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Milgram and the Holocaust: A Reexamination

Milgram and the Holocaust: A Reexamination,10.1037/h0091220,Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology,George R. Mastroianni

Milgram and the Holocaust: A Reexamination  
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The Milgram obedience studies are widely presented in psychology textbooks as integral to understanding the behavior of Holocaust perpetrators. Recent appraisals of the Milgram legacy have not challenged this view. Discussions of the Holocaust in the historical literature are often cited by psychologists to support the claim of the centrality of the Milgram studies to understanding the Holocaust. More recent historical literature presents a different view of the Holocaust, one that directly questions the relevance of Milgram’s obedience studies in understanding the Holocaust. This view has not been well represented in discussions of Milgram in psychology, and is discussed here. The nature of the evidence for the ecological validity of the Milgram studies, and the broader issue of the role of the Milgram studies as "scientific parables" are also discussed. Authors of future psychology textbooks may wish to examine the controversial nature of the claim that Milgram’s studies are central to understanding the Holocaust more fully.
Journal: Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology , vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 158-173, 2002
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