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Procedures The participant met another "participant" in the waiting room before the experiment. Each participant got the role as a "teacher" who would then deliver a shock to the actor ("learner") every time an incorrect answer to a question was produced.
The shock generator had switches labeled with different voltages, starting at 30 volts and increasing in 15-volt increments all the way up to 450 volts.
The switches were also labeled with terms which reminded the participant of how dangerous the shocks were.
The expectation is that very few will keep giving shocks, and that most participants will disobey the order. They were recruited by advertisement in a newspaper and were paid $4.50.
Instruments A "shock generator" was used to trick the participants into thinking that they were giving an electric shock to another person in another room.
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The conclusion is that, contrary to common belief, personal ethics mean little when pitted against authority.
Current theories focus on personal characteristics to explain wrong-doing and how someone can intentionally harm others.
The experimenter then instructed the participant to treat this silence as an incorrect response and deliver a further shock.
When asking the experimenter if they should stop, they were instructed to continue.