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Heavens Gate and the Branch Davidians are a good example of Stanley Milgrams theories It shows how people respond and follow what authority says Heavens Gate was a cult founded by Marshall Applewhite referred to as Do by his members He convinced 39 people that he was dying of cancer and he persuaded them that if they followed him to death a spaceship in the tail of the comet Hale-Bop would come and take them to the New World To enter the ship they needed to leave their bodies Applewhite made the thirty-nine members of the cult dress talk and look the same He made them all wear the same clothes he shaved everyones head and made them refrain from using personal pronouns such as he and she They were also not permitted to marry have sex drink and had to give all their possessions to the cult They packed their bags with clothes and each person carried 5 bills quarters and their passport for their trip to the New World On March 26 1997 thirty-nine men and women affiliated with Heavens Gate committed suicide by ingesting a combination of Phenobarbitals mixed with applesauce and alcohol Their obedience is evidence of course that they put faith into what Applewhite said Stanley Milgram a psychologist at Yale University conducted a study focusing on the conflict between obedience to authority and personal conscience He was interested in how far people would go in following the orders of a person in authority His experiment consisted of teachers who he recruited and learners who were students or actors The teacher was asked to read a list of word pairs and to ask the learner to recite them back If the learner got the correct answer then they moved on to the next word If the answer was incorrect the teacher was supposed to shock the learner starting at 15 volts and going up to 450 volts in 15
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