Conformity replication

A student wishes to replicate Milgram’s famous conformity study, with a slight modification. Subjects will be informed they and another volunteer are participating in a teaching intervention test. Subjects are told that they will be a “tester” other volunteer will be a “learner” given a series of questions, and the tester are to press a button to administer an electric shock whenever the learner gets a question wrong. Shocks escalate in strength as more questions are answered incorrectly. Unbeknownst to the tester, the learners are actors; no shocks are actually delivered, though the learner will call out in pain as if they have been shocked.

As the testing progresses, the learner will progressively give incorrect answers as shocks escalate. When the tester suggests that the learner has had enough, a study coordinator will instruct the tester to continue and assure them that everything is fine. The study will cease if the tester refuses to administer any more shocks, or the shocks reach what appear to be an extremely painful level, with the learner crying out in agony. After the study, subjects will be debriefed about the ruse. Psychological counsellors will be on hand for consultation if the subject is feeling significant distress.

Developed for use at an October 2016 CENTRES workshop on the Social, Behavioural and Educational Research.  © 2016 National University of Singapore.  All rights Reserved.  May be used for educational purposes only.