© 2018

Understanding Willing Participants, Volume 1

Milgram’s Obedience Experiments and the Holocaust

  • Offers an explanation as to how ordinary people may perform unthinkable acts

  • Utilizes never-before-seen documents from Milgram's personal collection

  • Will appeal to scholars across multiple disciplines


About this book


Horrified by the Holocaust, social psychologist Stanley Milgram wondered if he could recreate the Holocaust in the laboratory setting. Unabated for more than half a century, his (in)famous results have continued to intrigue scholars. Based on unpublished archival data from Milgram’s personal collection, volume one of this two-volume set introduces readers to a behind the scenes account showing how during Milgram’s unpublished pilot studies he step-by-step invented his official experimental procedure—how he gradually learnt to transform most ordinary people into willing inflictors of harm. Volume two then illustrates how certain innovators within the Nazi regime used the very same Milgram-like learning techniques that with increasing effectiveness gradually enabled them to also transform most ordinary people into increasingly capable executioners of other men, women, and children. Volume two effectively attempts to capture how step-by-step these Nazi innovators attempted to transform the Führer’s wish of a Jewish-free Europe into a frightening reality. By the books’ end the reader will gain an insight into how the seemingly undoable can become increasingly doable. 


Stanley Milgram Social Psychology Experiments The Milgram Experiment Social Groups Social Dynamics Human Behavior Obedience Compliance Conformism Conformity Research Ethics Influence Nazism Holocaust Authoritarianism

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

About the authors

Nestar Russell, Ph.D., is Sessional Instructor and Independent Researcher at the University of Calgary, Canada.

Bibliographic information