Social Psychology - Obedience

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1. Define 'Obedience'
A form of social influence where an individual acts in response to a direct order from an authority figure, in a way they would not act on their own free will.
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2. Define 'Conformity'
Doing something against ones own free will and unconsciously following the majority.
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3. Define 'Compliance'
Going along with what someone says without necessarily agreeing with it
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4. Define 'Internalisation'
Following the orders and agreeing with the actions
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5. What was Milgram's argument for 'Agency Theory' of obedience?
He argued that people tend to obey recognised authority figures in order to maintain a stable society and that to keep it we have to give up some of our free will, to be able to follow certain social rules. As a result we have evolved two states.
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6. Define 'Autonomous State'
When we are free to take responsibility for our actions, are free thinking, listen to our conscience and accept the consequences of our actions.
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7. Define 'Agentic Shift'
When we move between thinking autonomously and obeying an authority figure. (Introduction of authority figure).
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8. Define 'Agentic State'
A state of being controlled by an authority figure and therefore lacking responsibility for our actions.
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9. Define 'Moral Strain'
Moral strain is our limits/when we become uncomfortable with our behaviour, though we don't want to disobey the authority figure. The feeling we experience when this occurs is moral strain.
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10. Describe 'Evolutionary Theory' (ET)
ET states that we obey in order to ensure survival, as obedience avoids aggressive and confrontational situations, (which we as a species like to avoid). (Also that we obey when it benefits us).
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11. What year did Milgram carry out his original study of obedience?
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12. What was Stanley Milgram's study of obedience inspired by?
The atrocities of the Nazis in WW2 as he was of Jewish decent and the actions of Nazis had a profound affect on him. Only explanation academics could find to explain the behaviours that shocked the public was: 'the Germans had a characteristic flaw'.
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13. Why did Milgram carry out his 1963 study?
Milgram wanted to test the 'Germans are different' hypothesis and see whether peoples capacity to harm others was due to individual character or the situation they were in. (He believed the Nazi soldiers may have been acting under Agentic State).
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14. What was Milgram's aim?
To see if people would obey orders and give electric shocks to harm another person, when ordered to do so by an authority figure.
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15. Describe how Milgram obtained his sample of participants
He out an advert in the New Haven newspaper about an experiment being carried out at Yale University, with $4.50 on offer to those who volunteered to take part.
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16. Describe Milgram's sample of participants
From those that applied, after seeing the newspaper advert, Milgram chose 40 males aged between 20-50 years old, with a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds. All participants were tested individually.
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17. What did Milgram say the study was about in the newspaper advert?
That the study would investigate the effects of punishment on learning.
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18. As participants arrived to the universities waiting room they met Mr Wallace, who was he?
The participants believed he was another participant, but he was actually Milgram's confederate, (and would play the leaner in the study).
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19. Slips of paper were drawn to determine who would play the learner and teacher, however...? (Finish the sentence).
...the draw was fixed so that the participant was always the teacher and Mr Wallace the learner.
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20. Describe who the role of the experimenter 'Jack Williams' was played by.
A 31 year old biology teacher, who wore a grey lab coat and kept an emotionless and stern manner throughout the experiment.
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21. The learner was strapped into a chair with electrode attached to him and the teacher was told the shocks would result in no permanent damage. Each participant was then given a sample shock of 45 volts from the generator. Why?
To convince the participants that the shocks were real in the study. (This was actually the only shock given throughout the experiment).
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22. The teacher was taken to a room next door where they were instructed to test the learner's memory using what?
Word Pairs.
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23. What happened if Mr Wallace, the learner, gave an incorrect answer to the word pairs?
The teacher (participant) would administer an electric shock in 15 volt increments for each incorrect answer given by the learner.
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24. Describe the electric shock generator used in the experiment.
Made to look + sound real. Each switch clearly labelled with a voltage from 15-450V, in 15V increments, labelled slight, moderate, + danger severe shock. When switch pressed lights and sound came on + a blue light labelled 'voltage-energizer flashed.
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25. Participants couldn't see Mr Wallace, the learner, how did they communicate with him?
Via an intercom.
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26. As instructed Mr Wallace gave a predetermined set of answers to the word pairs (3 wrong to 1 correct) and his answers flashed on the board. Describe his predetermined responses to the 'shocks'.
No spoken response or protest until 300V. At 300V he pounded the wall and his answers no longer appeared on the panel. At 315V he pounded on the wall again and after he fell silent.
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27. The experimenter watched the teacher administering the shocks, what did they do if the teacher hesitated?
He would use one of the standardised prompts to strongly encourage them to continue, such as "Please continue" and "You must go on".
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28. Describe what the experimenter considered as a 'defiant participant'.
A participant who refused to continue to administer electric shocks before the maximum voltage of 450V was reached, despite the prompts used by the experimenter.
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29. Describe what the experimenter considered as an 'obedient participant'.
A participant who obeyed orders and administered electric shocks to the learner up to the maximum of 450V.
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30. What happened at the end of Milgram's study? Why?
A friendly reconciliation was arranged between ppts + the learner to show no harm had come to him, to reduce any tensions caused. All ppts were debriefed + interviewed ensuring no mental harm was done + to allow them to leave in a state of well-being
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31. Describe Milgram's QUANTITATIVE results.
