The videotape that you're about to see, edited specifically for this class, is a slightly condensed version of Stanley Milgram's famous documentary, Obedience, generously provided without fee by Alexandra Milgram. To make this documentary, Professor Milgram secretly filmed 14 experimental participants over a two-day period, and then later asked their permission to use what was filmed. So what you're going to see is the real deal— it's not a reenactment. It's people actually participating in the Milgram experiment. >> It is May 1962. An experiment is being conducted in the elegant Interaction Laboratory at Yale University. The subjects are 40 males between the ages of 20 and 50, residing in the greater New Haven area. They were obtained by a newspaper advertisement and direct mail solicitation. The subjects range in occupation from corporation presidents to good humor men and plumbers, and an educational level from one who has not finished elementary school to subjects who have doctorate and other professional degrees. >> Alright. Have a seat right here. Now, both of you have been paid, so let me—sit right down, please. So let me say that the checks are yours simply for showing up at the lab, and from this point on, no matter what happens, the money is yours. I should like to tell both of you a little about the memory project. Psychologists have developed several theories to explain how people learn various types of material. Some of the better known theories are treated in the book over there, The Teaching-Learning Process, by Cantor. One theory is that people learn things correctly whenever they get punished for making a mistake. A common application of this theory would be when parents spank a child when he does something wrong. So, what we're doing in the project is bringing together a number of adults in different occupations and ages, and we're asking some of them to be teachers and some to be learners. We want to find out just what effect different people have on each other as teachers and learners, and also what effect punishment will have on learning in this situation. Therefore, I'm going to ask one of you to be the teacher here this afternoon, the other to be the learner, and the way we usually decide is to let you draw from these two pieces of paper on which I have written two positions. If this is agreeable with both of you— >> Yeah. >> Would you take one please, and you the other? Would you open those and tell me which of you is which, please? >> Teacher. >> Learner. >> Teacher, and Learner. Alright, now the next thing we'll have to do is set the learner up so that he can get some sort of punishment. So, Learner, would you step out here with me, please? >> Mm-hmm. You want to step right in here, Learner, and have a seat there? You can leave your coat on the back of that chair, if you will, please. Take it right off. That's fine. Have a seat right here, and pull yourself right up to the counter, please. Ah, Teacher, you may look on, if you like, while we get set up in here. Would you roll up your right sleeve, please? Left sleeve. That's fine. Now, what I'm going to do is strap down your arms to avoid any excessive movement on your part during the experiment. Is that too tight? >> It's alright. >> And this electrode is connected to the shock generator in the next room, and this electrode paste is to provide a good contact to avoid any blister or burn. Alright, now let me explain to you, Learner, exactly what's going to happen, and what you're supposed to do. The teacher will read a list of word pairs to you like these: blue-girl, nice-day, fat-neck, and so forth. You are to try to remember each pair. For the next time through, the teacher will read only the first word or the first half of the word pair. For example, he will say "blue," and then he'll read four other words, such as boy, girl, grass, hat. Now, your job is to remember which one of these four other words was originally paired with blue, and you indicate your answer by pressing one of these four switches. Now can you reach those alright? That's fine. Now, if the first word I just read, boy, had been paired with blue, you'd press the first switch, and this will indicate to the teacher that you thought it was the first word. If you thought it had been the second word, girl, you'd press the second switch, and so forth, for the third word, the third switch, the fourth word, the fourth switch. Now, if you get it correct, fine. If you make an error, however, you'll be punished with an electric shock. So, of course, it is to your advantage that you learn all these word pairs as quickly as possible. >> I should think so. >> Do you have any questions now before we go into the next room? >> No, but I think I should say this. About two years ago I was in the veterans' hospital in West Haven. >> Mm-hmm. >> And while there, they detected a heart condition. Nothing serious, but as long as I'm