Review of the new biography of Stanley Milgram – architect of one of the most famous experiments in social psychology – by Raj Persaud in the British Medical Journal:
“The late Stanley Milgram fairly lays claim to be one of the greatest behavioural scientists of the 20th century.
He derives his renown from of a series of experiments on obedience to authority, which he conducted at Yale University in 1961-2. Milgram found, surprisingly, that 65% of his subjects, ordinary residents of New Haven, were willing to give apparently harmful electric shocks – up to 450 volts – to a pitifully protesting victim, simply because a scientific, lab coated authority commanded them to, and despite the fact that the victim did nothing to deserve such punishment. The victim was, in reality, a good actor who did not actually receive shocks, a fact that was revealed to the subjects at the end of the experiment.”