Obedience: Social-psychological factors

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  • Created by: Gottowork
  • Created on: 15-05-16 13:56
What is an agentic state?
Mental state where we feel no personal responsibility for our behaviour as we are 'agents' of authority figure. Experience high moral strain, but feel powerless to obey
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What is an autonomous state?
Opposite of agentic state - sense of responsibility for own actions, independent
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What is the shift from autonomy to agency called?
Agentic shift - occurs when someone perceives someone else as higher in the social hierarchy, so have greater power
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What do I mean by the phrase 'binding factors'?
Aspects of the situation that allow the person to ignore or minimise damaging effect of their behaviour, so reduce moral strain. E.g. denying damage, shifting responsibility to victims
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What does 'legitimacy of authority' mean?
An explanation for obedience which suggests we are more likely to obey people who we perceive to have authority over us, justified by position in social hierarchy
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What is a consequence of legitimacy of authority?
Some people are granted the power to punish others - willing to give up some of our independence, e.g. to the police. We learn to accept this in childhood
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What is destructive authority?
People can let power go to their heads, e.g. Hitler, and use it to order people to behave in ways that are cruel. E.g. when experimenter used prods
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What research support is there for the legitimacy of authority?
Blass and Schmitt - asked students to identify who was responsible for harm to learner. Blamed 'experimenter' over participant, so recognised legitimate authority as cause of obedience
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Why is there only a limited explanation for the agentic shift?
Doesn't explain why some people didn't obey, or Hofling et al.'s study where none of the nurses felt anxious when handing over responsibility to the doctor. So can only account for some situations of obedience
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Why are cultural differences a strength for the legitimacy of authority explanation?
In some cultures, authority is more likely to be accepted as legitimate, so increased validity as shows how different societies are structured and how children are raised to perceive authority figures
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What real-life evidence is there that supports the legitimacy of authority explanation?
The My Lai massacre - 504 unarmed civilians killed by American soldiers, can be understood in terms of the power hierarchy of the US Army
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Card 2

Front

What is an autonomous state?

Back

Opposite of agentic state - sense of responsibility for own actions, independent

Card 3

Front

What is the shift from autonomy to agency called?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What do I mean by the phrase 'binding factors'?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What does 'legitimacy of authority' mean?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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