having these shocks, um, how strong are they? How dangerous are they? >> Well, no. Although they may be painful, they're not dangerous. >> Mm-hmm. >> Anything else? >> No. That's all. >> Alright. Teacher, would you take the test and be seated in front of the shock generator, please, in the next room? This machine generates electric shocks. When you press one of the switches all the way down, the learner gets a shock. When you release it, the shock stops, you see. Like that. The switch will remain in this middle position after you've released it to show you which switches you've used on the board. Of course, if you were to press any one of them again, the learner would get another shock. >> All subjects are given identical instructions and a sample shock. >> The machine is now on. To give you, the teacher, an idea of how much shock the learner is getting, we think it's only fair that you receive a sample shock yourself. Are you agreeable with this? >> Alright with me. >> Would you pull up your right sleeve a little bit, please? No, on the right. That's fine. I'm going to ask you to close your eyes and estimate the number of volts you receive in the sample shock. Do not open your eyes until I tell you to do so, please. Would you close them now? Okay, you may open your eyes, and using the voltage scale here, would you estimate for me the number of volts you received, please? You may also use the verbal designation "slight," "moderate," "strong," so forth, to help you. >> I'd say moderate. >> A number, please, would you? >> About 75. >> 75. No, actually, it was 45, here, although it may have seemed stronger because of the electrode paste, which provides a perfect contact. Alright, let's go on to our instructions. We will begin with this test. You will read each pair of words in this list once to the learner until you've read through the entire list. Direct your voice toward that microphone as the rooms are partially soundproof. After you've read through the list once, you'll go on to the next page, and here starting from Line A, you'll read the word in large letters along with each of the other words in the line. For example, in the first line you read "blue: boy, girl, grass, hat." Now, after you've read the four choices, the learner pushes one of the switches on the board in front of him, and the number he has selected will light up in this box: 1, 2, 3 or 4. Now, if he gives the correct answer, you say "correct" and go on to the next line. The correct answer's on the line and is also indicated in the right margin. If he were to indicate the wrong answer, you would say "wrong." Then tell him the number of volts you're going to give him. Then give him the punishment. Then read the correct word pair once, and then go on to the next line. For example, if he indicated 3 for "blue," you would say: "Wrong, 15 volts." You press and release the switch. Read "blue-girl," and then go on to the next line. >> I see. >> Now, each time he gives a wrong answer, you move up one switch on the shock generator. >> I see. >> And it's important that you follow this procedure exactly, so to help you, let me go through it again very quickly. >> Alright. >> I would suggest you read the list and the test at a brisk pace to keep it moving, alright? And of course, we'll begin with 15 volts for the first wrong answer. Okay? Do not begin until I say, "Ready, begin," please. Attention, Learner, your teacher is about to begin the test. Try and remember the word pairs. Ready? Begin, please. >> Blue-girl, nice-day, fat-neck. >> The early stages of the test pass uneventfully. >> Incorrect. You will now get a shock of 75 volts. >> Ow! >> Soft-hair. He kind of did some yelling in there. Incorrect. You will now get a shock of 105 volts. << Uh! >> Hard-head. Just how far can you go on this thing? >> As far as is necessary. >> What do you mean "as far as is necessary"? >> To complete the test until he's learned all the word pairs. Please continue. >> I sure don't know the effect of this thing, and I'm a little skeptical about electricity. >> The experiment requires that you go on, Teacher. Please continue. >> Incorrect—150 volts. >> Ow! >> Sad, face. >> Experimenter! That's all. Get me out of here! I told you I had heart trouble. My heart's starting to bother me now. Get me out of here, please! >> Continue. >> My heart's starting to bother me. >> I refuse to go on. Let me out! >> I think we ought to find out what's wrong in there first. >> The experiment requires you to continue, Teacher. >> Well, the experiment might require that we continue, but I still think we should find out what the condition of the gentleman is. >> As I said before, although the shocks may be painful, they're not dangerous. >> Look, I don't know anything about electricity. I don't profess any knowledge nor will I go any further until I find out if the guy's okay. >> It's absolutely essential that you continue. >> Well, essential