Milgram: Obedience to authority Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Milgram: Obedience to authority Deck (8)
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1

Aim

- Milgram (1963) wanted to test the popular hypothesis that 'Germans are different' which formed due to their actions in WW2 especially the Holocaust.
- Most at the time believed German soldiers acted that way purely due to dispositional facts.
- Milgram conducted this study to investigate the level of obedience participants would show when an authority figure tells them to administer lethal electric shocks to another human.

2

The teacher and learners

- He placed an advert in a newspaper asking for male participants to take part in a study in Yale university which was supposedly about the effects of punishment of learning.
- 40 participants were chosen and were invited to the psychology department in Yale university where they met the experimenter dressed in a white lab coat who was really a confederate.
- There was a learner and teacher and it as made to look like the roles were random.
- Learner was 47 years old with a weak heart names Mr Wallace.

3

Procedure

- The participants were told to punish the learner if they made a mistake on a memory test by giving electric shocks that increased by 15V each time.
- Learner was taken to a separate room and the teacher was in an adjacent room with a fake shock machine.
- The max was 450V and each group of 4 switches showed the severity of the shocks ranging from 'Slight shock' to 'Danger: Severe shock'. The final few had XXX on them.
- Participants were prompted to continue by the experiment who told them 'the experiment requires you to continue' and 'you have no choice but to continue'

4

Findings

- ALL participants went up to 300V and 65% went to the max.
- Milgram predicted that only 2% would shock the highest level.
- During the study, participants showed signs of distress such as sweating and nervous laughing.

5

Strength: Good external validity

- A repeat of the experiment was conducted by another psychologist where 21/22 nurses were willing to administer a patient double the dose of a fake drug when instructed by an apparent doctor over the phone.
- This shows that Zimbardo's study can be applied to more realistic situations
- HOWEVER when this same concept was tested again but with a known drug (Valium) only 2/18 prepared the medicine and they were allowed to consult with other nurses.
- A game show in France called 'Game of Death' tested Milgram's study and 80% went to the max

6

Weakness: Lacks internal validity

- The experiment was conducted in a lab setting which could have caused participants to show demand characteristics.

7

Weakness: Ethical issues

- Deception was used as participants didn't know the true nature of the experiment and didn't give informed consent.
- But they had to be deceived to minimise demand characteristics which would make the study less valid.
- They also became extremely psychologically distressed - failed to protect from psychological harm
- Many asked to leave the experiment but experiment but the experimenter prompted them to continue. This violates their right to withdraw.

8

Weakness: Lack of population validity

- Milgram used a bias sample of 40 male, American volunteers which means we are unable to generalise the results to other populations and cultures.