Milgram Experiment with a live puppy and real shocks

Milgram Experiment with a live puppy and real shocks

Did you know that in a variation of the 1963 Milgram Experiment, with a live puppy and real shocks, only half of the male participants went up to the full shock level, but all of the females did.

Charles Sheridan and Richard King hypothesized that some of Milgram’s subjects may have suspected that the victim was faking, so they repeated the experiment with a real victim: a “cute, fluffy puppy” who was given real, albeit harmless, electric shocks. They found similar findings to Milgram: half of the male subjects and all of the females obeyed to the end. Many subjects showed high levels of distress during the experiment and some openly wept. In addition, Sheridan and King found that the duration for which the shock button was pressed decreased as the shocks got higher, meaning that for higher shock levels, subjects showed more hesitance towards delivering the shocks

Media depictions

Obedience is a black-and-white film of the experiment, shot by Milgram himself. It is distributed by Alexander Street Press.

The Tenth Level was a 1975 CBS television film about the experiment, featuring William Shatner, Ossie Davis, and John Travolta.

I as in Icarus is a 1979 French conspiracy thriller with Yves Montand as an attorney investigating the assassination of the President. The movie is inspired by the Kennedy assassination and the subsequent Warren Commission investigation. Digging into the psychology of the Lee Harvey Oswald type character, the attorney finds out the “decoy shooter” participated in the Milgram experiment. The ongoing experiment is presented to the unsuspecting attorney.

Referenced in Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta, as a reason why Dr. Surridge has lost faith in humanity.

Atrocity is a 2005 film re-enactment of the Milgram Experiment.

The Human Behavior Experiments is a 2006 documentary by Alex Gibney about major experiments in social psychology, shown along with modern incidents highlighting the principles discussed. Along with Stanley Milgram’s study in obedience, the documentary shows the ‘diffusion of responsibility’ study of John Darley and Bibb Latané and the Stanford Prison Experiment of Philip Zimbardo.

Chip Kidd’s 2008 novel The Learners is about the Milgram experiment, and features Stanley Milgram as a character.

The Milgram Experiment is a 2009 film by the Brothers Gibbs which chronicles the story of Stanley Milgram’s experiments.

“Authority”, an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, features Merrit Rook, a suspect played by Robin Williams, who employs the strip search prank call scam, identifying himself as “Detective Milgram”. He later reenacts a version of the Milgram experiment on Det. Elliot Stabler by ordering him to administer electric shocks to Det. Olivia Benson, whom Rook has bound and is thus helpless.

The 2010 film Zenith references and dramatically depicts the Milgram experiment

The track “We Do What We’re Told (Milgram’s 37)” on Peter Gabriel’s album So is a reference to Milgram’s Experiment 18, in which 37 of 40 people were prepared to administer the highest level of shock.

The Dar Williams song “Buzzer” is about the experiment. “I’m feeling sorry for this guy that I pressed to shock / He gets the answers wrong I have to up the watts / And he begged me to stop but they told me to go / I pressed the buzzer.”

Episode 114 of the Howie Mandel show Howie Do It repeated the experiment with a single pair of subjects using the premise of a Japanese game show.

The second scene in the 1984 film “Ghostbusters” shows Dr. Venkman shocking a human test subject during an extrasensory perception experiment. However, the primary purpose of Dr. Venkman’s experiment was shocking only the male test subject, as a way to flirt with the attractive female test subject.

A Derren Brown special named “The Heist” repeated the Milgram experiment to test whether the participants will take part in a staged heist afterwards.

The Discovery Channel’s Curiosity TV series featured an episode where Eli Roth recreated the experiment asking the question, “50 years later, have we changed?”

Foolin Around is a 1980 movie starring Gary Busey and Annette O’Toole, which uses a Milgram experiment parody in a comedic scene.

The video game Fallout: New Vegas contained a Vault, inspired by the Milgram experiment, which demanded the residents sacrifice one of their own once a year, and told they would be exterminated if they failed to comply.

The 2012 film Compliance, written and directed by Craig Zobel, shows a group of employees assisting in the interrogation of a young counter assistant at the commands of a person who claims to be a police officer over the phone, demonstrating the willingness of subjects to follow orders from authority figures.

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