Gina Perry: Behind the Shock Machine: The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments (2012)
Filed under book | Tags: · behaviorism, obedience, psychology
When social psychologist Stanley Milgram invited volunteers to take part in an experiment at Yale in the summer of 1961, none of the participants could have foreseen the worldwide sensation the results would cause. Milgram reported that the volunteers had repeatedly shocked a man they believed to be in severe pain, possibly even dying, because an authority figure had told them to, and he linked this behavior to atrocities perpetrated by ordinary people under the Nazi regime.
In Behind the Shock Machine, noted psychologist and author Gina Perry unearths for the first time the full story of this controversial experiment and its startling repercussions. Interviewing the original participants and delving deep into the Yale archives and Milgram’s unpublished files and notebooks, she pieces together a more complex picture of this flawed experiment: volunteers were not as obedient as later claimed; they were subjected to more intense and sustained pressure; some left unaware that the shocks had been faked; and, most significantly, many participants remain haunted by what they had done. Fleshed out with dramatic transcripts of the tests themselves, Perry puts a human face on the statistics and offers a gripping, unforgettable tale of one man’s ambition and an experiment that defined a generation.
First published in Australia by Scribe, Brunswick, 2012
This revised edition published by The New Press, New York, 2013