Obedience: milgrams study

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  • Created by: IvyVega
  • Created on: 22-02-18 16:35
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  • Obedience: Milgram's research
    • Procedure
      • Milgram recruited 40 male participants through newspaper ads and postal flyers.
        • The ad said he was looking for participants for a memory study
        • Participants were aged between 20 and 50 years, in jobs ranging from unskilled to professional.
          • They were given $4.50 for just turning up.
      • Participants drew lots for their role.
        • A confederate was always the learner while the true participant was the teacher.
          • An experimenter, who was another confederate, wore a lab coat.
        • Participants were told they could leave the study at any time
      • The learner was strapped into a chair in another room and wired with electrodes.
        • the teacher had to give the learner an increasingly severe electric shock each time he made a mistake on a task
          • The teachers were not told that the shocks were all fake and that Mr Wallace was an actor.
      • Shocks started at 15 volts and rose through 30 levels to 450.
        • At 300 volts the learner pounded on the wall and gave no response to the next question
          • After the 315 volt shock the learner pounded on the wall again but gave no further response.
      • when the teacher turned to the experimenter for guidance, he gave a standard instruction
        • 'Absence of response should be treated as a wrong answer.'
          • If the teacher felt unsure about continuing, the experimenter used a sequence of four standard prods
            • Please continue, or please go on
            • the experiment requires that you continue
            • it is absolutely essential that you continue
            • You have no other choice, you must go on.
    • Findings and conclusion
      • No participants stopped below 300 volts
        • Five (12.5%) stopped at 300 volts
        • 65% continued to 450 volts
      • Observations indicated that participants showed signs of extreme tension
        • Many were seen to sweat, tremble, bite their lips, groan and dig their fingernails into their hands.
        • Three had full blown uncontrollable seizures
      • Prior to the study Milgram asked 14 psychology students to predict the naïve participants behaviour.
        • They estimated no more than 3% of them would continue to 450 volts.
          • Therefore the findings were unexpected
      • Participants were debriefed, and assured that their behaviour was normal.
        • In a follow-up questionnaire, 84% reported that they felt glad to have participated.
          • 74% felt they had learned something of personal importance.
    • Explanations for obedience based on situational variables
      • Proximity
        • In Milgram's original study, the teacher and learner were in the adjoining rooms.
          • The teacher could hear the learner but not see him
          • In the proximity variation, teacher and learner were in the same room and the obedience rate dropped from 65% to 40%
        • In the touch proximity variation, the teacher had to force the learner's hand onto a shock plate
          • The obedience rate dropped to 30%
        • in the remote- instruction proximity variation, the experimenter left the room and gave instructions by telephone.
          • the obedience rate dropped again to 20.5%.
          • The participants also frequently pretended to give shocks or gave weaker ones when they were ordered to
      • Location
        • The location of the obedience study was a run down building rather than the prestigious university setting where it was originally conducted.
        • Obedience fell to 47.5%. This indicates that the experimenter had less authority in this setting.
      • Uniform
        • In the original baseline study, the experimenter wore a grey lab coat as a symbol of his authority.
        • In one variation the experimenter was called away because of an inconvenient telephone call right at the start of the procedure.
          • The role of the experimenter was taken over by an ordinary member of the public in everyday clothes rather than a lab coat.
        • the obedience rate dropped to 20%, the lowest of these variations.
          • This suggests that uniform does act as a strong visual authority symbol and a cue to behave in an obedient manner.


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