Audaces fortuna juvat

Working towards my dream

Posts Tagged ‘experiment’

Authority vs. Personal Judgment

Posted by C Moon on February 27, 2008

After the World War II was over, there was a fervent discussion on whether human is by nature “evil.” Holocaust by the Germans and Rape of Nanking by the Japanese are only a few examples showing how cruel people can be to other people who do not belong to the “Us” group, the in-group. While many people asserted that there was something wrong with the Germans, there is an experiment that makes us ponder on whether we can blindly accuse Germans on their wrongdoing: Stanley Milgram’s experiment on “The Perils of Obedience.” To learn more about Milgram, read “The Man Who Shocked the World“.

Milgram’s design is quite ingenious, though controversial on some ethical grounds. The experiment proceeds as follows:

(1) A subject who is selected from the volunteers is told that he will have an experiment on whether punishment will improve one’s performance.
(2) The subject and the researchers’ confederate decide who will be the teacher and who will be the student by drawing a lot, but it is predesigned to make the subject the teacher.
(3) The subject, or the teacher, accompanies the student, who is being tied down to the chair.
(4) The teacher is asked to give a more severe electric shock every time the student gets the question wrong.

While the procedure seems simple, there is a constant pressure given to the subject: The pre-taped voice of the student is played, shouting out to stop or giving no response as the level of the electric shock increases, and there is a person asking the teacher to continue on giving the shocks. Interestingly, most people, in fact, more than half of the subjects, go on to give the highest level of the shock 450 volts (consider that the domestic electric supply of USA is 110V, of UK 240V, and of Korea 220V), labeled as “xxx,” meaning lethal. If you were thrown into such situation, what would be your decision?

Below, I am attaching a video that I’ve recently encountered: A recent recreation of Milgram’s 1963 experiment.

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Photo Credits: “Electric Char – Andy Warhol” by fibonetti on Flickr

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Reflection: Still Afraid of Posting

Posted by C Moon on February 11, 2008

It has been about six months since my AP Literature class started this visionary blogging project. It was a new experience to me, as I never planned to broadcast myself through the Internet (though I knew what blogging was). Up to now, (694 + 214) people read my blog and some of them left comments. I am not sure whether this is a success or not, but thus far, I am quite contented with what I have achieved.

Before writing this reflection, I went back and watched the video clip that I posted after the first month of blogging. As the subtitle of my blog says, my theme was to show the process of “Working towards my dream.” I still hold that goal, and am trying to share my opinions and interests with people. The blogging project has helped me actually start experimenting on what I thought would be interesting but might take a lot of time.

Blogging is a powerful tool since people are connected with others whom they even did not have a chance to meet. However, the challenging part for me, from the very start of this project, has been my deliberation in making my works public. I write many preliminary posts, spend time in editing them, and post only some of them. Since the posts are published with my name, I try to publish only the works that meet some standard and represent me well. I am not quite sure whether my practice is good or bad, but I will continue for quite a more while.

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Photo Credits: “small world” by bass_nroll on Flickr

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