article, "The Perils of Obedience", writing:

The legal and philosophic aspects of obedience are of enormous importance, but they say very little about how most people behave in concrete situations. I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist. Stark authority was pitted against the subjects' [participants'] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects' [participants'] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation.

Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.[7]

The original Simulated Shock Generator and Event Recorder, or shock box, is located in the Archives of the History of American Psychology.

Later, Milgram and other psychologists performed variations of the experiment throughout the world, with similar results.[8] Milgram later investigated the effect of the experiment's locale on obedience levels by holding an experiment in an unregistered, backstreet office in a bustling city, as opposed to at Yale, a respectable university. The level of obedience, "although somewhat reduced, was not significantly lower." What made more of a difference was the proximity of the "learner" and the experimenter. There were also variations tested involving groups.

Thomas Blass of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County performed a meta-analysis on the results of repeated performances of the experiment. He found that while the percentage of participants who are prepared to inflict fatal voltages ranged from 28% to 91%, there was no significant trend over time and the average percentage for US studies (61%) was close to the one for non-US studies (66%).[9][10]

The participants who refused to administer the final shocks neither insisted that the experiment itself be terminated, nor left the room to check the health of the victim without requesting permission to leave, as per Milgram's notes and recollections, when fellow psychologist Philip Zimbardo asked him about that point.[11]


Milgram created a documentary film titled Obedience showing the experiment and its results. He also produced a series of five social psychology films, some of which dealt with his experiments.[12]

« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 08:54:05 AM by drunkenshoe »

Offline Munch

Re: The Experimenter
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2017, 09:32:52 AM »
Well sorry shoe but the one you linked originally didn't lead to any source of information, so had to google it myself.

Also, you've yet to confer what your thoughts on the experiment is. At its core it is an experiment in morality, and honestly, I don't think we need today an experiment from the 1960s, repeated, to tell us there are shitty people in the world is less of the moral compass then others, they exist, people kill, wars happen, murder happens.
Yet I don't get depressed about it because I know the opposite exists too, that people can be moral, and I DO appreciate when people show their good, moral nature.

A few days ago, one of my workmates collapsed while working. It took everyone by surprise, and right away two of our team were beside here, she was going into a seizure. I came off from my work station and was there to, and when asked to get her a cold cloth I ran to the staff room to get one.
As this happened, and she was made comfortable, I had to attend to customers because where was nobody else around to, and lines were forming, so I had to serve them, direct them to use the other exit door (since she collapsed in front of one of them). When this happened, as ambulance crew arrived, several people ignored me telling them where to leave from and just stepped over the ambulances equipment to leave that door. HOWEVER, There were just as many people who were concerned about her, asking me if she was alright, giving their sympathy and hope she was okay, and understood exactly what was being asked of them so not to get in the way of the ambulance crew.

In any situation where morality is brought into question you will find there will always be a mix of different reactions to how people conduct themselves.



However, this one your talking about is morality when meet with authority telling them to do something they are against wanting to do.

I would bring up the idea that in many people, survival is one of the most powerful instincts. People will do things for self preservation before morality more then anything else, its just human instincts. Someone threatens you to hurt someone else or they will hurt you triggers that in peoples psyches. In this experiment, you could argue that the authority being pushed on them is what is triggering that act of survival before morality kicks in, and it does, with a lot of people.


We are a flawed species, you just have to watch animal documentaries to observe how primates act in the wild to get an idea of what our species is based off of, what we evolved from. Also evil doesn't exist, its a construct by people to explain away aspects within the species that we find unsavory, but everyone is capable of it.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 09:42:03 AM by Munch »

Re: The Experimenter
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2017, 10:14:46 AM »
I offered a link for a movie based on a real story, so people would watch it and post what they think if they choose to. You couldn't arrive to the Milgram experiment link from there and posted the commercial link of the video and told it is a public stunt. 



No, I really do not have to confer some thoughts on the experiment. The obedience experiment is a very simple experiment and it was successful. But people, exactly like you are doing right now, chose different ways to compartmentalise the issue.

