Explanations of why people obey

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Gradual Commitment

A subject will agree to do something if they are slowly introduced to the idea in small doses over a period of time rather than being expected to immediately go to an extreme which they would noramlly not agree to doing. 

E.g. in Milgram's study, pp's delievered shocks that increased each time. As the experiment progressed, it became harder for pp's to quit.

Agentic Shift

When a person perceives themselves to be acting as an agent of the authority figure. An idividual may shift from an 'autonomous' state (taking responsibility for their own actions) to an 'agentic' level (they act as an agent for another person rather than acting on their own initiative). 

E.g. In Milgram's study, Milgram claimed that once the…


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