Obedience to Authority.

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Obedience to authority involves behaving as instructed, usually in response to individual rather than group pressure. This usually takes place in a hierachy where the person issuing the order is or higher status than the person obeying the order. Obedience occurs because the individual feels they have little choice, they cannot resist or refust to obey. It is unlikely to involve a change in private opinion.


  • Institutional Context: Milgram transferred the experiment from Yale University to a run-down office in downtown Bridgeport. (47.5% obedience - to 450v)
  • Proximity: In the original experiment, the teacher and learner were in adjacent rooms and could not see one another, in this variation they were both in the same room aproximately 46cm apart. (40% obedience)
  • Touch proximity: In the original experiment, the teacher had to force the patients hand down on to a shock plate to administer the electric shock when the learner had incorrectly answered, or not answered the question. (30% obedience)
  • A peer administers the shock: The teacher was paired with another (confederate) teacher and had only to read out the word-pairs (the shock was delievered by the confederate). (92.5% obedience)
  • Two peers rebel: The teacher was paired with two other (confederate) teachers. The confederates read out the list of word pairs and informed the learner if the response was correct. The real pt delivered the shocks. At 150 volts, the first confederate refused to continue and moved to another room. At 210 volts, the second confederate did the same. The experimenter ordered the real teacher to continue. (10% obedience)
  • Remote authority: The…


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