Milgram Study

Does authority overrule your own conscience?
Milgram’s study
This report will consist of three main points:
  * Milgram’s research on ‘obedience’ and how it could relate to you as a trainee police officer.
  * Experiment.
  * Results.
In the 1940s, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party set out to obliterate all of Europe’s Jews. People even today question how human beings could perform such nefarious actions on fellow human beings. This is what Stanley Milgram, a psychologist in the 1960s, wanted to find out through experiments.
As a trainee police officer, no doubt you would never consider performing ‘nefarious actions’. However, you could be in a position where members of staff in authority, give you an order, the content of which, you believe to be unethical and wrong.   This correlates to the Nazi question; did they murder six million Jews because they chose to, or because they were given an order by Hitler – the authority figure?
Milgram studied the answers of those accused, when questioned concerning acts of genocide during the Holocaust. Their reasons frequently related to “Obedience”:
  * They were just following orders.
  * They were doing their jobs.
  * They were obeying authority.

As a police officer working with the public, offenders may give you reasons and excuses, for example:
  * How was I speeding? Everyone else was going faster.
  * I need to earn money somehow.
  * I was forced to do it.

However, in the offenders eyes these may be facts, but could you as a police officer accept these reasons for breaking the law? Someone may have been speeding because he believed his individual judgment of the speed limit was wrong since everyone else was going faster than he was. The teenager may have been stealing because one of the ‘older guys’ told him to do it. This does not mean that they should be excused, as they have broken the law. However, if you look at Milgram’s study you can discover that a...