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Social Influence – Obedience

3. Early Criticism and Replication Studies

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think about the first wave of critical reactions to Milgram’s studies, focusing in particular on: (i) studies which have criticised Milgram’s ethics and methodology; (ii) some replication studies which have examined the theoretical underpinnings of Milgram’s obedience experiments; (iii) questions around his experimental data and his ‘agentic state’ theory.


In this course, Dr Stephen Gibson (York St John University) explores Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiments. In the first lecture, we think about Milgram’s experimental procedure and the findings which resulted from his study. In the second lecture, we explore different variations of Milgram’s baseline study and think about the theory of the agentic state which he developed from his work. In the third lecture, we think about some early criticisms of Milgram’s method and ethics. Next, look at more recent studies which have sought to re-examine Milgram’s work in the light of archival records held at Yale University. In the fifth and final lecture, 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.

Cite this Lecture

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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