Flashcards in Lesson 7 - Situational Explainations Of Obedience Deck (10)
What is Situational Explanation?
- Milgram argued that people obey horrific orders because of the situation they are in, not because of their own personalities.
What is the agentic shift?
- When people go from an autonomous state into an agentic state
- When people ‘unthinkingly’ carry out orders and think of themselves as an instrument of an authority figure.
- They also believe that the authority figure is responsible for their actions and therefore feel no guilt or consciousness over their actions. (Diffusion of responsibility
Why does Agentic Shift occur?
- Authority figures are trustworthy and give reasonable orders initially.
- The orders become more aggressive.
- The people are psychologically protected from their consequences (buffers)
- People adopt the agentic state as it maintains a positive self image. (Not responsible for their actions)
Why does agentic state remain?
- People stay in the agentic state as they do not want to break their commitment
- They do not want to seem arrogant or rude to their authority figure
How did the agentic state originate?
- Developed during human evolution
- Necessary for hierarchical structures, preventing chaos. (Functioning in society)
- People are constantly submitting to authority figures e.g parents and teachers
- Obedience is necessary
Evaluation of Agentic State (Mr Wallace +)
- Participants were more reluctant to shock Mr Wallace when they were in the same room as him because they could see the consequences (no buffers)
- Seeing Mr Wallace in pain would have prevented going into the agentic responsibility
Evaluation of Agentic State (Mandel -)
- Without buffers people should not go into agentic state and obey an order to harm someone
- However, In 1942, Major Trapp was given orders to shoot Jewish people.
- Members of his battalion were given the choice to refuse, but few did and the massacre went ahead.
- This occurred when the soldiers were in close proximity to the victims
What is Legitimate Authority?
- Another explanation of situational obedience
- A person is perceived to be in a position of social control
- There is a shared expectation that scenarios have a socially controlling figure
- Legitimate authority does not stem from personality traits, instead stems from perceived status i.e. uniform
What do people let legitimate authority figures dictate?
- People accept definitions of situations provided by a legitimate authority figure
- The participant performs an action and its meaning is defined by an authority figure
- It may require an institution if requests/orders are destructive (military)