The study took place in a laboratory at Yale University. 14 Yale seniors were asked to predict obedience of a 100 hypothetical subjects.
40 male participants 20-50 years old were all given the role of teacher in a fixed lottery. They watched the 'learner' get strapped into a chair with electrodes strapped to them. The teacher was given a trial of 45 volts.
The 'teacher' then sat in front of an electric shock generator in an adjacent room. He had to conduct a pair words test on the learner and give him an electric shock of increasing intensity each time he guessed incorrectly.
The 'learner' produced a set of predetermined responses to the shocks via a tape recording. Approximately three wrong to every correct answer. At 300 volts he pounded the wall and didn't respond again.
If the 'teacher' asked any questions during, the experimenter responded with a series of standardised prods eg. "please continue/ please go on".
The study finished when either the 'teacher' refused to continue (disobedient) or reached 450 volts (was obedient). All participants continued to 300 volts while 65% continued to 450 volts. All participants were then fully debriefed.