or not, this program isn't quite that important to me that I should go along doing something that I know nothing about, particularly if it's going to injure someone. I don't know what this is all about. >> Well, whether the learner likes it or not, we must go on until he's learned all the word pairs correctly. >> Well, you can sure have your $4.50 back—I didn't want it anyhow. I intended to give it to some charitable organization, but I wouldn't go on with it. >> The $4.50 is not the issue here. That check is yours simply for coming... >> Yeah, I realize that. >> …to the lab. It is essential that you continue the experiment. >> No, it isn't essential—not one bit. >> You have no other choice, Teacher. >> Oh, I have a lot of choices. My number one choice is that I wouldn't go on if I thought he was being harmed. >> The teacher was, of necessity, placed in a difficult predicament, and steps had to be taken to assure his well-being before he was discharged from the laboratory. After an extended discussion with the experimenter, a friendly reconciliation was arranged between teacher and learner. >> You sure had me going! >> Feel better now? >> Much better. >> That's good. I'm glad to hear that. >> Wrong—it's hair. 75 volts, Jim. >> Ow! >> He yelled, "Ow!" >> Please continue. >> Cool. Wrong. It's head. 105 volts. >> Uh! >> Wet. Wrong. It's horse—150 volts. >> Ow! Experimenter! That's all. Get me out of here! >> We should quit. >> I told you I had heart trouble. My heart's starting to bother me now. Get me out of here, please! My heart's starting to bother me. I refuse to go on. Let me out! >> Ah, continue, Teacher, please. Go on. The next word is sad. >> Well, I'm not going on if he refuses to do it. >> The experiment requires that you go on, Teacher. >> If he refuses? I won't. >> Whether the learner likes it or not, we must go on until he's learned all the word pairs. >> Take the check back. I'm not going to hurt the guy. >> No, the check's not the issue. It's absolutely essential that you continue. >> Well, he don't want to. I refuse to. >> You have no other choice, you must go— >> Yes, I have a choice. >> That is, if we don't continue we're going to have to discontinue the experiment. >> We'll have to. He says cut it out. After all, he knows what he can stand. Cripe, I took that thing—the slight one—and it was enough for me. I wouldn't want to be getting that every time I got a wrong answer. That's my opinion—that's where I'm going to stand on it. >> How do you feel? >> How do I feel? He was getting the shock; I feel alright. >> I'd like to ask you something. At one point, you were doing something a little unusual. Were you laughing at one point? >> Yes, I was. At first, I was laughing at him when I heard him yell "Ouch!" >> Why do you think you were laughing? >> I don't know. I thought it was funny, I suppose. And then I got to thinking, when he said "No, that's enough," he had enough. It wasn't funny to me then. >> One might suppose that a subject would simply break off or continue as his conscience and temperament dictate, yet this is very far from what happened. There were powerful reactions of tension and emotional strain in a substantial portion of the teachers. One puzzling sign of tension was the regular occurrence of nervous laughing fits. Fourteen of 40 subjects showed definite signs of nervous laughter and smiling. In the post-experimental interview, subjects took pains to point out that they were not sadistic types and that the laughter did not mean they enjoyed attacking the learner. >> I'd like to tell you a little bit more about the experiment. First of all, ah, the gentleman in there was not being shocked. He got no shocks whatsoever. >> Hmm. >> Did you think he was? >> Certainly, I did. In fact, I tried to get my finger off the button as fast as I could. >> No, he wasn't being shocked at all, and, ah, the main purpose of the experiment was to see how you would react to Mr. William's orders—whether you would take them or defy his authority or what. >> I defied it. >> You certainly did. Why didn't you go on? >> The hell with him. Who the hell is he, as far as I'm concerned? Cigarette? >> No, thanks. There's an ashtray right over there. >> He's not telling it—in my mind, I was hurting that guy. >> One aim of the research was to study behavior in a strong situation of deep consequence to the participants. This approach meant that we had a special obligation to protect the welfare and dignity of the persons who took part in the study. Before they left the laboratory, subjects were assured that the victim had received no painful shocks, and, equally important, they were reconciled with their victim in an atmosphere of friendliness. After the completion of the experimental series, subjects were sent a detailed report of the results and full purposes of the experimental program. A formal assessment of this procedure points to its overall