Social Psychology: Obedience
Key Study: Milgram (1963)
Everyday Examples of Obedience
Student sitting still and quiet in class when teacher is present.
Following the orders given to you by a parent.
Doing what your boss tells you to do.
What do all of these have in common?
The use of authority that is based in power.
Without power authority usually has little influence, and therefore the authority figure is of low standing.
Power: Some ideas
Weber: 3 sources of power Charismatic (such as a popular leader may have) Traditional (such as parents and elders in a society have) Rational-Legal (such as police officers have)
People need to be able to switch between two states -
- in modern organisations and groupings.
We are trained in these two states from early socialisation.
Thus the imperatives about the rightness of obedience are created.
The Agentic State
When in the Agentic State we redefine the meaning of the situation .
It is created through the use of a social bond . This occurs through The sequential nature of the action.
The use of an implicit social contract.
Feelings of anxiety if we break the bond.
Why do we not obey?
Past experience Being in an Autonomous State Disregard for the authority source Disregard for the authority figure Questioning the motives of authority figure Exposure to disobedient models
The Procedure The participant was paired with a colleague of Milgram (the stooge) Thought they were taking part in an experiment on Memory / Learning Electric Shock machine slight/severe/danger: severe shock Volts ranged between 15 - 450 volts
The Procedure The participant (teacher) given a mild electric shock Then stooge wired up to the electric shock machine in next room The experiment began
The TASK e.g. blue sky, green grass, red balloon Learner had to memorise these Teacher then reads out one word e.g. Green …..
Learner to respond with the ‘pair match’
If a mistake was made Teacher told to give electric shock to learner Rising by 15 volts each mistake from 15 volts to 450 volts
The participants shook, trembled, and sweated They were pressed to continue “You must go on” “The experiment is important” “Please continue|”
FOR MORE INFO...
Read this up in any general text e.g. R Gross, The Science of Mind & Behaviour
The learner shouted and yelled He could be heard through the wall He remained silent after 300 volts
How many went to 450 volts?
65% of participants went to 450 volts!
They would have followed orders and Killed the stooge for making too many mistakes!
Remembering Methodology ….
What was the dependent variable?
The DV The level of shock the participant stopped at!
Was this experiment ethical? What do you think?
IF YOU WERE A MEMBER OF THE ETHICS COMMITTEE Would you let Milgram do it again?
Did the ends justify the means?
Was the knowledge gained worth the pain of the participants?
How can we decide this question?
Why did Ps Obey?
Location of study.
Worthy purpose of study.
Leaner had volunteered.
P made social bond with E.
Payment. Ps told that shocks were not painful.
Ethics (deception, harm to Ps, informed consent) Ecological Validity (does the study tell us anything about obedience in everyday life?) Social Determinism (the social environment creates obedience in the P)