‘Nuremberg Defense’ of Following Orders Explored by Neuroscientists in Milgram-like Trials

Some of the most heinous crimes of the 20th century, leading to the deaths of millions, were attributed to a simple line of reasoning. During the Nuremberg trials, the accused defended their actions with a simple mantra: “Befehl ist Befehl.” “An order is an order” – a concept to pass the blame of the Holocaust up to the highest Nazi commanders. Other killers from Africa to Serbia to the Soviet Union claimed the same degree of inculpability. Now a study by European neuroscientists have explored the brains of the reasoned, in a series of experiments modeled on the infamous Stanley Milgram experiments at Yale University from the 1960s involving electric shocks to another participant. The Milgram experiments used fake shocks and actors – the latest study by the scientists from…


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