Behind the Shock Machine:
The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments
Millions of words have been written about the statistics Stanley Milgram obtained in his obedience experiments – how many subjects continued to the maximum voltage, how many stopped short of the final switch. But what do percentages tell us about the 780 people who walked into Milgram’s lab during 1961 and 1962?
The story of Milgram’s famous research had always felt unfinished to me. Who were the people who volunteered? What happened to them after they left his lab and returned to their homes and families? And how did they feel about what they’d done – weeks, months and years later? “Behind the Shock Machine : The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments” tells the story of how I set out to find them.
But in piecing together the story of Milgram’s subjects I found another and equally fascinating untold story – a story about the experiments themselves, and the man behind them. I discovered that the experiments I thought I knew so well, were much more complicated, and that Milgram’s obedience experiments are as misunderstood as they are famous.