Listening to psychologist Gina Perry discuss the Milgram experiment was one of the catalysts for my novel Creatures of Anise. (which exists only in ethereal form atm) io9 recently posted an article which briefly describes the controversial experiment and links to Perry’s book Behind the Shock Machine.
As interesting and as troubling as the experiment is itself, what I was really struck by was Perry’s account of the reactions of the participants, particularly those who had chosen to administer what they thought was an electric shock. (Nobody I listened to had thought that they had killed somebody as the io9 article suggests) However, the knowledge that they had made the decision to hurt someone, no matter what the context, and the damning, judgmental comments afterwards by those who had administered the experiment stayed with those participants all their lives. How quick we are to judge others. How easily we can fail, even at the tests we give ourselves.