Milgram's Study of Obedience

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  • Milgram's Study of Obedience
    • Procedure
      • Volunteer sampling - Newspaper ad offering $4.50
      • Learner is an actor - teacher an actual participant.
      • "Teacher" asks "Learner" a number of questions based on word pairs.
      • Each incorrect answer leads to the "learner" receiving an electric shock.
      • Shocks increase from 15V to 450V in stages of 15V.
    • Aim
      • To investigate how far people would go into obeying an authority figure.
    • Participants
      • 40 males aged 25-50. Variety of jobs.
      • Learner was a 47 y/o man acting as Mr Wallace, a well-mannered accountant.
      • Experimenter watched the teacher as he gave the shocks. He was dressed in a grey lab coat to give the appearance of an authoritative figure.
    • Findings/ Conclusions
      • All 40 ppts continued to the stage of 300V shock
      • 65% continued until the end - 450V
      • Milgram concluded that social influence is strong and people obey orders even when it causes distress.
      • Factors leading to a high level of obedience
        • Yale University is a prestigious university
        • The learner was willing to take part
        • The participant may have thought the learner would do the same in their place
        • The participant had been paid to take part, making them feel obliged to do the experiment


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