Meta-Milgram: An Empirical Synthesis of the Obedience Experiments

Milgram’s famous experiment contained 23 small-sample conditions that elicited striking variations in obedient responding. A synthesis of these diverse conditions could clarify the factors that influence obedience in the Milgram paradigm. We assembled data from the 21 conditions (N = 740) in which obedience involved progression to maximum voltage (overall rate 43.6%) and coded these conditions on 14 properties pertaining to the learner, the teacher, the experimenter, the learner teacher relation, the experimenter-teacher relation, and the experimental setting. Logistic regression analysis indicated that eight factors influenced the likelihood that teachers continued to the 450 volt shock: the experimenter’s directiveness,legitimacy, and consistency; group pressure on the teacher to disobey; the indirectness, proximity, and intimacy of the relation between teacher and learner; and the distance between the teacher and the experimenter. Implications are discussed.

Source Info

Meta-Milgram: An Empirical Synthesis of the Obedience Experiments
Nick Haslam, Steve Loughnan, Gina Perry

PLOS ONE Vol. 9, Issue 4


Milgram, Psychology