effectiveness. The victim was an accomplice of the experimenter. The drawing was rigged so that the naive subject was always the teacher and the accomplice always became the learner. The victim, according to plan, provided many wrong answers. His verbal responses were standardized on tape and each protest was coordinated to a particular voltage level on the shock generator with the aid of indicator lights. The experimenter, who was provided with a similar indicator panel, took notes on the subject's performance. He recorded any deviations from the prescribed sequence of shocks, the interval between the victim's answer and the subject's delivery of a shock, and the time in milliseconds that the shock lever was depressed. Unknown to the subjects, shock levels were automatically recorded by an event recorder, wired directly into the shock generator. This provided us with an objective record of each subject's performance. >> That is incorrect. This one will be 195 volts. >> Uh! >> The correct one— >> Let me out of here! >> Slow-dance. >> Let me out of here! My heart's bothering me. Let me out of here! You have no right to keep me here. Let me out! Let me out of here! Let me out! >> Continue, please. >> Let me out of here! My heart's bothering me. Let me out! Let me out! >> I'm not going to be responsible for it. Red. That is incorrect. This will be at 330. >> Ow! >> The correct phrase is rich— >> Let me out of here! >> …boy. >> Let me out of here! My heart's bothering me. Let me out, I tell you! Let me out of here! Let me out of here! You have no right to hold me here. >> The next phrase is fast. >> Let me out! Let me out! Let me out! Let me out of here! Let me out! Let me out! >> Bird, card, train, plane. >> Continue, Teacher. >> That is incorrect. This will be 345. >> Before the post-experimental interview, subjects were asked to complete a questionnaire. They were asked to indicate, for example, on a 14-point scale, just how nervous or tense they felt. Subjects were also asked to estimate the degree of pain suffered by the victim. >> Let's see, could I have those sheets, please? >> Sure, this? >> You say that, um, the last few shocks that you administered to the learner, and you, seemed to you to be extremely painful to him. Why do you say that? >> Well, by the yelling and the— well, he wanted to get out of it. I mean, how else can you think of it? >> Do you think he had the right to get out? >> Well, I should think so. >> Didn't he volunteer to be in the experiment? >> Yes, he did—without knowing what he was in for. >> What gave him the right to get out of the experiment? >> Well, it's something that's against his will. >> Of a hundred people placed in this situation, how many do you think would just go right on to the end in Mr. Wallace's, if Mr. Wallace were out there, say, Mr. Williams, for some reason or other, said keep going? >> You're asking me how many? >> Out of 100, right. >> Well, personally, I think if you get one or two you'd be lucky. >> Well, I'm not sure lucky is the word. >> Forty psychiatrists at a leading medical school were also asked to predict the performance of 100 hypothetical subjects. They predicted that only a little more than one tenth of 1% of the subjects would administer the highest shock on the board, yet actually, 50% of the subjects obeyed the experimenter's commands fully in the experiment depicted in this film. >> Wrong—90 volts. >> Uh! >> Wrong—volts, 135. Answer: woman. >> Uh! >> And white: cloud, horse, rock, house. Answer. Wrong—150 volts. Answer: horse. >> Ow! Experimenter, that's all. Get me out of here! I told you I have heart trouble. My heart's starting to bother me now. Get me out of here, please! >> Continue, please. >> My heart's starting to bother me. I refuse to go on. Let me out! >> He refuses to go on. >> The experiment requires you continue, Teacher. Please continue. The next word is sad. >> You want me to keep going? >> Continue, please. >> Oh, sad. Sad: face, music, clown, girl. >> Correct. >> Next one—short: sentence, movie, skirt, time. Answer, please. >> Wrong—165 volts. Time. >> Let me out! >> That guy's hollerin' in there. >> Continue, please. Go on. >> There are a lot of them here you know, he's liable to have a heart condition to—you want me to go? >> Just continue, please. Sharp: axe, needle, stick, blade. Answer, please. Wrong. Christ, I'm up to 180 volts. >> Please continue, Teacher. >> Needle. You're going to get a shock—180 volts. >> Ow! I can't stand the pain! Get me out of here! >> He can't stand it. I'm not going to kill that man in there. You hear him hollering, the way he's crying? >> Like I said before, the shocks may be painful, but they're not dangerous. >> Yeah, but he's in there hollering. He can't stand it. What if something happens to him? >> The experiment requires that you continue, Teacher. >> Yeah, but I'm not going to get that man sick in there. I mean, he's hollering in there. You