Milgram, 1963 (Obedience) Flashcards Preview

Psychology > Milgram, 1963 (Obedience) > Flashcards

Flashcards in Milgram, 1963 (Obedience) Deck (21):

When and where did Milgram's study take place?

1963 in America, Yale University.


What is the aim of the study?

To investigate obedience to legitimate authority figures.


What is the method?

A laboratory experiment / controlled observation.

It wasn't a true experiment because there wasn't a control group.


What was the IV and the DV?

IV= prods
DV= obedience (how far up the scale Ps went)


Describe the participants.

-40 American men
-aged 20 to 50
-working class
-from New Haven


Who were the confederates (someone who pretends to be a participant during an experiment)?

Experimenter- biology teacher in a white coat.
Learner/victim (person getting electrocuted)- 47 year old accountant.


What were the Ps told the study was about?

Effects of punishment on learning/memory.


What is the study about?



How were the participants chosen?

40 men were selected from all those who volunteered (500 New Haven men).


How much were they going to be paid?



Describe the procedure.

The participant was told the study was about the effects of punishment on learning and memory. They arrived at the lab and were introduced to the accountant who pretended to be another participant. Lots were drawn and the participant was always the "teacher." He was then given a sample shock as an example of what the victim/learner would feel. He was showed the learner strapped in a chair, wired up to the machine. Then he was taken to another room where he read a series of word pairs and then to test the learner by reading out the first word and four others and asking them which one was originally paired with the first word. The learner deliberately got 3/4 of the answers wrong and for every wrong answer he had to give a higher level of shock. The learner didn't object until 300v when he pounded on the wall and then stopped giving answers. Most participants asked what to do next but were asked to continue. When the subject showed reluctance, the experimenter had set prods.


How many switches were there and what did the volts go up to?

-30 switches
-15V to 450V


Give two examples of the prods.

1) Please continue.
2) You have no choice, you must go on.


What were the signs of extreme tension?

-Biting their lips
-Digging their fingernails into their flesh
-Nervous laughing (14)
-3 uncontrollable seizures


Why did the participants obey?

1) Subjects think the experimenter is of legitimate authority and must be followed.
2) Prestigious university.
3) Subjects assume learner voluntarily took part
4) He volunteered so feel obliged to finish until the end.
5) Paid to do it.


What were the strengths of the method used?

-Level of control meant it was easy to see how participants responded to the commands of authority figure.
-Volunteers: gave consent and was debriefed.
-High in "Experimental Realism": participants believed it was real and responded realistically.


What were the weaknesses of the method used?

-Right to withdraw
-Low ecological validity


How representative was the sample?

-Self selected: not representative (biased)
-All male: no info about women's level of obedience.
-Lack of generalisability
-However they came from a range of backgrounds and ages.


What type of data was collected?

-Quantitative: Number of Ps giving 450V. (Provides data about obedience)
-Qualitative: Observations- sweating, nervous laughter etc. (Experience of Ps)


What does Milgram's study show?

That the situation is influential and a powerful authority figure can persuade people to act in a certain way.


What were the two findings?

-26/40 (65%) went all the way (450V)
-9/40 (22.5%) stopped at 300V (when the victim pounded on the wall)