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ABC News Primetime Basic Instincts 5: The Milgram Experiment Re-Visited

4.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Primetime: Basic Instincts brings some of most well known intellectual theories and psychological experiments to life for the first time to test people's innate decision making process. This limited series looks at everyday problems from weight loss to examining how small the world is, how closely connected we all are, what people are willing to do simply because someone in authority tells them to. This five-part series features reports from John Quinones, Jay Schadler and Chris Cuomo, and finds that what people say they would do in a given situation is quite different than what they actually do.

Do people listen to those in positions of authority, even if what they are telling them is wrong? That question was at the heart of the famous Stanley Milgram psychology experiments and still remains today. From the events at Abu Ghraib to Nazi Germany, people have always struggled to understand why seemingly ordinary people can sometimes do bad, or even terrible, things. Primetime working with a major university, conducts the experiment again to see whether people's responses have changed since the original Milgram experiment in 1961.

Anchor: Chris Cuomo
Airdate: January 3, 2007

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Special Features

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Product Details

  • Producers: Produced by ABC News
  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: ABC News
  • DVD Release Date: August 27, 2007
  • Run Time: 50 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000VHY8DW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,958 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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As a psychology professor I found this video to be an excellent way to start a conversation on the concept of obedience. Milgram's work sheds such light on human behavior that to be able to rerun parts to the experiment for the show was great. Most students think we have changed since Milgram's time and the video shows we really have not. The other stories on Zimbaro's work and a current news story add to the discussions. I highly recommend it.
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By Amy G. on December 24, 2007
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I'm a psychology professor and this DVD is a great addition to my class. Not only does it discuss the Milgram experiment (and re-create it), but it discusses the Zimbardo prison study (complete with video excerpts from the original experiment). It also discusses the Abu Graib prison situation in comparison to Zimbardo's study and has a brief interview with Zimbardo.

Another interesting fact is that the re-creation of Milgram's study differentiates between male and female subjects. It also interviews subjects afterward and questions them about their behavior. Truly great for an hour video and for the price.

Also explanatory enough to be fascinating for a "layperson" - my husband loved it!
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I am a psychology teacher and have found that this program is very effective in introducing social psychology to my students. It is well made and is approachable enough for the students to follow along.

I especially appreciated the additional case studies and experiments (such as Zimbardo's prison experiment) that the special addressed in detail.
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Philosopher Edmund Burke once said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." This ABC Primetime telecast emphatically illustrates that point.

I first saw the original Milgram experiment in an educational psychology class when I was a college student in the mid-seventies. While this recreation is not as extreme (the "shocks" only go up to 150, the original went to 450), the results are still as conclusive: people are capable of doing unspeakable things so long as someone in a position of authority tells them to.

I show this film (the first fifteen minutes anyway) to my students during our reading of "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." It leads to an interesting discussion of why some people/groups do the things they do. What role did political leaders, church leaders have in the acceptance of slavery? I even use the study's findings to explore why the lynching of Colonel Sherburn failed. I bring this video up again when we read Orwell's "Animal Farm." [Note: I choose not to use the McDonald's or the Abu Ghraib scenes in the classroom because of some of the graphic (albeit censored) footage.]

Original broadcast date: Jan. 3, 2007; running time: 34:36 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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I really enjoy this video. I bought it for a General Psychology class. It not only includes footage from the original Milgram's experiment, it re-administers the experiment in modern day. It also includes footage from the Zimbardo prison study, as well as discussing the Abu Ghraib incident. It seems to keep the students interested. It is approx 40 min long, which is perfect to show during class.
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This special is quite good for high school students. I don't think it would work at a higher level as it leans a bit toward being a tad dramatic here and there. However it is/was very good for my high school students. We watch this after we have discussed the Stanley Milgram, Solomon Asch and Philip Zimbardo Experiments. It provides a visual for the students of Milgram's experiment. It is pretty fascinating that when they redid that experiment in 2006 (I believe) they found that they got almost exactly the same results. That really creeps out my students. I love that. It makes them remember. Philip Zimbardo makes a cameo (which is cool). They also bring in the Abu Ghraib prison incident and an incident that happened at a McDonalds which is also about compliance to authority. I would recommend this video to any high school sociology or psychology teacher.
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The video was very informative it covered a modern version of the Milgram Experiment and also touched on the Stanford prison experiment of 1971. This video was perfect for my Social Psych class it covered most of Chapter 6 for me... Plus the students commented on how they found the video very interesting... Kept their interest .. very important
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