know what I mean? >> Whether the learner likes it or not, we must go on until he's learned all the word pairs. >> I refuse to take the responsibility of him getting hurt in there. I'm not going to. I mean, he's in there hollering. >> It's absolutely essential that you continue, Teacher. >> There's too many left here, and I mean, jeez, he gets wrong here, there's too many of them left. I mean who's going to take responsibility if anything happens to that gentleman? >> I'm responsible for anything that happens here. Continue, please. >> Alright, next one's slow: talk, dance, truck, music. Answer, please. Wrong—195 volts. Dance. >> Uh! Let me out of here! Let me out of here! My heart's bothering me. >> Continue, please. >> Let me out of here! You have no right to keep me here. Let me out! >> I, I mean, he's, he's hollering in there. >> Let me out of here! Let me out! Let me out of here! My heart's bothering me. Let me out! Let me out! >> I don't know. >> Well, the experiment requires you to— >> Well, I mean, I know it does, Sir, but I mean, you don't know what's he's getting in for. He's up to 195 volts. Answer, please. Wrong—225 volts. The word is noise. >> Uh! >> New: house, pet, book, name. Answer, please. Correct. Next one—quiet: song, party, child, evening. Correct. Next one—tame: wolf, bear, dog, cat. Wrong. Answer is bear—240 volts. >> Uh! >> Next one—sweet: >> Now, you go back up to the beginning of that page and go through it again until he's learned them all correctly. >> Oh, no. No, I'm not going to kill that man in there. You mean I got to keep going up with the scale? No, Sir. He's hollering in there. I'm not going to give him 450 volts. >> The experiment requires that you continue. >> I know it does, but that man is hollering in there, Sir. >> As I said before, although the shocks may be painful, they're not dangerous. >> Yeah, but he's yelling in there. >> Start with blue, please, at the top of the page. Continue, please, Teacher. >> What do I tell him— we're going over it again? >> No just, just go ahead. >> Blue: boy, girl, grass, hat. Correct. Nice: day, sky, job, chair. Wrong. Answer is day—285 volts. >> Ow! >> Continue, please. >> Fat: man, lady, cub, neck. Answer, please. Wrong. Answer is neck—300 volts. >> Ow! I absolutely refuse to answer any more. Get me out of here! You can't hold me here. Get me out! Get me out of here! >> Continue. The next word is green, please. >> Green: grass, hat, ink, apple. I can't go on. He won't answer. >> If the learner doesn't answer in a reasonable time, about four or five seconds, consider the answer wrong and follow the same procedure as you have been doing for wrong answers. Say "wrong," tell him the number of volts, give him the punishment, read him the correct answer. >> Oh, man. >> Continue, please. >> Green: grass, hat, ink, apple. Answer, please. >> Go on with the procedure, please, Teacher. >> 315 volts, the answer is ink. >> Ow! >> Next one. >> I told you I refuse to answer. >> Well, you're gonna keep getting a shock if you don't answer. Next one is rich—330 volts. >> Ow! Let me out of here! Let me out of here! My heart's bothering me. Let me out, I tell you! Let me out! Let me out of here! You have no right to hold me here. Let me out! Let me out! Let me out! >> Next one—fast: >> Let me out! Let me out! Let me out! >> bird, car, train, plane. >> Go on, please, with the procedure. >> Please answer. The answer is bird. 345 volts. Blunt: knife, stick, word, arrow. Answer, please. >> Continue, please. >> The answer is arrow—360 volts. Something's happened to him. I don't get nothing. >> Go on, please, with the experiment. Please continue. >> Soft: rug, pillow, hair, grass. Answer, please! >> Go on, Teacher. >> Hair—375 volts. I think something's happened to that fellow in there. I don't get no answer. He was hollering on less voltage. Can't you check in to see if he's alright, please? >> Not once we've started. Please continue, Teacher. >> Cool: day, shade, water, cave. Answer, please. Are you alright in there? Are you alright? >> Please continue, Teacher. >> What do I do—keep giving him shocks? >> Continue, please. >> I'm up to 390. >> Continue, please. >> Something's happened to that man in there. Next one—bold: dollar, necklace, moon, paint. Something's happened to that man in there. You better check in on him, Sir. He won't answer me or nothing. >> Please continue. Go on, please. >> You accept all responsibility? >> The responsibility is mine, correct. Please go on. >> Gold: dollar, necklace, moon, paint. Answer, please. Are you alright? 