Obedience - What is it?
What is obedience?
A change in behaviour made in response to a direct order by an authoritative figure. :)
NAME THE STUDY WHICH RELATES TO OBEDIENCE AND INVOLVES THE GIVING OF A FALSE ELECTRIC SHOCK.
Then fully describe the method.
Aim: To investigate whether ordinary people will obey to legitimate authority, even when the order is inhumane.
Method: There was only one real participant, and two confedrates. One of the confederates were acting as a participant, and the other was acting as the authoritive figure. The two 'participants' had to be assigned one of two roles; teacher and learner. The real participant was always assigned the role of teacher; the confederate - the learner.
The confederate who was playing the second participant was always a 47 year old man with a false heart condition. CONTINUED ON NEXT CARD
MILGRAM (1963) CONTINUED
Both participants were then separated into two separate rooms. The real participant was told that he must ask questions to the learner through a microphone. If the false participant got the question wrong, then the real participant would have to administer an electric shock.
Each time an incorrect answer was given, the voltage (for the shocks) rised.
THE CONFEDERATE PURPOSELY GAVE WRONG ANSWERS AND WAS NOT ACTUALLY SHOCKED.
The learner began to bang on the wall, and fake the pain when the voltage rose to 300v.
If the teacher asked to STOP, then they would be told to carry on by the 'experimenter' who said things like "You must carry on, it's essential."
65% WENT TO 450v
100% WENT TO 300v
5 PEOPLE STOPPED AT 300v
Ordinary people are very obedient, even when asked to behave in an inhumane manner.
The results could suggest that, as ordinary people are extremely obedient; that some crimes commited by some people may be a result of orders from a figure of high authority, and not down to independent decisions.
Ethics of Milgram's Study
- Deception: the participants thought they were shocking someone, but they weren't. Therefore, the experimenters deceived the participants! They were also lied to about the confederate. The real participant believed that the confederate was a real participant.
- Risk of psychological harm: the study was very stressful, and could have caused psychological harm! :(