Explanations for obedience: situational variables affecting obedience including proximity, location and uniform, as investigated by Milgram

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Original Study: teacher and learner in adjoining rooms (couldn`t see each other) – 65% full obedience This forms the baseline result.

Teacher and learner in the same room: 40% full obedience

The teacher has to force the hand of the learner onto the shock plate: 30% full obedience

Experimenter gives orders by phone: 20.5% full obedience

*by “full obedience” this means the percentage of people that continued until they reached the highest voltage (450v)


In another variation, the location of the experiment was changed from a university to a run-down office block. This gave the experimenter less authority.

Baseline study: 65% full obedience

Change of location to a run down office block: 47.5% full obedience


In the original study the experimenter wore a grey lab coat to emphasise his authority. In one of Milgram`s variations the experimenter was called away at the start of the experiment to take a phone call. The role of the experimenter was taken over by an ordinary member of the public (as played by a confederate) wearing everyday clothes rather than a lab coat. The obedience rate dropped to the


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