SOCIAL - Why do people obey? Explanations for obedience

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  • Why do people obey? Explanations for obedience
    • Situational factors
      • Agency theory
        • agentic shift - move from being in auto to agentic state
        • dehumanisation - more obed as people they deserve the punishment handed out to them (Nazis and Jews)
          • Milgram (1974) study - one PP: 'that guy in their was so stupid he deserved to be shocked'
      • Legitimate authority
        • def: the degree to which individs are seen as justified in having power over others
        • Hofling (1966) - confed 'Mr Smith (supposedly psychiatric department) told 22 nurses by phone to give patient 'Mr Jones' 20mg of an unfamiliar drug (max daily dosage was 10mg). Dr Smith would sign authorisation papers later. Hospital rules required doctors to sign auth.papers and that nurses should be sure that they are a real doctor.
          • RESULTS: Of 22 nurses, 21 obeyed. Control group of 22 nurses said they wouldn't give out pill or exceed max dose
          • EVAL: Rank and Jacobsen (1977) said when nurses used familiar drug and conferred with their peers, only 2/18 obeyed
        • figures with defined role of society eg police, teachers etc
        • obliged to obey as we trust their credentials and assume what they are doing is right
        • taught to respect them
        • Milgram's obed was lower in a run down uilding over Yale Uni
      • External explanation
        • proximity
          • how aware individs are of the consequences of their actions in obeying authority figures
          • when distance between the teacher and learner in Milgram's study was done, obed decreased as people could see the consequences of their actions
          • Milgram (1983) - when teacher and learner in same room, obed decreased to 40%
        • location
          • location of environment can be relevant to perceived amount of authority, obed will be higher
          • Milgram (1973) - when experiment was in run down building as opposed to Yale Uni, obed was 47.5%
        • uniforms
          • perception of added authority when delivering orders. Milgram - experimenter wore lab coat
          • Bickman (1974) - confed ordered people to pick up rubbish on street. 19% obeyed when he wore civilian clothe, 14% milkman, 38% as security guard
    • Internal explanation
      • authoritarian personality
        • a person who holds rigid beliefs, intolerant of ambiguity, submissive to authority and hostile to those with lower status or members of an out-group
        • proposed by Fromm (1941)
        • Adorno (1950) saw the people as having insecurities - tough on non-conventional people and having a belief for power and toughness
        • Adorno created F-Scale
        • Jost (2003) - the personality is motivated by thought processes which aim to reduce fear and anxieties that social change brings
        • Zillmer (1995) - 16 Nazi war criminals scored highly on 3 F-Scale dimensions, but not all nine (as expected). Little support for theory
        • Authoritarian people don't always score highly on F-Scale
        • F-Scale suffers from bias response as scale is worded in confirming direction. Altemeyer created RWA (Right Wing Authoritarian scale) which is less biased (equal no. of anti- and pro-statements)
        • Theory is politically biased - people with auth personalities are thought of only existing on the conservative right wing of political views


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