Field experiments- obey

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Field Experiments

Hofling

Study: 

  • Looked at nurses responses to an order from a 'fake' doctor
  • Experimentor phoned 22 nurses who were working alone on wards at different hospitals and introduced himself as 'Dr Smith'  > There was no real Dr Smith working at the hospital 
  • The researcher instructed each nurse to check the drug cupboard for a drug called 'Astroten'  > a fake drug placed there earlier by the researcher
  • He then ordered them to give 20mg of the drug to a patient on the ward 
  • This broke many hospital rules: Nurses shouldn't take orders over phone nor a unknown doctor, the dosage was twice the maximum dosage on the bottle, drug was not on the ward list

Findings:

  • 21/22 nurses were prepared to obey and went to collect the drug to give to the patient

Methodological Issues: 

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