Chapter 6

AUTHORITY

Directed Deference

Follow an expert.

—VIRGIL

SUPPOSE THAT WHILE LEAFING THROUGH THE NEWSPAPER, YOU notice an ad for volunteers to take part in a “study of memory” being done in the psychology department of a nearby university. Let’s suppose further that, finding the idea of such an experiment intriguing, you contact the director of the study, a Professor Stanley Milgram, and make arrangements to participate in an hour-long session. When you arrive at the laboratory suite, you meet two men. One is the researcher in charge of the experiment, as is clearly evidenced by the gray lab coat he wears and the clipboard he carries. The other is a volunteer like yourself who seems average in all respects.

After initial greetings ...

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