No, the experiment is repeated in 2008 -also different times after Milgram himself as it is written above- with pretty much the same results.

These people are not under threat or some drastic situation they need to survive. Nobody holds a gun to their head or keep them there forced. They just volunteer for an experiment about memory by their own free will. There isn't an accident or a situation that occurs in front of them out of the script given to them. They know what they are doing. The only thing they don't know is that the shocks are not real. They are actually also told that the learner has a slight heart condition. Their instincts tells them not to do it, they do not want to do it, BUT they do it anyway, just because they were told to, even though they do not have to go on in anyway, even though they can just walk away. None of them check the person in the room. Or refuse to do it from the beginning when it was explained to them what they are expected do, after they experinced a 45 volts of shock themselves which % 65 of them raised to a massive 450 volts. They have a choice all the time.

It's about conformity, free will and conscience. About being able to make decisions by yourself in a simple situation under authority.

This is not some daily morality lesson about how many people will react to a girl having a seizure or someone collapsed with a health problem in a public place where you can call an ambulance right away.


You still have no idea what is the experiment about, let alone why it is very important. Watch it or don't watch it. Just stop talking about it as something that it is not. 



Offline Munch

Re: The Experimenter
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2017, 11:36:17 AM »
So what your saying is, in not conforming the the ideas this experiment put across in its results, in looking at it and considering the workings of it, instead just following exactly what they say it is, I'm in the wrong here?
Isn't that in itself just conforming to what people tell you something is, rather then analyzing it further?

Oh, maybe it really does mean it is says.

Also, conscience doesn't exist, that again is a construct like good and evil. But if that is part of your debate, then morality comes heavily into what a 'conscience' would be about. I am moral, therefore have a good conscience, or I am immoral, therefore have a bad conscience.

you don't need an experiment like this to understand how humanity has flaws, follows the pack, works to survive and learns new things as it grows. Teaching a child empathy, that its wrong to hurt others because you don't like it when they hurt you, is one of the things we ingrain in children, because we are not born knowing how to empathize with others, we learn it.

« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 11:47:43 AM by Munch »

Re: The Experimenter
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2017, 12:30:10 PM »
No, I am saying that you don't know what is the subject of this thread. You are either too stupid or not interested in it enough to try to understand it, but it seems that you think that if you throw your personal thoughts about morality around you'll get somewhere about something you have no idea of. I don't think you even understand the certain concepts you are using. In any way, you are a waste of time.

Offline Baruch

Re: The Experimenter
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2017, 01:01:28 PM »
No, I am saying that you don't know what is the subject of this thread. You are either too stupid or not interested in it enough to try to understand it, but it seems that you think that if you throw your personal thoughts about morality around you'll get somewhere about something you have no idea of. I don't think you even understand the certain concepts you are using. In any way, you are a waste of time.

Not nice.  Have another Turkish coffee on me ;-)
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Offline Baruch

Re: The Experimenter
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2017, 01:04:57 PM »
Munch ... a comment about "evil".  If you have heard people condemn homosexuality as evil, and you are homosexual, then you might say "Fuck evil".  Personally I don't think homosexuals as a group are evil.  But some people, perhaps not as a group, are evil individually.  Hitler wasn't a marginally moral person.  Nor was he the typical German.  A world that is amoral aka unethical ... isn't a society I care to support.  But one doesn't have to be moralistic or judgmental about morality.
שלום

Re: The Experimenter
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2017, 02:33:21 PM »
Not nice.  Have another Turkish coffee on me ;-)

Why am I supposed to be nice?

I posted a link in the arts and entertainment forum, making an explanation about a movie based on a real story about a series of experiments. Pointed that it is an important movie to watch. He posted the synopsis of the movie with a commercial link.

-He is unable to pick the name of the protagonist, type it in the google bar and check if he is a real character or not, but instead he says there were no other links and this looks more like a publicity stunt about a few people acting immoral that we don't need go to 1961 even though I pointed out clearly that it was repeated in 2008 with very similar results in the OP.

