View mindmap
  • Obedience
    • What?
      • Complying with an order from another person to carry out an action
      • Person who gives instruction usually has power/ authority
    • Situational variables
      • Affect level of obedience shown by participants, but to do with external circumstances rather than personalities of people involved
      • Proximity: Physical closeness of an authority figure to person they are giving order to
      • Location: Place where an order is issued. Different locations have different amounts of status which could affect obedience levels
      • Uniform: People in positions of authority often have a specific uniform which is symbolic of their authority e.g police
    • Social psychological factors
      • Influence of other people
      • Agentic state: Mental state where we feel no personal responsibility for our behaviour because we believe ourselves to be acting on behalf of an authority figure
      • Autonomous state: Free to behave according to own principles, feel a sense of responsibility
    • Milgram's Study
      • Aim: 40 male volunteers deceived into thinking they were giving electric shocks. Investigating role of punishment in learning. Genuine participant = teacher, confederate= student. Participant watched confederate be strapped into chair
      • Procedure: Shocks started at 15V, went up to 450V. If teacher hesitated, researcher encouraged them to continue. Experiemtn continued until participant refused to continue/ full 450V administered
      • Findings: All participants went up to 300V, 65% went to full 450V. Most participants showed stress and extreme anxiety.
      • Conclusion: Most people will obey orders that go against conscience.
      • Ppts in agentic state: Perceived experimenters as authority figures, asked 'Will I be responsible for this?', under pressure
    • Legitimacy of authority
      • Explanation for obedience
      • Suggests we are more likely to obey people we perceive to have authority over us
      • Authority justified by individuals position of power within social hierarchy
      • We obey because we accept authority figures have to exert power for society to function
      • Destructive: Authority figures behave in way that is dangerous/ cruel- clearly shown in Milgram's study
    • Dispositional explanations
      • Refer to any explanation of behaviour that highlights importance of individual personality
      • Authoritarian personality: Adorno argued was especially susceptible to obeying people in authority. Also thought to be submissive to superiors, dismissive of inferiors
      • Adorno studied obedient personalisation. 2000 middle class Americans and observed how their racist attitudes link to authoritarian personalities
      • Findings: Authoritarian personalities have tendency to obey. Extreme respect for authority, submissive. Highly controversial issues/attitudes, serve to higher authority. Everything wrong/right, dislike uncertainty
    • Research Evidence
      • Situational: Bickman- 3 confederates dressed in jacket/tie, milkman's outfit and security guard uniform. Stood in street, asked passers by to pick up litter/give change. Twice as likely to obey security guard than jacket/tie
      • Social-psychological: Milgrma's study- people obeyed researcher in lab coat, entered agentic state
      • Dispositional: Adorno found Americans and their unconcious attitudes towards other racial groups. People w/ authoritarian personality identified with strong people, looked down on weak
      • Kilham&Mann- Replicated Milgrams procedure in Australia, found 16% ppts went whole voltage scale.
      • Mantell found 85% German ppts went whole way
    • Evaluation
      • SV can't explain obedience in all situations-  some people act of own will e.g Holocaust
      • Difficult to use dispositional explanations- people within a group have different personalities but may display similar behaviours, social identity.
      • Can't pinpoint why someone has obeyed, can be many reasons. Uncertain of cause and effect
      • Anxiety could suggest being in agentic state. Cannot be sure why someone is doing something e.g through free will/ we have been told to
      • Factors overlap, cannot be sure which factor obedience is down to
      • Measuring dispositional explanations:Questionairres- social desirability, reduces validity


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Conformity resources »