- Lab experiment
- Stanardised procedures
- Controlled conditions
- No manupulation of independent variable
- Controlled observations - uses observation to collect data - consisted of max level of shock with recorded sessions.
- 40 men, 20-50 paid $4.50
- New haven area, USA
- Mixed qualifications and occupations
- Volunteer sample
- Participants went one at a time
- Suitable cover story about learning and memory - advert in the local paper
- Lottery was drawn -rigged as all of the slips said teacher on them
- The teacher (participant) saw the learner get strapped into an armchair with electrodes on the head too
- When asked if shocks were painful scientist replied 'there will be no permanent damage.'
- Each participant was given a sample shock to convince them the generator was real.
- To match a word with another word
- Looked, sounded and percieved to be real, alongside 30 switched from 15 to 450volts.
- Any refusal or questioning was met by verbal prods- 'please continue' 'the experiment requires you must continue.'
After the study
- Teachers reunited with learners and told it wasn't real and got debriefed. They were also offered 12 months of counselling.
Results and findings
- Participants showed signs of nervousness - sweating, shaking, heavy breathing.
- One person had a violent seizure so the study had to stop.
26/40 went up to 450 volts.
- 300 - 5 refused
- 315 - 4 refused
- 330 - 2 refused
- 345, 360, 375 - 1 refused.
Evidemce supports hypothesis.
Reasons for obedience
- Prestigous university - Yale
- Worthy experiment
- 'Victim' volunteered to do the study
- Participants volunteered - obligated?
- Participants unclear about rights
Strengths and weaknesses
- Highly controlled observation
- Mudane Realism: due to the shock generator
- Didn't give informal consent
- Right to withdraw was unclear
- Protection of participants
2. Lacks ecological validity
- Artificial setting
- Low in mudane realism
3. Demand characteristics
- Subjects may want to please experimentor
- No women
- No different cultures
Individuals relinquish their personal views and act in agent of somebody else's view under authority good people will do bad things.