why do people obey

why do people obey and experinments

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  • Created on: 06-02-09 11:33
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Why do People Obey?
~ Mailgram's participants were determined to absolve themselves from personal
responsibility. If a person denies responsibility for their actions and says that they
are only carrying out orders, they are in the agentic state. People are more likely to
obey if they are in the agentic state.
~ Obeying orders can result in cognitive dissonance, the `just world' hypothesis can
resolve the contradictions that can be caused by following orders and encourage
obedience.
Why do People Resist Obedience?
~ Reactance can dramatically decrease obedience. It may occur when we want to
protect our sense of freedom. Blatant attempts to restrict our freedom can result in
a `boomerang' effect causing people to do the opposite of what is asked.
~ Exposing people to disobedient models increases disobedience. It may be difficult
to confront the authority figure alone, but the presence of allies allows people to
see disobedience as legitimate.
Why do People yield to Minorities?
~ The majority may experience social crypto amnesia, this is when the majority
remembers the minority idea, but not the minority group - the two become
dissociated. This makes it easier for the majority to accept the idea. e.g.
Suffragette movement
~ In an ambiguous situation, people are likely to look to other for information as to
how to behave, this is called informational social influence. It is likely to lead to a
change of behaviour and beliefs - the ideas become internalised and privately
accepted.
Why do People yield to Majorities?
~ People may yield due to normative social influence, they do not want to be
rejected by the majority and so they take up their behaviour even if it conflicts
with their private beliefs - this is public compliance.
~ In an ambiguous situation, people are likely to look to other for information as to
how to behave, this is called informational social influence. It is likely to lead to a
change of behaviour and beliefs - the ideas become internalised and privately
accepted.
Moscovici (1969) Criticisms
1) :-) This was one of the first studies into minority influence
2) :-( The study was endocentric, as only female participants were used, there has
been research to suggest that women are more conformist that men and so these
findings cannot be applied to males - low external validity
3) :-( The minority group was not a `real' group; they were strangers taking part in
an artificial task. In the outside world, minority groups are likely to be more
committed to their cause, to face stronger opposition and are able to provide

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Also the power/status relationships
that exist in the outside world cannot be replicated in a lab.
4) :-( Clark et al has found that when the majority group size was bigger than 4,
there was a huge drop in influence, this rises questions over the extent that the
findings can be applied to all majority/minority situations.
5) :-( The study was culturally biased, as all participants were American, Smith and
Bond (1998) have found that more individualistic (e.g.…read more

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African) were more likely conform than members of more individualistic
cultures (e.g. American), this means that the findings cannot be universally applied.
5) :-( Perrin and Spencer have called the study `a child of its time' as their more
recent replications have not found similar results, this could be attributed to the
fact that society in the 1950's America was much more conformist than modern day
- McCarthyism was rife, and the educational system were much more hierarchical.…read more

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Ethics: Consent and right to withdraw- people are not usually aware data is being
collected and use of findings
Naturalistic Observations Behaviour is observed and recorded in a natural setting;
no deliberate attempt of manipulating variables is made. No attempt of the
investigator to influence behaviour observed. Used when setting cannot be created
in a lab.…read more

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