obedience: situational variations

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  • Obedience: Situational Variables
    • Uniform
      • in original baseline study: experimenter wore grey lab coat as a symbol of authority
      • milgram carried out a variation where experimenter was called away because of a telephone call during procedure
        • role was taken over by member of public (confederate) in everyday clothes
          • obedience dropped to 20%
    • Proximity
      • the physical closeness or distance of an authority figure to the person they are giving an order to
      • milgram's study: teacher and learner in adjoining rooms - could hear learner but not see
      • in the proximity variation they were in the same room
        • in this condition, the obedience rate dropped from the baseline 65% to 40%
      • 2nd variation:  teacher had to force learner's hand on to electroshock plate when refused answering question
      • third variation: experimenter left room and have instructions through telephone. Obedience was 20.5%
        • participants frequently pretended to give shocks or gave weaker ones than they were ordered to
    • Location
      • conducted a variation of the study in a run-down building rather than the university setting
        • experimenter had less authority
        • obedience fell to 47.5%


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