why people obey? MIlgram explanations

notes on why people obey, Milgrams explanations using flannagan

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  • Created on: 12-12-12 19:34
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Why people obey?
Milgram devised 4 reasons for obedience-
Gradual commitment- `foot in the door effect' as they had given smaller shocks it became
harder to resist experimenters orders to increase shocks. There wasn't a vast difference
between shock levels making it difficult for the participant to change their minds.
Agentic shift: he called the obedience the agentic shift. The agentic shift is where a person
sees themselves as an agent carrying off someone's wish. He argues people swap between
agentic and autonomous. The autonomous state is where they see themselves as acting on
their own will. When entering a hierarchy of authority they are not acting on their own will
but an `agent'.
Role of buffers: originally the teachers were protected from seeing the learner and
therefore the affects of the shocks, these acts as a buffer from their actions. But when in
the same room, buffers were reduced so obedience was reduced. A buffer explains how
people can distribute WMD's as they don't see the affects.
Justifying obedience: initially they justified their behaviour by saying its required for
science and when wanting to leave they were told they need to continue. By offering the
ideology of science they will give up their actions e.g. propaganda in ww2.
Mandel argues his explanations are oversimplified and misleading especially for the
holocaust. They argue by focusing on obedience they ignore other factors e.g.
anti-semetism. There are also mass differences between the violation of WW2 and the study
e.g. murder. He argues this explanation has negative out comes 1) unjustified conclusion, 2)
offence to survivors as they were `just' following orders 3) exonerates criminals.


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