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JLeslie's avatar

Do K-12 schools today still teach about cults and the Milgram Experiment?

Asked by JLeslie (63083points) 1 month ago from iPhone

If so, if you are in school now or recently graduated, or if you have kids in school, did the lessons make an impression?

I figure most of you know what a cult is. Here is a link to the Milgram Experiment if you don’t know or maybe forgot.

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15 Answers

RayaHope's avatar

I have heard of this before in several different scenarios and the outcome is scary what people in power will be willing to do to others as long as it was anonymous. One scenario was some people were guards and others play the part of a prisoner. The outcome was not good.

smudges's avatar

^^ Right. They had to stop the experiment! I think some of that is what goes on with our police forces.

elbanditoroso's avatar

The original experiment was done in the 1960s with an entirely different set of social norms, and I don’t think it has much validity today. The real way to know is to try it again, but there is no way that this sort of experimentation could ever be approved in academic settings in 2022.

Why do I think it is invalid now?

- the 1960 subjects were all people born during or not long after the end of WW2. There was still a very militaryish – standard way of doing things for kids whose parents fought in the war. (Remember, this research was done pre-Vietnam war and well before the social tumult of the 1960s and 19702.

- that, in turn, leads to the ‘question authority’ and ‘show me’ ethos of the 1980s. People (men in particular) were far less ready to just take leaders and politicians for granted. Remember that they had been lied to by Nixon (who had to resign), Agnew, who had to resign), LBJ (about the war), and Reagan in the 1980s as well. And they saw Bill Clinton, an excellent president, persecuted because of a blow job, which made no sense. So political events that happened after this study took place changed the whole ‘respect authority’ environment.

- Finally, certain political leaders (Bush II, Trump, Netanyahu, Boris Johnson, and certainly others) – have made a mockery of leadership and authority because of their actions. No one takes their authority seriously.

Conclusion: looking at the Milgram experiment 60 years later is uninformative and probably not a great idea.

kritiper's avatar

Never heard of either one.

Demosthenes's avatar

I first learned about the Milgram experiment in an intro psych course I took in college. I don’t remember hearing about it in K-12. We also learned about the “Stanford prison experiment”.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I vaguely remember the prison study. I’ll have to look it up. I remember it was ended early because it became so abusive. I don’t remember if the prisoners purposely acted out, or if the guards just became more and more abusive because they could. Thanks for mentioning it.

smudges's avatar

^ If I remember right, the guards became abusive. I think that’s the experiment that @RayaHope was referring to, and I agreed with.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I think you’re right about @RayaHope. Yeah, it was the guards. I don’t remember if they purposely antagonized the guards. I need to look it up.

RayaHope's avatar

^^ Yeah, these regular guys were given the power to be guards and some other regular guys were acting as the prisoners. The outcome was really bad, I think I saw this on YouTube but I’m not sure if it was a documentary or something. Funny how people can change (for the worse) if they think they can get away with it.

smudges's avatar

Funny how people can change (for the worse) if they think they can get away with it.

That’s why I said it seems like that may be what’s happening in law enforcement. I’m sure it’s been so much worse in the past. Now “we the people” have eyes everywhere! cameras

Some, probably many, policemen/detectives used to use big phone books to beat confessions out of suspects because it they didn’t leave obvious marks like fists would. Makes me sad and mad for all of those victims.

RayaHope's avatar

^^ yes, there are no words for this abuse.

jellyjellyjelly's avatar

It sounds like some are confusing the Stanford Prison Experiment, led by Philip Zimbardo, with the experiments that are being asked about. The Stanford Prison Experiment has more or less been debunked, whereas the Milgram experiments have been replicated.

Anyway, I don’t think these were ever taught about in normal K-12 tracks. I learned about them in AP Psychology, and again in psychology classes in college. Parents can always teach their kids about the experiments even if schools don’t cover it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

As a teacher you have to be careful about labeling a certain group of people as a “cult,” especially if it’s tied to religion, and most of them are.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I don’t remember learning about religious cults in school, but your point is well taken.

smudges's avatar

@jellyjellyjelly I’m not confusing the two, but I did get the thread off-track when I commented about the guard and prisoner scenario that someone mentioned. Sorry to the OP, and thanks for pointing that out @jellyjellyjelly.

btw, I never learned about either cults or experiments in K-12. I did learn about the experiments extensively in psych in college.

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