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Flashcards in Social Influence Deck (75):

What are situational factors that affects obedience?

When the environment influences an individual


What are dispositional factors that affect obedience?

When internal characteristics affects an individual


What is an authoritarian personality?

A collection of traits developed from a strict childhood, usually obedient towards people of higher status


Who came up with the theory of the authoritarian personality?

Adorno et al (1950)


What experiment did Adorno carry out?

He measured 2000 middle class, white Americans and their unconscious attitudes towards other racial groups


What scale did Adorno create?

He used the F-Scale to measure how fascist people were


What two aspects of personality does the F-Scale measure?

- Conventionalism
- Preoccupation with power


What were Adorno's findings?

He found people who scored higher tended to identify with stronger people, they were conscious of their own and others' status and showed a 'blind respect' to people with power


What do authoritarian people see the world as?

They see it in a cognitive style, there's no 'fuzziness' between categories of people (black or white) and they are driven by stereotypes and prejudice


What are authoritarian characteristics?

- Obedient to authority
- Inflexible with their outlook
- Society needs strong and powerful leaders to enforce traditional values


Why do people have authoritarian personalities?

Harsh parenting which creates despair in the child who displaces these feelings onto the 'weak'


What is a criticism towards dispositional explanations?

Measurement of authoritarianism relies on self-report (F-Scale) data which may be invalid due to social desirability bias


What did Greenstein (1969) say about the F-Scale?

That it is a 'comedy of methodological errors' (every answer is in the same direction - you could tick the same column of boxes without reading the questions and score a high authoritarian personality)


What is acquiscence bias?

The tendency to simply 'agree' with everything


What research support is there for authoritarian personalities?

Milgram and Elms (1966) conducted an interview with a small sample of obedient participants who scored highly on the F-Scale.
Results would indicate that the obedience was due to their fascist beliefs but this was a correlation.
Can't conclude that obedience was caused by dispositional factors.


What did Hyman and Sheatsley (1954) find out about the authoritarian personality?

It is more likely to exist among people who are less well educated and are of low economic social status (this may be the third variable)
but these results aren't inconsistent with the explanation - these people should surely be considered the subordinates and the rebellious.
so perhaps personality is not needed to explain obedience


What comparisons are there to situational factors?

Evidence shows that the situation plays a role in obedience, as demonstrated in Milgram’s experiment (proximity and uniform may have greater influence on obedience levels)


How does Milgram’s study compare to Adorno’s?

Milgram’s results of situational variables are more reliable and valid


Why do people disobey?

They don’t see people as authority figures


What are the two theories of social-psychological explanations?

- agentic state
- legitimacy theory


What sparked Milgram’s interest in obedience?

The trail of Adolf Eichmann in 1961. He was charged for the Nazi death camps and he said he was ‘obeying orders’


What is the agentic state?

When individuals allow someone else to direct their behaviour – they pass responsibility to them


What evaluations are there in terms of research support?

Milgram’s own research demonstrated how the majority of ordinary people will follow instruction even when they know it’s wrong


What research support did Blass and Schmitt (2001) provide?

They found that people who saw Milgram’s study blamed the experimenter, indicating that they believed the participants were agents of authority


What is the autonomous state?

When individuals direct their own behaviour, and take responsibility for the consequences


What is the agentic shift?

When people move away from the autonomous state into the agentic state


What evaluations are there in terms of a limited explanation?

People’s personalities could be the reason as to why they obey to an authority figure. In addition, agency theory can’t explain why some people disobey authority figures


What does it mean to be legitimate?

To be genuine/authentic


What is legitimacy of demands or orders given?

The extent to which the order is perceived to be a legitimate area for the authority figure
Teachers can tell you off for not having your homework, BUT they can’t tell you to go and wash their car


What is legitimacy of authority within the system?

The power individuals hold to give orders because of their position in the system. This is linked to status and the hierarchy within a particular establishment


What is legitimacy of the system?

The extent to which the ‘body’ is a legitimate source of authority
- Government
- Army
- School
- Family
- Religious group


What did Kelman and Hamilton (1989) suggest?

They suggested there were three main factors to explain obedience


What were Kelman and Hamilton’s three explanations for obedience?

- Legitimacy of the system
- Legitimacy of authority within the system
- Legitimacy of demands or orders given


What is legitimacy of authority?

We are more likely to obey if we perceive people to have authority over us
This is justified by their position in the hierarchy


What is destructive authority?

When powerful leaders used their legitimate powers for destructive purposes.


What conclusion was made from Milgram’s experiment?

