Obedience; situational variables Evaluation


Obedience; situational variables Evaluation


  • research support
  • field experiment; New York City - Bickman (1974)
  • 3 confederates dress in 3 different outfits - jacket&tie, milkman's outfit & security guard's uniform; stood in street and asked people to pick up litter
  • people were twice as likely to obey person dressed as security guard
  • cross cultural replications
  • miranda et al found an obedience rate over 90% amongst spanish students
  • suggests Milgram's research are not limited to American males but valid across cultures and applies to females


  • lack of internal validity
  • more likely participants realised the procedure was fake due to the extra manipulation - for example the member of public replacing the experimenter
  • unclear whether results were due to the operation of obedience or the participants saw through the deception
  • Smith and Bond; most replications have taken place in Western, developed societies
  • demand characteristics


Milgram's study has research support - Bickman's study supported Milgram's conclusion that a uniform conveys the authority of its wearer and is a situational factor likely to produce obedience. However, due to its lack of internal validity we are unable to identify if obedience was due to the operation or if the participants saw the deception.Research support has also shown Milgram's studied can be replicated across cultures, suggesting it is not only limited to male Americans. Howevever, Bond and Smith found that these usually take place in developed Western societies so it would be premature to conclude that Milgram's findings apply to everywhere. 


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