Social Psychology

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Milgram 1963

Aim:  To find out why people are obedient to authority figures even when it will cause harm to others.

Procedure:   

  • Male participants between 20yrs & 50yrs - volunteer sample advertised in paper for $4+50c carfare at Yale university.
  • Ppts paired with confederate (C), drew fixed lots for 'teacher' and 'learner' role. Ppts always teacher.
  • C strapped to electrodes in another room.
  • Ppts given small shock to see that it was real.
  •  Volts went from 15V (slight shock) to 375V (Danger:severe) to 450V (XXX).
  • Ppts read out pair of words that C had to recall, if it was wrong they recieved a shock.
  • At 180V C shouted he couldn't stand it, 300V begged to be released, 315V there was silence.

Results:

  • All ppts went up to 300V                                65% of ppts shocked up to 450V
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Evaluation of Milgram 1963

  • + Normal jobs, normal men.
  • - Not generalised to women.
  • - Not generalised to other cultures.
  • + Well controlled ( same standardised script, lots, volts)
  • + Valid because of controls.
  • - Low EcoVal.
  • - Deception.
  • - Debreifed when left.
  • + Had RtW at any point and still get paid.
  • - No informed consent.
  • - Cause stress because of results 

 

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Evaluation of Milgram 1963

  • + Normal jobs, normal men.
  • - Not generalised to women.
  • - Not generalised to other cultures.
  • + Well controlled ( same standardised script, lots, volts)
  • + Valid because of controls.
  • - Low EcoVal.
  • - Deception.
  • - Debreifed when left.
  • + Had RtW at any point and still get paid.
  • - No informed consent.
  • - Cause stress because of results 

 

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Hofling 1966

Aim: To see if nurses would obey doctor's orders even if it meant harming a patient.

Procedure:

  • Field experiment.
  • 22 nurses alone on different wards.
  • Hofling disguised as Dr Smith.
  • Phoned nurses, told them to give Mr Jones (confederate) 20 mg of Astroten because he was running late.
  • Astroten label said: 5mg capsules, usual dosage: 5mg, max. dose: 10mg.
  • Giving him the medication would break 3 major rules:
  • 1st: Can't issue drugs if you don't know the doctor.
  • 2nd: Exceeded the maximum dosage.
  • 3rd: Can't administer drugs if not in written prescription or in person.

Results:

  • 21/22 nurses gave Mr Jones the drug.
  • 11 said they didn't notice the label.
  • 10 said they saw the label but wanted to obey the doctors orders.
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