-The link about the experiment is provided to him. It's a short, simple text in his mother language explaining the experiment and showing that it is not about a few people and that it was repeated a few times. He keeps saying the same things.

-He starts talking about his co-worker collapsing and how people reacted and how people are acting according to their instincts...etc which is exactly the opposite of the reaction of the subjects in the obedience experiment.

-He doesn't even understand that it is the concept of morality which is referred as a general religious construct, but conscience is here used as something more personal, because it is about inflicting pain first hand and hearing the reaction and that the morality discussed in this movie's context was the ethics of the scientist who conducted the experiments.

-He keeps writing about how most people and he himself would react which he sounds so fucking sure about it. Who the fuck cares if he is moral or not. Those people who pushed the button up to 450 volts are as moral as him. They are as moral as everyone. That's the whole fucking point.

-It's clearly expressed that experts on this field miserably failed with their professional assumptions which is by the way exactly what he says, he keeps starting-ending with it.

-Then he asks me if I am saying that 'in not conforming the the ideas this experiment put across in its results, in looking at it and considering the workings of it, instead just following exactly what they say it is'. The experiment he has no idea by the way, because he is unable to offer anything about the experiment itself, I am guessing he means being sceptical about the results, although it is doubtful at this point if he gets why an experiment like this actually counts on what grounds, then jumps to primate behaviour and declare that we do not need these experiments to see we are flawed. We don't need experiments, guys! Wohoooooo. They are canceled.


It would be a fantasy to expect him to make connections and the consequences of these results in real life. Let's say on military personnel -active or not- in medicine or any various line of work that is directly related to life and death, absolute authority, or the fucking morality everyone has so much apparently, because he cannot even get what is the point the experiment, but he is a very moral person please be sure about that.


Basically, he cannot hit anywhere close to the point about the subject and keeps talking out off is ass and making claims about something he refuses to be informed and demanding an explanation from me.


Yeah, demonstration of willful stupidity. It's not name calling. He is fucking stupid.


« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 02:47:14 PM by drunkenshoe »

Offline Munch

Re: The Experimenter
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2017, 02:34:09 PM »
Munch ... a comment about "evil".  If you have heard people condemn homosexuality as evil, and you are homosexual, then you might say "Fuck evil".  Personally I don't think homosexuals as a group are evil.  But some people, perhaps not as a group, are evil individually.  Hitler wasn't a marginally moral person.  Nor was he the typical German.  A world that is amoral aka unethical ... isn't a society I care to support.  But one doesn't have to be moralistic or judgmental about morality.

Trust me I'm not arguing that there arn't morally reprehensible people in the world, and calling them evil is the best quick way to regard them, people like hitler, jeffrey dahmer, may west, ed gein, some of the worst kinds of cold, calculating people in history, such people exist and will always exist, there will always be morally reprehensible people in the world that do terrible, immoral things. I more meant evil as an entity doesn't exist in people, because the things they do comes down to the choices they end up making.


Shoe, you jumping the gun. I've not demanded anything from you. I wouldn't have minded your interpretation of this experiment, and why you wanted to talk about it, but you didn't like my own thoughts on it and now are raving and name calling. Clearly something I said frustrated you, but I feel I've said what I need to say about it now, so the floors all yours.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 02:37:59 PM by Munch »

Re: The Experimenter
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2017, 03:53:34 PM »
Shoe, you jumping the gun. I've not demanded anything from you. I wouldn't have minded your interpretation of this experiment, and why you wanted to talk about it, but you didn't like my own thoughts on it and now are raving and name calling. Clearly something I said frustrated you, but I feel I've said what I need to say about it now, so the floors all yours.

Stop dumping this on me. You are making irrelevant assumptions and arriving to stupid conclusions from the beginning without reading anything provided to you in a movie recommendation thread, about something you are not informed, refuse to be informed and asking me to make explanations. Cut the crap.