Obedience: Social-psychological factors

  • Created by: Jordan64
  • Created on: 24-08-17 16:19
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  • Obedience: Social-psychological factors
    • Agentic state
      • 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 the agentic state is the autonomous state
        • 'Autonomy' refers 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 autonomy figure
            • This person has power because of their position in a social heirarchy
      • 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 victim or denying the damage they are doing to the victims
    • Legitimate 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 at times (e.g. teacher, nightclub bouncer, police officer)
      • History shows charismatic leaders may use legitimate powers for destructive means
  • We hand control of our behaviour over to authority figures due to trust and through upbringing
    • One consequence of legitimate authority is that some 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
    • Legitimate 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 at times (e.g. teacher, nightclub bouncer, police officer)
      • History shows charismatic leaders may use legitimate powers for destructive means

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