Social Psychology: Obedience to Authority Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Social Psychology: Obedience to Authority Deck (10):

Name the Famous Study into Obedience

Milgram (1963)


What did Milgram do?

Milgram recruited 40 male participants by advertising for volunteers. Everyone was paid $4.50 and told that they would receive it even if they left the study. There were 2 confederates in each trial, one was the authority figure in a lab coat, the other an accountant who played the part as the learner. The participant drew from a hat and it was rigged so they always got the 'Teacher'. They were told to administer an electric shock everytime the learner got a question wrong. The learner mainly gave the wrong answers and received fake shocks after 315v the screaming would stop and the learner was silent, if participants protested the authority figure were given a set of prods. Milgram measured how many participants went up to 450 volts.


What did Milgram find

Shockingly 65% of the participants continued all the way to 450v, only 12.5% of participants stopped at 300v


What conclusions can we draw from Milgram's study?

These findings show that people are very obedient to authority even when asked to do acts considered morally wrong. This suggests that it is not evil people who commit atrocities but ordinary people who are just obeying orders


Name 2 Ethical Issues with Milgram's study

> Protection from Psychological harm
> Right to withdraw


Explain the ethical issue of Protection from Psychological harm in Milgram's study

Milgram was criticised for the potential psychological harm caused by putting the participants through a traumatic, and degenerating act. However Milgram said that they debriefed the participants after the experiment and found that 84% were glad they took part, and 74% said they had learnt something of importance.


Explain the ethical issue of Right to Withdraw harm in Milgram's study

Part of giving informed consent is allowing the participants the right to withdraw. In Milgram's study, the right to withdraw was not made very clear for participants. Milgram claimed that participants knew that they were allowed to leave at any time, as in the advert it even said that the participants would still get payed if they withdrew. However the prods used made it very difficult for some participants who felt they had no choice but to go on.


Name 2 evaluation points to do with the validity of Milgram's study

> Realism
> Generalisibility


Explain the issue of Realism in Milgram's study

Orne and Holland said that the participants may have seen that even tho the 'learner' was screaming the experimenter acted cool and distant, they might have seen it was staged and not real so they were prepared to administer all the shocks. However Milgram contested this and said that in the debrief's they found that most of the participants believed they were giving real shocks


Explain the issue of Generalisibility in Milgram's study

Hofling conducted a study using nurses, who were telephoned by a Doctor and asked t administer a high dosage of a drug to a patient, despite the Nurses knowing about hospital regulations 21 out of 22 administered the drug. This shows that obedience occurs in a real-life setting.