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Social Influence – Obedience

3. Early Criticism and Replication Studies

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In this module, we think about the first wave of critical reactions to Milgram’s studies. First, we consider studies which have criticised Milgram’s ethics and methodology, before discussing some replication studies which have examined the theoretical underpinnings of Milgram’s obedience experiments, raising questions around his experimental data and his ‘agentic state’ theory.


In this course, Dr Stephen Gibson (York St John University) discusses Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiments. Module one begins by introducing Milgram’s experimental procedure and the findings which resulted from his study. We then move on, in module two, to explore different variations of Milgram’s baseline study and think about the theory of the agentic state which he developed from his work. Module three covers some early criticisms of Milgram’s method and ethics, while module four looks at more recent studies which have sought to re-examine Milgram’s work in the light of archival records held at Yale University. Finally, in module five, we explore how a re-interpretation of the Milgram experiments in the context of language and rhetoric can lead us to a new definition of the concept of obedience itself.


Dr Stephen Gibson has been at York St John University since September 2005, before which he undertook his doctoral research in the Department of Psychology, Lancaster University. His research uses discursive and rhetorical approaches to explore a range of social psychological topics, including citizenship, national identity, dis/obedience and representations of peace and conflict.

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APA style

Gibson, S. (2019, September 27). Social Influence – Obedience - Early Criticism and Replication Studies [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Gibson, S. "Social Influence – Obedience – Early Criticism and Replication Studies." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 27 Sep 2019,

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