Stanley Milgram’s subway experiment, thirty years on

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 15, 2004

Stanley Milgram’s subway experiment, thirty years on. Asking people to give up their seats on the subway turned out to be more of an inconvenience for the person asking the question than for the person having to give up their seat.

Reader comments

barnesSep 15, 2004 at 11:12AM

This reminds me of an article that appeared in the DC CityPaper about ten or eleven years ago. In the article, the writer observed a pack of Twinkies sitting on one of the seats that, inexplicably, rode unmolested from one end of the line to the other, through downtown, and at rush hour.

RichardSep 15, 2004 at 11:21AM

I took part in the famous Milgram experiment that involved electric shock* and there have been numerous replications of Milgram experiments including the famous 6 degrees experiment that Gladwell talks about in Tipping Point. Milgram was a very interesting and provacative guy. A more recent experiment by Phil Zimbardo got a lot of attention during the early Abu Ghraib prison discussion.

* I went all the way and gave the subject the highest voltage (as did most participants) and even though I was very young and relatively clueless at the time, Zimbardo’s research suggests that most people don’t recognize similar moral and/or ethical issues in new clothes. In other words, we learn from history that we don’t learn from history.

Jeff AdairSep 15, 2004 at 2:36PM

Great stuff Jason…
Your site is a daily “must read” for me. Refreshing and intelligent as usual…

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.