Social Influence


Social Influence

Sherif (1935) - Autokinetif effect

Asch ((1951) - Lines (32% gave a wrong answer, 74% conformed at least once) (Control = 0.7% error rate)

Milgram - (65% went to 450V)

  • Moved to seedy offices - 47.5%
  • Teacher and learner in same room - 40%
  • Teacher had to force learners hand onto electric plate - 30%
  • Teacher given support from two other teachers who dissented - 10%
  • Teacher paired with assistant (confederate who threw the switches) - 92.5%
  • Experimenter instructs and prods teacher by telephone from another room - 20.5%

Follow up questionaire - 56% fully believed the shocks were real, 2% were certain the shocks were not real

In a later trial where 40 females were used, there was a 65% obedience rate for 450V, the same as in the male trials

Explanations of why people obey

Personality - Authoritarian personality identified by Adorno in 1950

Legitimate Authority - Displayed in Milgram's study when moved to a seedy, run down office block obedience dropped to 47.5%

Gradual Commitment - Displayed by a variation of Milgram's study - When Milgram went stright from 15V to 450V, obedience dropped to 10%

The Agentic Shift - Displayed by a variation of Milgrams study - When p's were told the experimenter would take responsibility for the learner and a confederate threw the switches, obedience rose to 92.5%

Locus of Control (Rotter - 1966)

  • African-American college students who participated in civil rights movements in the early 1960's were higher on internal LOC than those who were not interested in participating
  • Holland (1967) investigated the relationship between LOC and obedient behaviour and found no association. However, the data from this study has been re-analysed using more sophisticated statistical tess by Blass (1991). He found those with an internal LOC were more likely to resist pressures to obey. Blass concludes that…


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