Milgram, Stanley, Interpreting Obedience: Error and Evidence, Miller (ed.) The social psychology of psychological research, 1972


This is a reply to Ohne and Holland's critique of the Milgram studies.

Milgram attacks Ohne's belief that the subjects didn't accept the experiment at face value, assumed that victim wasn't being hurt, and merely complied with the experimenter's requests because that was what the situation demanded.

Milgram shows that they did follow questionnaires during, after, and one year after some studies. Most felt they were administering shocks, some had doubts, a few didn't believe it at all. Ohne's belief that the tension observed was fake also doesn't meet the realism observed in the experiments. Most felt they were really administering seriously painful shocks.

Rosenthal repeated the experiments with careful post reviews and found that 68.9% throughly accepted the authenticity of the experiment.

Milgram's generalizes his attach to Ohne's view that subjects can see through the experimental illusions. Milgram feels that with the exception of psychology students, most people are relatively trusting and not that suspicious and given to outguessing experimenters.

Finally he attacks Ohne's use of his own unscientific studies to refute Milgram's scientific ones. Many of Ohne's examples were of subjects commanded to do irrational acts for no reason (leading them to believe there must be really no harm done). In Milgram's studies the subjects knew the objective was to observe the impact of punishment on learning, legitimizing the use of electric shocks.

One postulate emerging from the Milgram studies is that "where legitimate authority is the source of action, relationship overwhelms content".

In other experiments the subjects were actually the victims, which shows that obedience can happen when the harm happens to the subject.

Ohne uses the hypnosis subjects to discredit obedience subjects, which is the wrong model.