Aim: Test how obedient naive PPs would be when ordered to administer increasingly intense electric shocks to an innocent victim.
Procedure: Lab experiement at Yale. 40 males age 20-50 selected via newpaper advertisement, paid $4.50. Thought experiment was on effects of punishment on learning. PP introduced to another participant (actually confederate). A rigged draw took place so the volunteer was to be the teacher and the other person (accomplice) would be the learner (victim). PP told the shocks safe - trial shock of 45 volts. The teacher and learner were taken to another room and shown equipment. The teacher and the experimenter then returned to the shock generator. PP was told wrong answer learner was to be given an electric shock. The teacher was told to move one level higher on the shock generator each time the learner flashed a wrong answer.(went up 15 volts each time). No real shocks. Scripted. 315V PP goes quiet. Verbal prompts.
Results: 100% to 300v & 65% to 450V
Conclusion: hat people were willing to shock other people to the point where they would have died because they obeyed the authority figure.
- High experimental validity because rigged draw, sample shock, cries of pain. Believable.
- Low ecological validity because lab experiment, not true to life. However done in inner city office 48% til end. Hofling support.
- High population validity for american males. Female test done also, same obedience.
- Reliable because standardised procedure, all PPs got the same experience so is replicable.
- Unethical becayse PPs decieved, no informed consent, put under stress. However throrough debriefing.
- well controlled therefore avoiding any extraneous variables that may affect the DV
Aim: To examine obedience in a real life social setting- a hospital, specifically what happens when a nurse is ordered to carry out a procedure which goes against her professional standards because she is obeying a doctor.
Procedure: Field study, 3 hospitals in midwest USA. 22 nurses on night duty. When alone in ward, recieve phone call from unknown doctor asked to give astroten (actally placebo) to a patient. Medication was a drug with a maximum dosage of 10Mg (which was shown on the label of the bottle). The doctor instructed the nurse to give a dosage of 20Mg to the patient and said that he would sign the relevent authorisation papers when he arrived in the hospital in 10 minutes time. Observer on every ward that would stop the nurse.
Results: 21/22 obeyed
Conclusion: Accepted orders from the higher authority of the doctors without questioning their judgement. This shows that obedience is commonplace in everyday life.
- High ecological valiidity, field study so natural behaviour.
- High experimental validity because nurses didnt know they were in an experiment, and unknown doctor phone calls were not unusual.
- However extraneous variables could reduce experimental validity.
- Replicable because standardised procedure, script, same drug used.
- Unethical because no informed consent.
- Lacks population validity can't generalise to other areas.
Meeus and Raajmakers Desciption
Aim: Test obedience where ppsychological harm would be done.
Procedure: 24 Dutch pps male and female ages 18-55 selected by newspaper advertisment. During the interview, participants had to make 15 stress remarks. told that the job required people who could handle stress, so the remarks were necessary. The remarks increased in severity. Participants were instructed to make all of the remarks, no matter how much the applicants complained.
Results: 92 % Obeyed
Conclusion: Even in a more liberal culture than that of milgras study, people obeyed an authority figure.
Meeus and Raajmakers Evaluation
- Reliable because standardised procedure so replicable.
- Low ecological validity, unlikely scenario.
- Population validity high, representative of the dutch population.
- Supports Milgrams findings.
Milgrams Agency Theory Desciption
We have the tendency we have to obey those that we perceive to be in authority is an evolutionary mechanism for maintaining a stable society.
the autonomous state: this is when we act as we wish, including how our conscience dictates. we take responsibility.
the agentic state: this is when we surrender our free will and conscience to an authority figure. They take resposibility.
At home and school children are expected to do as they are told and so they internalise the importance of obedience so that eventually obedience comes easily and disobedience becomes a negative behaviour.
Moral strain occurs when we have to do something we believe to be immoral in order to function as an agent of authority to benefit society. The idea of moral strain explains why people in his study showed signs of stress deciding whether to continue or not.
Milgrams Agency Theory Evaluation
- Support from Milgrams own study and Hoflings.
- Doesn't explain individual differences, why some people didn't obey.
- Real life application. Eichmanns testimony. He said he was only following order and did not chose to do what he did.
- We can use it to help stop blind obedience.
Social Identity Theory Description
Tajfel (1970) said that prejudice occured due to the formation of two groups, no other factor has to be present for prejudice to exist.
Social categorisation, this is when an individual identifies themself as belonging to a certain group, they then see people within their own group as their 'in group,' whilst people outside of their group are in the indviudal's 'outgroup'.
Social identification, is when the individual starts to take on the norm values and morals of the group, for example they may wear their groups team shirt. At this stage the individuals self esteem also becomes bound up with the group.
Social comparison is when the individual needs to ensure that their 'in group,' compares well against their 'out group' they therefore make comparisons, that show discrimination that favour their in group and are against their outgroup.
Social Identity Theory Evaluation
- Can explain real world behaviour eg. Football hooliganism
- Support from Sherif et al, boys showed hostility towards each other before competition.
- Simplifies complex human behaviour.
- Useful applications, could use to reduce prejiduce by joining groups.
- Tajfel found that boys who were randomly divided into two groups would rather reward their fellow group members with points rather than the opposing team.
Sherif et al Description
Aim: To see if it is possible to instil prejiduce between two very similar groups by putting them in competition.
Procedure: 22 boys 11 years old, white, middle class were allocated to a group. The boys were transported in two groups to the Robber’s Cave. At the camp the two groups live separately and were unaware of the others existence. They were given tasks to carry out together in order to help them bond. Each group was given a name (Eagles and Rattlers) to further strengthen their group identity. They were then made aware of each other and started to develop prejiduce and fought. In stage two competition was introduced, tournaments with prizes. When prizes were awarded, they were stolen by the other group. In stage three, the groups were brought together, initially to watch films and then to take part in joint problem-solving activities.
Results: A strong in group preference was shown by the boys.
Conclusion: Competition increases prejiduce and discrimination.
Sherif et al Evaluation
- There are likely to be no demand characteristics as this is a field experiment and the boys didn't know they wree being observed, meaning it also has more ecological validity.
- It has a lot of practical applications in reducing discrimination and prejudice, making it more valid.
- It is supported and supports key ideas in the Social Identity Theory.
- Not generalisabe, very specific sample/
- Not very ethical as the boys were not informed in their participation, and they were also in danger of physical and psychological harm due to attacks on each others’ groups.
Football Crowd Violence
- Social Identity theory proposees that we identify with an in group, in this case being a supporter of a particular team. We then categorise other football fans as being members of our in-group (same team) or out-group (rival team).
- We then identify ourselves with our teams by wearing team colours.
- We then compare our team to an opposing team to boost our self esteem, we show in-group favouritism and show out-group denegration. Eg. cheering for our team and shouting abuse at opposing teams,