People 'still willing to torture'

People ‘still willing to torture’

Decades after a notorious experiment, scientists have found test subjects are still willing to inflict pain on others - if told to by an authority figure.

US researchers repeated the famous “Milgram test”, with volunteers told to deliver electrical shocks to another volunteer - played by an actor.

Even after faked screams of pain, 70% were prepared to increase the voltage, the American Psychology study found.

authority and hierarchy are two prevalent themes in human nature. (It is even MORE stronger in people with a politically conservative world view.) You should read the work of Jonathan Haidt for more information.

Some volunteers even carried on giving 450-volt shocks even when there was no further response from the actor, suggesting he was either unconscious or dead.


Nothing has ever disturbed me more than the Milgrom Experiment. It scares the hell out of me, because it makes me worry about the moral fiber of myself and those I know. It really is depressing, isn’t it?

What do you mean by moral fiber? Surely some of it has been influenced by your background, but most of has been evolved.

By moral fiber I mean our own ability to be part of the 30%, not the 70%.

Well if I walked into this experiment, I would not actually think that I was gunna hurt, kill, or render unconscience, another person. This is a weird experiment with all kinds of room for errors and false conclusions.

Put people in a serious position, where they can see the person getting shocked, or believe that they are in a real world scenario, and then see what happens.

Knowing anout that experiment has really shaped my personality, I think. It’s made me stubborn, and made me realize that good people always have to be ready and willing to refuse to follow orders even if it means giving up their life.

It doesn’t have to be depressing, you can resolve to rise above that instinct.

In my personal observations, it seems to me that left-wing people are the ones who insist on “going with the flow” and “following the crowd” and following trends.

Conservatives more often will follow the ‘old way’ even if it means bucking trends and disobeying. Conservatives will ‘go it alone’ while liberals want to change all of society before they will act.

You wouldn’t know a “politically conservative world view” if one was sitting on your shoulder. Conservatives have long wanted to turn your so-called “authority and hierarchy are two prevalent themes in human nature” on its head. Authority should be vested in the individual guided by unchangeable natural laws, with a strictly defined minimum reluctantly granted to the state by those same individuals. Conservatives always look for ways to dis-empower the state and empower individuals. The formula never changes: lower taxes + less government + individual morality = liberty and justice for all (the “common good”).

No, I think it’s great & wonderful, since it helps us understand & research why people do the stuff they do & how good people are pushed into evil acts so easily.

How did this become Conservatism vs. liberalism debate? Neil, you are generalizing based on your some odd idea you have about conservatism.

It is those who possess authoritarian views who are more likely to torture in the Milgrom experiment. As you have both liberal authoritarians and conservative authoritarians, the distribution is equal. In the United States, the authoritarians tend to be conservative.

The reverse, though, is not true. Conservatives do not necessarily tend to be authoritarians.

I was thinking of these kind of things where conservatives buck the trend or go it alone:

  1. I don’t want the gubmint’s help, let me keep my income and I’ll fend for myself
  2. don’t need expensive law enforcement, just give me a gun and I’ll fend for myself
  3. The people who go to SSPX chapels, disobeying church authority
  4. People who go against the flow with sexual morality in dating

Unless the person saying this lives in a cabin in the woods somewhere out in the Dakotas, they’re all talk.

  1. don’t need expensive law enforcement, just give me a gun and I’ll fend for myself

Unless the person saying this lives in Deadwood during the Gold Rush, they’re all talk.

  1. The people who go to SSPX chapels, disobeying church authority

Is this a good thing?

  1. People who go against the flow with sexual morality in dating

What does this have to do with authority?

I was going to make some sarcastic remark about conservatives, of which I consider myself one, being so evil that we are the ones who should be tortured, but I’m sure that’s against forum rules so I’ll just shut up now.:stuck_out_tongue:

I’m surprised the willingness hasn’t gotten worse since the last study. I think that the TV and video game violence have created a more jaded and numb populace when it comes to pain, torture and death. There have been stories about people committing suicide by jumping off a building with the crowd below yelling “jump” with video cameras at the ready. :frowning:

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