People are willing to obey the orders of an authoritative figure and inflict harm on an innocent person


What were the results of Milgram’s experiment?

All 40 participants obeyed up to 300 volts
65% shocked the maximum 450 volts


What prods were used in Milgram’s study?

‘please continue’
‘the experiment requires that you continue’
‘it’s absolutely essential that you continue’
‘you have no other choice, you must go on’


What was Milgram’s experiment?

He created a ‘fake generator’ that went from 15 to 450 volts. He got the experimenters to ask the participants questions and if they answered incorrectly, they were told to shock them


What evaluations are there in terms of cultural differences?

In some cultures, authority is more likely to be accepted as legitimate and entitled to demand obedience from individuals. This reflects the ways that different societies are structured and are raised to perceive authority figures (you can’t generalise these reasons to all countries, weakening it to explain obedience)


What experiment used destructive authority?

In Milgram’s study, the experimenter used prods to order the participants to behave in ways that went against their consciences


What was Zimbardo’s study?

He created a prison situation in the basement of Stanford University to observe the effects on those participants acting as guards and those participants acting as prisoners


What evaluations in terms of the ‘obedience’ alibi?

Some people consider a situational perspective on the Holocaust offensive because it removes personal responsibility from the perpetrators


What evaluations are there is terms of lack of internal validity?

The shocks given weren’t real, so the real behaviour wasn’t being measured


What is uniform?

The specific outfit worn by the authority figure


What are the weaknesses of Milgram’s study?

It has low ecological validity and the influence of demand characteristics on the participants and they behaved in the way they thought was expected of them


What are the strengths of Milgram’s study?

It was a laboratory experiment, which meant that he had a lot of control over what happened


What are examples of situational variables?

- Proximity
- Location
- Uniform


What conclusion was made from Milgram’s experiment?

People are willing to obey the orders of an authoritative figure and inflict harm on an innocent person


What is location?

The place in which the order is given


What is proximity?

The physical closeness or distance between the authority figure and the person


What is deindividuation?

When individuation is lost


What is a strength of Zimbardo’s study?

Training can be put in place to stop people conforming to social roles


What evaluation is there in terms of internal validity for Zimbardo’s study?

He chose the participants, so he chose the IV, and they conformed to the social roles, which was the DV


What evaluation is there in terms of demand characteristics for Zimbardo’s study?

The responses were real responses to the situation. The participants believed they were real prisoners and real prison guards


What evaluations is there in terms of the role of dispositional influences for Zimbardo’s study?

Not all guards acted in a brutal manner which undermines Zimbardo’s research to support his theory that we conform to social roles. The guards who didn’t act in a brutal way led people to believe that it was the individuals behaviour that made them act brutally


What evaluation is there in terms of lack of research support for Zimbardo’s study?

The BBC Prison study and social influence theory showed that there is a difference between someone imposing a group role upon you, and you seeing yourself in terms of that role (‘you are a guard’ compared to ‘I am a guard’)


What does Zimbardo’s study lack?

Ecological validity – the prisoners were aware of the study. Zimbardo’s study can’t be redone because it is seen as being unethical


What evaluation is there in terms of ethical issues for Zimbardo’s study?

You can’t argue that the ends justify the means because it was extremely unethical
He didn’t know when to stop the experiment because he was part of it himself
He didn’t allow the participants to withdraw from the experiment


What good thing came from Zimbardo’s study?

He encouraged American prisons to change for the better


What was Asch’s study?

He showed participants a line and gave them three options to choose from to pick the line that was the same


What is internalisation?

When you accept group norms
When your opinions are private and public


What evaluation is there in terms of culture bias?

In America, during the 1950’s it was a very conformist time


What evaluation is there in terms of historical bias?

The 1950’s were a conformist time


What evaluation is there in terms of ecological validity for Asch’s study?

The participants knew they were in the study, so could’ve acted in a certain way (demand characteristics)


What evaluation is there in terms of population validity for Asch’s study?

Only 123 men were selected which doesn’t represent the population


What are the ethical issues of Asch’s study?

The participants weren’t protected from harm – they were put under a stressful situation


What is beta bias?

Assuming that men and women are the same


What is identification?

Wanting to be part of the group


What is normative social influence?

- The desire to be liked
- Emotional rather than cognitive process


What example can be used for ISI?

In a classroom when students don’t know the answer


What is compliance?

Going along with others


What is informational social influence?

The desire to be right
‘Who has better info?’


What is situational obedience?

When people only obey based on the situation they're in


What conclusions were drawn from Milgram's study?

People are willing to obey the orders of an authoritarian figure and inflict harm on an innocent person