Obedience; social-psychological factors

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  • Obedience: Social-psychological factors
    • Agentic state
      • feels no personal responsibility for our behaviour because we believe ourselves to be acting for an authority figure
        • frees us from demands of our consciences & allows us to obey destructive authority figures
      • agent is not an unfeeling puppet - experience moral strain when they know they are doing something wrong but feel powerless to disobey
    • Autonomous state
      • free to behave according to their own principles and feels responsible for their actions
      • shift from autonomy to angency is called Agentic Shift
        • Milgram suggested this occurs when a person percieves someone as a figure of authority
          • person has greater power because of their position in a social hierarchy
    • Binding Factors
      • Milgram; why does the individual remains in this agentic state?
      • Aspects of the situation that allow the person to ignore or minimise the damaging effect of their behaviour and reduce moral strain
        • Milgram proposed a number of strategies the individual uses, such as shifting responsbility to the victim
    • Legitimacy of authority
      • we are more likely to obey people who we percieve to have authority over us
        • justified by the individual's position of power within a social hierarchy
      • we learn acceptance of legitamcy of authority in childhood
    • Destructive Authority
      • history shows powerful leaders such as Hitler use their legitimate powers for destructive purposes
      • was shown in Milgram's study when experimenter used prods to order participants to behave in ways that went against their consciences


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