Milgram's study of destructive obedience 

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  • Created by: Jazz23
  • Created on: 08-11-15 13:58
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  • Milgram's study of destructive obedience
    • Aim
      • To investigate how obedient people would be to orders from a person in authority that would result in pain and harm to another person.
    • Context
      • Milgram was interested in the social processes that take place between individuals and within groups
    • Method
      • Dependent variable- was the obedience  (maximum voltage)
      • Lab experiment
      • Participants- forty men aged 20-50 were recruited by means of a newspaper advertisement
      • Volunteers were told they were taking part in a learning experiment. They took the role of the teacher, giving what they thought were painful shocks to a confederate whom they believed to be a fellow participant taking the role of learner. Shocks increased by 15V for every wrong answers and went up to a maximum of 450V
    • Evaluation
      • Validity
        • Milgram's procedure took place in an artificial environment that was rather different to those in which most atrocities take place
      • Ethics
        • He did not obtain informed consent because participants agreed to take part in a learning experiment not a study of obedience
        • He caused participants distress and could have affected their health and one participant such a seizure that the experiment had to be stopped
        • Participants were refused the right to withdraw by the use of verbal prods
      • Reliability
        • A procedure is reliable if it can be replicated. Milgram's procedure has been replicated many times even though there is debate over reliability over some of his variations
      • Quantitative and qualitative data
        • A strength of Milgram's study was the recording of both types of data in order to make the correct conclusions
      • Sampling bias
        • The sample was made up of 40 men from the same region. The fact that all the participants were from the same area and all amle makes it hard to generalise the study to the whole population
      • Research metnod- laboratory experiment
        • It is hard to set up laboratory experiments in which people behave as they would in real life
        • Because the procedure takes place in a highly controlled environment it is possible to eliminate extraneous variables
      • Practical applications
        • This is a strength of Milgram's study. Understanding the circumstances in which people will obey destructive orders has proved useful in understanding atrocities
    • Results
      • 100% of participants gave at least 300V and 65% gave the full 450V
    • Conclusions
      • People find the experience of recieving and obeying destructive orders highly stressful. They obey in spite of their emotional responses
      • People are much more obedient to destructive orders that we might expect and considerably more than psychology students suggested in their estimates


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