• Question: Would you obey an order to hurt someone?

    Asked by bubblesx to Rob, Olly, Nicola, Jasmin, Dennis, Caroline on 12 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Jasmin Moon

      Jasmin Moon answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      I’d like to say no, but as Milgram’s experiments have shown us we can do things we wouldn’t normally think ourselves capable of just because someone in authority has told us to. Some say that Milgram’s findings show that people from history who did terrible things (such as the Nazi’s in WW2) weren’t actually bad people, they were just obeying orders without thinking about the consequences. If you want to read more about Milgram’s experiments there is lots of info here: https://www.simplypsychology.org/milgram.html

    • Photo: Robert Dempsey

      Robert Dempsey answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      Personally, no. In terms of Milgram’s studies, there’s some discussion about whether Milgram’s participants really show obedience to authority – transcripts of the participants talking during the study suggest that many thought they were helping science and possibly just went along with what was happening. The participants possibly weren’t as distressed when had to give the ‘shocks’ to the learners as common assumptions about Milgram’s study suggests.

    • Photo: Dennis Relojo-Howell

      Dennis Relojo-Howell answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      I would. If I really trust the person giving that order. I also have a high tendency to obey authority

    • Photo: Caroline Brett

      Caroline Brett answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      It would probably depend on who that someone was and what the consequences of disobeying would be!

    • Photo: Nicola Johnstone

      Nicola Johnstone answered on 13 Jun 2019:


      Not without question!

    • Photo: Oliver Clabburn

      Oliver Clabburn answered on 13 Jun 2019:


      While it’s easy for me to say ‘no’ when I’m sat behind a computer at home, I do wonder whether this might be very different in an alternative situation! We know from lots of studies like Milgram that we obey orders from an authoritative figure, and I don’t think I’d be any different!

      ….Now, where’s my electric shock panel….?

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