Additional Research to Investigate Obedience

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  • hospital setting, stooge doctor asked a nurse to administer double the daily dose of a drug to a patient- via the telephone
  • 21/22 of the nurses followed the doctors orders (attempted)
  • it suggests that hierarchy of authority in the hospital caused obedience 
  • unethical because nurses were deceived
  • ecologically valid because it was in a natural, real life setting
  • low in mundane realism because doctors wouldn't give orders of the phone and go against the rules 


  • study of obedience from another culture --> administer psychological harm e.g. insults to a confederate applying for a job at a university, lead to believe if the confederate's stress levels got too high they would fail the test
  • control group: insults given at chosen times and could stop whenever
  • experimental group: insults were standardised and prompted to continue 
  • 22/24 were fully obedient and delivered all insults
  • ^discussion with experimenter when prompted to continue 
  • none of the control group delivered any insults 
  • participants seemed more likely to comply with orders to deliver psychological harm than physical --> consequences not so obvious and immediate as someone in pain


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