November 19, 2019

SCIENCE, UNSETTLED: Unpublished data from Stanley Milgram’s experiments cast doubt on his claims about obedience.

“Our analysis shows that people who believed the learner was in pain were two and a half more times likely to defy the experimenter and refuse to give further shocks. We found that contrary to Milgram’s claims, the majority of subjects in the obedience experiments were defiant, and a significant reason for their refusal to continue was to spare the man pain,” Perry said.

“This upends the traditional narrative about the obedience experiments as a demonstration of our slavish obedience to the orders of authorities and as an explanation for events such as the Holocaust. Our results shift the focus to the issue of defiance of authority, and empathy and altruism as the dominant reactions of subjects who volunteered for this research.”

Weird, all the best people took this very seriously.

UPDATE: So the Rosenhan study was bunk, Kinsey’s research highly dubious, Margaret Mead a crock, and we all know about Silent Spring. Are there any big “scientific” underpinnings of midcentury policy that weren’t based on hokum?

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