Audaces fortuna juvat

Working towards my dream

Posts Tagged ‘judgment’

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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In Response to My Parents’ Biased Appraisal of Their Youngest Child

Posted by C Moon on December 7, 2007

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Catherine is strong both physically and mentally. Before entering grade school, she persistently wanted to practice martial arts. Since practicing martial arts as a very young child can be detrimental to physical development, we persuaded her to defer taking martial art lessons until 4th grade and we also had hard time to persuade her to choose only one. Even under pressure, Catherine remains calm and she simply takes care of matters as much as she can.On the other hand, deep inside she also has keen sensitivity to arts, nature, and people. What we mean is that she is actually both passionate and sensitive deep in her heart but she usually filters those feelings and is seen as calm and strong outside.
In our view, Catherine’s most outstanding traits are her optimism, curiosity, energy, dynamism, friendliness, independence, responsibility, and love for challenges. She has traits, which are rarely associated with the youngest child.

I have thought that my parents always try to be square in judging even their own kids. However, apparently they seem to see me more favorably than I am. Maybe that is their strategy of prodding me to go forward. Still, I feel very nice after reading my parents’ appraisal.

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Photo Credits: Original

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