Abstract Drawing on archival materials, interviews, as well as published sources, this article traces the roots of one of the most important and controversial studies in the social sciences, the experiments on obedience to authority conducted by the social psychologist, Stanley Milgram. Milgram’s research had two determinants: First, his attempt to account for the Holocaust and, second, his intention to apply Solomon Asch’s technique for studying conformity to behavior of greater human consequence than judging lengths of lines-the task which was the original focus in Asch’s studies. After a detailed presentation of these antecedents of Milgram’s work, the article concludes with a brief discussion of the applicability of the obedience experiments to the behavior of the perpetrators of the Holocaust.
Analyse & Kritik – de Gruyter
Published: May 1, 1998