Behind the Shock Machine

Behind the Shock Machine

The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
Rate this:
When social psychologist Stanley Milgram invited volunteers to take part in an experiment at Yale in the summer of 1961, none of the participants could have foreseen the worldwide sensation that the published results would cause. Milgram reported that fully 65 percent of the volunteers had repeatedly administered electric shocks of increasing strength to a man they believed to be in severe pain, even suffering a life-threatening heart condition, simply because an authority figure had told them to do so. Such behavior was linked to atrocities committed by ordinary people under the Nazi regime and immediately gripped the public imagination. The experiments remain a source of controversy and fascination more than fifty years later.

In Behind the Shock Machine , psychologist and author Gina Perry unearths for the first time the full story of this controversial experiment and its startling repercussions. Interviewing the original participants--many of whom remain haunted to this day about what they did--and delving deep into Milgram's personal archive, she pieces together a more complex picture and much more troubling picture of these experiments than was originally presented by Milgram. Uncovering the details of the experiments leads her to question the validity of that 65 percent statistic and the claims that it revealed something essential about human nature. Fleshed out with dramatic transcripts of the tests themselves, the book puts a human face on the unwitting people who faced the moral test of the shock machine and offers a gripping, unforgettable tale of one man's ambition and an experiment that defined a generation.
Publisher: New York : The New Press, ©2013.
Edition: Revised edition.
ISBN: 9781595589217
Characteristics: x, 339 pages ;,25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

May 23, 2018

Not a gripping read but interesting to learn about the flaws, variations and impact of Milgram's famous experiment(s). What I had thought was fairly straightforward proof of what people are capable of when divested of responsibility for their actions was actually more complex. Most of the subjects appear to have been recruited with certain results in mind and even they resisted in the face of repeated coercion and intimidation, suffering long-term trauma as a result. Although this investigation doesn't refute or completely discredit Milgram's findings, it does weaken them and restore some faith in humanity. If you like this type of book, you may also like Luria's Mind of the Mnemonist or the completely unrelated Flash Boys.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

May 23, 2018

humbleworm thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top