obedience:social-psychological factors

  • Created by: IvyVega
  • Created on: 22-02-18 17:48
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  • Obedience: Social-psychological factors
    • Explanation 1: agentic state
      • An agentic state occurs when we act on behalf of another person.
        • Milgram proposed that obedience to destructive authority occurs because a person becomes an agent
          • someone who acts for or in place of another
        • in an agentic state a person feels no personal responsibility for their actions.
      • The opposite of an agentic state is an autonomous state
        • Autonomy means to be independent or free
        • So a person in an autonomous state behaves according to their own principles
          • And feels responsible for their own actions
      • Agentic shift occurs when a person defers to the authority figure
        • the shift from autonomy to being an agent is called the agentic shift
        • milgram suggested that this occurs when we perceive someone else as an authority figure
        • This person has power because of their position in a social hierarchy
      • Binding factors reduce the moral strain of obeying immoral orders.
        • binding factors are aspects of a situation that allow the person to ignore or minimise the damaging effect of their behaviour and reduce the moral strain they feel
        • Milgram proposed a number of strategies the individual uses.
          • such as shifting the responsibility to the victims or denying the damage they are doing to victims
    • Explanation 2: legitimacy of authority
      • we obey people at the top of a social hierarchy
        • Most societies are structured hierarchically.
        • people in certain positions hold authority over the rest of us.
        • parents, teachers, police officers, nightclub bouncers, all have some kind of authority over us at times
      • authorities have legitimacy through society's agreement
        • the authority they wield is legitimate in the sense that it is agreed by society
        • most of us accept that authority figures should exercise social power over others because this allows society to function smoothly
      • we hand control of our behaviour over to authority figures due to trust and through upbringing
        • one consequence of legitimate authority is that some people are granted the power to punish others.
        • we give up some of our independence to people we trust to exercise their authority appropriately
        • we learned to accept authority during childhood from parents and teachers
      • charismatic leaders use their legitimate powers for destructive purposes
        • history has too often shown that leaders use legitimate authority destructively, ordering people to behave in callous, cruel, dangerous and stupid ways.


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