Factors Affecting Obedience

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The Effect of the Situation

Location

  • Prestigious locations (eg Yale) give experimenters social power as a legitimate authority figure. It may also increase apparent expertise and credibility.
  • Milgram's "Run Down Office Block" variation tests the importance of location. In this experiment, 47.5% of ppts demonstrated total obedience compared to the 65% in his original study.
  • In Milgram's "Yale Basement" variation, he did not find significantly different results, as the experiment was still associated with Yale. 

Research into the impact of location on obedience has probably shown only modest effects because the selected locations hardly undermined the experimenter's authority, whereas it would be a different result if it was held in a slum dwelling.

Uniform

  • In the majority of Milgram's studies, experimenters wore white coats, this implies that they have scientific expertise and therefore increases obedience to authority.
  • In the "Ordinary Man" variation, people obeyed the experimenter more…

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