405 volts—the answer is moon. Next one—hard: stone, head, bread, work. Answer, please. The answer is head—420 volts. Next one—wet: night, grass, duck, cloth. The answer is duck—435 volts. It says "DANGER: SEVERE SHOCK" here and "XXX" on the next one. >> Continue, please. >> 435 volts. Next one—brave: woman, soldier, dog, horse. Answer is woman—450 volts. That's it. >> Now continue using the last switch on the board, please— the 450 switch for each wrong answer. Continue, please. >> I'm not getting no answer. >> Please continue. The next word is white. >> Don't you think you should look in on him, please? >> Not once we've started the experiment. >> But what if something's happened to the man, having an attack or something in there? >> The experiment requires that we continue. Go on, please. >> Don't the man's health mean anything? >> Whether the learner likes it or not, we must— >> But he might be dead in there! I mean, some people can't take the shocks, Sir. >> Please continue. >> And I don't intend to be rude, but I mean, I think you should look in on him. I mean, all you gotta do is look in the door. I don't get no answer, no noise. Something, I think, has happened to the gentleman in there, Sir. >> We must continue. Go on, please. >> You're going to keep giving him, what, 450 volts every shock now? >> That's correct. Continue. The next word is white. >> White: cloud, horse, rock, house. Answer, please. The answer is horse—450 volts. Next word—sad: face, music, clown, girl. The answer is face—450 volts. Next one is short: sentence, movie, skirt, time. >> Alright, excuse me, Teacher—we'll have to discontinue the experiment. >> I'd like to ask you a few— how do you feel, by the way? >> I feel alright, but I don't like what's happened to that fellow in there. He's been hollering, and we had to keep giving him shocks. I didn't like that one bit. I mean, he wanted to get out, and he just kept going, kept throwing 450 volts. I didn't like that. He wouldn't even look in on that gentleman. >> Well, who was actually pushing the switch? >> I was, but he kept insisting. I told him no, but he said we gotta keep going. I told him it's time we stopped when we got up to 195, 210 volts. >> Why didn't you just stop? >> He wouldn't let me. I wanted to stop. I kept insisting to stop, but he says no. >> Okay, let me tell you, first of all, that this is not essentially an experiment in memory and learning. It's an experiment in which we are looking at your reaction to taking orders, and Mr. Williams gave you those orders to go on according to a schedule. The gentleman in there was not actually getting shocked. He was not getting shocked at all. >> You mean he wasn't getting nothing? >> He is part of the act. >> Well, I'm glad to hear that! I'm telling you. I mean, I was getting upset here. I mean, I was getting ready to walk out. Oh, I'm glad to hear that. >> He wasn't getting shocked really, and he's in one piece, and this was set up so that we could see how you would react to taking orders. Now, you seemed quite reluctant to go on. In fact, on several occasions, you said you didn't want to go on. >> Well, I was concerned about the other party, Sir. >> Some people actually go on quite gleefully. >> No matter what. >> No matter what. >> Yeah, well, I mean, maybe in other instances where a human life wasn't involved or if a person doesn't suffer, maybe I'd keep going on, but, I mean, I couldn't see the point. I didn't want the guy to suffer there—I figured he was having a heart attack or something. That's the reason I wanted to stop. >> Right. Well, you know that in a hospital situation, if you worked for a doctor as an orderly, and he told you to give a hypodermic to a patient even though the patient protested, well, you might have to do it. >> Well, that's true, Sir. If I understood, oh, I don't know, maybe more of what the treatment was he was getting there, maybe I would go on, but I mean, the way he was hollering, I thought he was in agony. I mean, then I think, is for somebody that knows a little more about this machine and stuff to say whether to go or not, and that's why I asked the gentleman there, "Should I keep going?" >> Why don't we bring in Mr. Wallace? He's actually an employee of the project. You'll see he's in one piece. Jim? >> God bless you, boy. You had me shaking in here. >> Nice to see you. >> Same here. >> Feel better now? >> I sure as heck do. I thought you'd just about had it in there. >> That's good. >> Well, let me ask you something. Now that you know about the experiment— that he wasn't hurt—how do you feel about having been there? >> Well, I'll tell you the honest truth. I, well, I was thinking he was getting them shocks, I thought it was being overdone. >> I mean, I was just about ready to get out of here. >> You're a good fellow. >> I mean, I was concerned about you. I mean, I should have known better. I mean, you wouldn't take any chances with a human life here, not with these experiments. >> Many people, not knowing much about the experiment, claim that subjects who go to the end of the board are sadistic. Nothing could be more foolish as an overall characterization of these persons. The context of their action must always be considered. The individual, upon entering the laboratory, becomes