Explanations of why People Obey



  • Gradual commitmemt
  • As participants gave low shocks, it becomes increasingly harder to reject the order. Shocks are only 15v above one another which shows super graduality... foot-in-door method of persuasion.
  • Agentic shift
  • agentic shift is central to Milgram's explanation of obedience. The agentic state is when the person sees themselves as an agent to carrying out someone's wishes and following their commands. 

Milgram argued people shfit between an agentic and autonomous state. This means that rather than viewing the situation as them doing their own actions, they believe it is of the responsibility of the other person and they are just being the agent for their wishes.

  • The role of buffers
  • In the study, the teacher and learner were in two deperate rooms, with the teacher buffered from seeing the learner. When the learner was in the same room, the buffering effect…


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