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Forty men aged between 20 and 50 participated in the Milgram experiment. They were all from the New Haven area and they found out about the experiment from a newspaper. They were paid $4.50 for turning up.
The experiment was carried out at Yale University. The men were introduced to a man who would be the "learner" in the experiment. What they didn't know was that man was an actor.
They drew straws to find out who would be the "teacher" and who would be the "learner." The "teacher" was always the participant. A man in a grey lab coat was observing the experiment. He was seen as the authoritative figure.
Two rooms were occupied at Yale. In one room was the "learner" (the actor) sat on an electric chair and his wrists strapped to an electric current. In the other room sat the "teacher" and the man. Next to the teacher was a shock generator.
The "learner" was asked to memorise pairs of words and the "teacher" was given the role of giving the "learner" an electric shock if the answer they gave did not correspond to the matching pair when called. The voltage increased each time and went from 15 to 450. Prompts were given if the participant didn't want to continue any further.
In the end, every participant continued to 300 volts and 65% continued to the highest voltage. The participants showed major signs of stress and one person had a seizure.
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