integrated into a situation that carries its own momentum. In further experiments, we've attempted to analyze a few of the factors that contribute to the force of the situation. The salience of the victim seems in some degree to have regulated the subjects' performance. Additional experimental conditions were designed to explore this possibility. In a first condition, the victim was placed in another room and could not be heard or seen by the subject except that at 300 volts he pounded on the wall in protest. After 300 volts, he no longer answered or was heard from. In a second condition, the victim's protests could be heard through the walls of the laboratory. This condition was depicted in the present film. In a third condition, the victim was placed in the same room as the subject and one and a half feet from him. Thus, visible as well as audible and voice cues were provided. The final condition of the series was identical to this, with this exception: the victim only received a shock when his hand rested on a shock plate. At the 150 volt level, the victim demanded to be let free, and refused to place his hand on the shock plate. The experimenter ordered the subject to force the victim's hand onto the plate; thus, obedience in this condition required that the subject have physical contact with the victim in order to give him punishment beyond the 150 volt level. Forty adult subjects were studied in each condition. The data revealed that obedience was significantly reduced as the victim was made more immediate to the subject. If the spatial relationship of the subject and victim is relevant to the degree of obedience, the relationship of subject to experimenter would also seem to play a part. In a series of experiments, we varied the physical closeness and degree of surveillance of the experimenter. In one condition, the experimenter sat just a few feet away from the subject. In a second condition, after giving initial instructions, the experimenter left the laboratory and gave his orders by telephone. In still a third condition, the experimenter was never seen, providing instructions by means of a tape recording activated when subjects entered the laboratory. Obedience dropped sharply as the experimenter was physically removed from the laboratory. The number of obedient subjects when the experimenter was present was almost three times as great as when the experimenter gave his orders by telephone. It would appear that something akin to fields of force diminishing in effectiveness with increasing psychological distance from their source have a controlling effect on the subject's performance. The effectiveness of the experimenter's commands may depend in an important way on the larger institutional context in which they're issued. The experiments described thus far were conducted at Yale University— an organization which most subjects regarded with respect and sometimes awe. To explore the problem, we moved our apparatus to a somewhat rundown office building in industrial Bridgeport, and we replicated experimental conditions there without any visible tie to the University. The level of obedience in Bridgeport, although somewhat reduced, was not significantly lower than that obtained at Yale. A considerable amount of obedience and defiance in everyday life occurs in connection with groups, and we had reason to feel, in the light of many group studies already done in psychology, that group forces would have a profound effect on reactions to authority. A series of experiments was run to examine these effects. In all cases, only one naive subject was studied each hour, but he performed in the midst of actors who, unknown to him, were employed by the experimenter. In one experiment, actors broke off in the middle of the experiment. When this happened, 90% of the subjects followed suit and defied the experimenter. In another condition, the actors followed the orders obediently. This strengthened the experimenter's power only slightly. In still a third experiment, the job of pushing the switch to shock the learner as given to one of the actors, while the naive subject performed a subsidiary act. In this situation, only 3 subjects out of 40 broke off. The results, as I observed them in the laboratory, are disturbing. They raise the possibility that human nature cannot be counted on to insulate men from brutality and inhumane treatment at the direction of malevolent authority. A substantial proportion of people do what they are told to do irrespective of the content of the act, and without limitations of conscience so long as they perceive that the command comes from a legitimate authority. If, in this study, an anonymous experimenter could successfully command adults to subdue a 50-year-old man and force on him painful electric shocks against his protests, one can only wonder what government, with its vastly greater authority and prestige, can command of its subjects.