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12-19-08, 11:30 AM #1
Shocking study finds most will torture if ordered
Scientists said on Friday they had replicated an experiment in which people obediently delivered painful shocks to others if encouraged to do so by authority figures.
Seventy percent of volunteers continued to administer electrical shocks -- or at least they believed they were doing so -- even after an actor claimed they were painful, Jerry Burger of Santa Clara University in California found.
"What we found is validation of the same argument -- if you put people into certain situations, they will act in surprising, and maybe often even disturbing, ways," Burger said in a telephone interview. "This research is still relevant."
Burger was replicating an experiment published in 1961 by Yale University professor Stanley Milgram, in which volunteers were asked to deliver electric "shocks" to other people if they answered certain questions incorrectly.
Milgram found that, after hearing an actor cry out in pain at 150 volts, 82.5 percent of participants continued administering shocks, most to the maximum 450 volts.
The experiment surprised psychologists and no one has tried to replicate it because of the distress suffered by many of the volunteers who believed they were shocking another person.
"When you hear the man scream and say, 'let me out, I can't stand it,' that is the point when the real stress that people criticized Milgram for kicked in," Burger said.
"It was a very, very, very stressful experience for many of the participants. That is the reason no one can ethically replicate the experiment today."
'SURPRISING AND DISAPPOINTING'
Burger modified the experiment, by stopping at the 150 volt point for the 29 men and 41 women in his experiment. He measured how many of his volunteers began to deliver another shock when prompted by the experiment's leader -- but instead of letting them do so, stopped them.
In Milgram's original experiment, 150 volts seemed to be the turning point.
In Burger's modified experiment, 70 percent of the volunteers were willing to give shocks greater than 150 volts.
At one point, researchers brought in a volunteer who knew what was going on and refused to administer shocks beyond 150 volts. Despite the example, 63 percent of the participants continued administering shocks past 150 volts.
"That was surprising and disappointing," Burger said.
Burger found no differences among his volunteers, aged 20 to 81, and carefully screened them to be average representatives of the U.S. public.
Burger said the experiment, published in the American Psychologist, can only partly explain the widely reported prisoner abuse at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq or events during World War Two.
"Although one must be cautious when making the leap from laboratory studies to complex social behaviors such as genocide, understanding the social psychological factors that contribute to people acting in unexpected and unsettling ways is important," he wrote.
"It is not that there is something wrong with the people," Burger said. "The idea has been somehow there was this characteristic that people had back in the early 1960s that they were somehow more prone to obedience."
(Editing by Stacey Joyce)
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor Maggie Fox, Health And Science Editor – Fri Dec 19, 2:26 am ET
12-19-08, 12:13 PM #2Burger said the experiment, published in the American Psychologist, can only partly explain the widely reported prisoner abuse at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq or events during World War Two.
"Justification" is more than an authority figure telling you to 'victimize' another human being, just as a bunch of college students pushing buttons in a room is a far cry from the terror, pain, and emotional distress of a hostile combat environment.
Let's add a dose of reality: The subject of your study wants to kill you, your family, and everyone who looks like you. He is responsible for reigning death upon all that you hold dear, and is proud whenever he accomplishes acts that you couldn't even consider undertaking in your worst, chill-producing nightmares. He is pure evil. He attaches no value whatsoever to human life, not even his own. He has no conscience. He laughs at your attempts to pacify, endear, or civilize him or his people. You to him are lower than an animal. You certainly do not deserve to live in his opinion, and you have been a stark, direct eye-witness to his violence and the destruction that it has wrought; in the mangled bodies, the lifeless children, the indistinguishable mass of slimy goo that once was a laughing, caring, loving, and vibrant human being. Now, he has information about the next attack, perhaps even the one that will make you a victim and deprive you from ever seeing your wife or children again. Perhaps even an attack that targets your wife and children. It is your job to get that information and prevent the act. You are all that stands between his associates and the next 150, 500, or even 4130 innocent lives. How far will you go? How far is far enough? How far is too far?
When the subject of the stimulus has proudly proven to be of a faction much less humane than the treatment meted to them, "justification" is barely a consideration. The goal is saving lives and defeating those who would senselessly and randomly slaughter innocents without moral compass or shred of decency. Such evil that would, in fact, take pride in the destruction, chaos, and victimization of anyone who dare hold a faith system different from their own. The subject is one of those who kidnap, behead, dismember, execute, rape, and mutilate the bodies of even non-combatants.
'Scientists', in their far-overestimated understanding, their egotistical, and ego-centric ignorance call Abu Graib or Guantanamo Bay prisoner treatment 'atrocities'. No, Mr. Wizards, the hijacking of civilian passenger aircraft, the murder of the crews and passengers, and the crashing of those aircraft into populated civilian business centers is an "atrocity", you insufferable, ignorant, insulated, repugnant bastards. These 'enlightened' of our society would rather we forget that we were first and repeatedly attacked by the militant Islamists. We are not, and have never been, the aggressors.
At what point does your science judge 'acceptable, and unacceptable' loss of human life? At what point does science realize that there is such thing as innocence and evil? At what point does your science regard that there is a right and wrong in the world? At what point do you realize that the scientific process itself is flawed when it disregards reality.
I consider 'atrocities' to be the acts of any faction who would communicate only through violence and brutality; any group who would maim and murder others for the purpose of nothing more than bloodlust, powermongering, and populism. I consider an 'atrocity' to be the incineration of thousands of innocent civilians in a single, malicious, despicable, and cowardly series of acts.
How ironic that we have not suffered another September 11th, 2001 thanks to the diligence, bravery, and dedication of our military forces abroad, and yet they have done their jobs almost too well, by allowing peace to return to the United States sufficient to cloud the popular memory of that terrible day. Now, the very men and women responsible for keeping terror away, must suffer at the callous and fickle hands of those who they have so devotedly protected.
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly. - Lovelace
The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.
12-19-08, 01:34 PM #3SI VIS PACEM PARA BELLUM-Ex-Sheriff Martin Howe to Will Kane in "High Noon"
"It's a great life. You risk your skin catching killers and the juries turn them loose so they can come back and shoot at you again. If your honest , your poor your whole life. And , In the end , you wind up dying all alone on some dirty street. For what? For nothing. For a tin star."
Far from being a handicap to command, compassion is the measure of it. For unless one values the lives of his soldiers and is tormented by their ordeals , he is unfit to command.
-General Omar Bradley, United States Army
12-20-08, 06:17 AM #4Chief Wheaties PisserVerified LEO
- Join Date
- Just outside Latteland
- Rep Power
If you are married, you have a mother-in-law.
Hence, you know that torture does not always need an order to be done or accomplished . . .
12-20-08, 07:04 AM #5
So, you want me to get John Doe to say/admit to what? Sure no problem.
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