Why leave peo­ple in the dark about what they are truly ca­pa­ble of?

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - CUL­TURE PAUL LESTER

YOU MAY not have heard of Stan­ley Mil­gram, but chances are you will be aware of his psy­chol­ogy ex­per­i­ment from 1961. In it, he ar­ranged for a dour sci­en­tist in a grey lab-coat to in­struct cer­tain peo­ple (“teach­ers”) to ad­min­is­ter in­creas­ingly se­vere elec­tric shocks to an af­fa­ble stranger in an adjacent room if he gave the wrong an­swers to ques­tions in a test.

The aim for Mil­gram — the child of East­ern Euro­pean Jewish par­ents — was to find out the ex­tent to which we are pre­pared to fol­low the or­ders of an author­ity fig­ure. His un­der­ly­ing mo­tive was to dis­cover just how the Nazis’ pro­gramme of an­ni­hi­la­tion, based on

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