1.2 Summary - Obedience

  • Created by: Osmium_76
  • Created on: 07-01-20 19:33


Milgram's Original Obedience Study:

Procedure: Participants gave fake electric shocks to a 'learner' in obedience to instructions from the 'experimenter'

Findings: 65% gave highest shock of 450V; 100% gave shocks up to 300V; Many showed physical signs of anxeity


Low Internal Validity:  Participants realised shocks were fake; But replication with real shocks got similar results

Good External Validity: Findings generalise to other situations such as hospital wards (Hofling)

Supporting Replication: Game of Death found 80% gave maximum shock, plus similar behaviour to Milgram's participants

Evaluation Extra: An alternative explanation - Social Identity Theory; Ethical issues

Situational Variables:

Proximity: Obedience decreased to 40% when teacher could hear learner, and to 30% in touch proximity condition

Location: Obedience decreased to 47.5% when study moved to run-down office block rather than at Yale University

Uniform: Obedience decreased to 20% when 'member of the public' was the experimenter


Research Support: Bickman showed power of uniform in field experiment

Lack of Internal Validity: Some of Milgram's procedures contrived, so not genuine obedience…


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