Outline and evaluate one study into obedience. (12 marks)
Milgram was interested in why normal German people followed the orders of the Nazis, leading to their treatment of the Jews. He was interested in whether normal Americans would also blindly follow instructions from authority, even if it led to them hurting other people.
Milgram set up a study where participants believed they were taking part in a learning experiment. Each participant was a `teacher` who read out word pairs to a `learner` (who was actually a confederate). Every time the learner gave an incorrect response, the participant had to give them an electric shock. With each shock, the voltage was increased up to a final level of 450 V, labelled `XXX`. At 300 V, he was silent. If the participant asked to stop, they were told that the experiment had to continue.
Milgram found that no participants stopped the experiment before 300 V, and 65% actually continued as far as 450 V. Milgram concluded that ordinary Americans obey orders even if it leads to them acting against their conscience and hurting others.