All 40 ppts (100%) administered shocks up to 300V. At 300V 14 ppts (35%) defied orders and refused to continue. The remaining 26 ppts (65%) continued to obey orders and administer shocks up to the maximum of 450V to the learner.
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32. Describe Milgram's QUALITATIVE results.
Signs of extreme tension noted in many ppts, observed to sweat, tremble, stutter , bite their lips, groan and dig fingers into their flesh. 14 ppts had nervous laughing fits. Full blown uncontrollable seizures in 3 ppts.
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33. What did some participants try to explain to the researcher in post-experimental interviews?
That they were not sadistic types and that the laughter didn't mean they enjoyed shocking the learner/victim.
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34. Describe Milgram's conclusion to his study.
Results supported Agency Theory. Some ppts explained their behaviour as only doing what they had been told by the experimenter. Concluded that the process of switching between the 2 states (Agentic Shift) often causes moral strain, (next card)...
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35. Milgram's conclusion continued...
... so we often use buffers to reduce tension created between the need to obey and the need to do what is morally right. Lastly he concluded, because we are highly socialised to be obedient, disobeying often becomes more difficult than obeying.
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36. Define 'Dissent'.
Not following a direct order you have been given (by an authority figure). (Opposite of obedience).
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37. What is 'Presumptive Consent'?
Presuming consent of participants to take part in the study. (NOTE: it is a one time ethical issue for Milgram's study only) :) .
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38. Describe Milgram's variation Experiment 7 - 'Telephonic Instructions'.
Experimenter not in same room as teacher, all communication between them was done via telephone. Other than this the procedure was the same as the original. Obedience levels dropped to 23% (9/40).
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39. Describe Milgram's variation Experiment 10 - 'Run-Down Office Block'.
Same as original experiment but carried out in a run-down office block, rather than Yale University. Milgram found obedience levels dropped to 41% (19/40)
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40. Describe Milgram's variation Experiment 13 - 'Ordinary Man Gives Orders'.
In this version the experimenter leaves the room, leaving an ordinary man, dressed in similar clothes to the teacher, to continue ordering the teacher to administer electric shocks to the learner. Obedience levels fell to 20% (8/40).
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41. What did Milgram conclude after his variation experiments?
That situation affects obedience.
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42. Define 'Social Impact Theory' (proposed by Latane - 1981).
Social Impact Theory looks at the attitudes we encounter as we interact with our social environment and how these affect our individual attitudes and opinions.
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43. What is the definition of 'Social Impact' (according to Nowak et al. - 1990)?
Any individual feelings, thoughts, or behaviours that are exerted by the real , implied or imagined presence or actions of others.
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44. According to Social Impact Theory, the impact of others is dependent on a number of factors, describe how the 'NUMBER' of people impacts us.
As the number of people in agreement increases , the social imapct of what they agree on also increases, whilst the individual person's impact decreases. (i.e. the more people giving/following the order the more likely someone is to obey the order).
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45. According to Social Impact Theory, the impact of others is dependent on a number of factors, describe the factor titled 'STRENGTH'.
A message is stronger if it is REPEATED by a lot of people who are all in agreement (e.g. a petition). (i.e. the more an order is repeated, the more likely it is to be obeyed).
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46. According to Social Impact Theory, the impact of others is dependent on a number of factors, describe the factor of 'STATUS AND KNOWLEDGE'.
The message/order will be strengthened if the person convincing is an expert in their field, (e.g. an expert in court such as a judge - likely to obey them).
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47. According to Social Impact Theory, the impact of others is dependent on a number of factors, describe the 'IMMEDIACY' factor.
The message will have more impact if it comes from friends rather than strangers. As we value what they say and we trust them.
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48. One effect of Social Impact Theory is 'Group Polarisation', what is this?
where individuals become more extreme in their views, due to others having the same views. Also gives them the certainty they must be correct in their views and so the overall group view becomes more extreme.
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49. What is 'Group Polarisation' also known as and what can it help explain?
It is also known as 'Risky Shift' and can help explain how attitudes of a group can be different to that of an individual within the group.
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50. Name a negative of Social Impact Theory.
It focuses on the impact of others on individuals and ignores the effect of situational factors, therefore is not a holistic theory, so can be classed as reductionist.
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51. People's tendency to move their individual attitudes towards the group norms can also be explained using the mathematical model. What is the formula and what do the letters stand for?
i = f(SIN) (i=magnitude of social impact, f=function, S=strength of source, I=immediacy of source and N=number of people affected).
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52. What does the mathematical model i=f(SIN) suggest?
Suggests that strength of social impact will be greater if the source of influence is an individual of higher status, close to members of the group (in time and space) and when there are more people in the group.
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53. How can the mathematical model i=f(SIN) help us?
It can help us make predictions about how strongly a social impact is likely to affect an individual.
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54. What will the types of power held by individuals in a situation determine?
The amount of obedience shown by the people in the group.
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55. What will the need for social dominance lead to?
People disobeying orders.
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56. French and Raven (1959) proposed 5 different kinds of power, describe 'LEGITIMATE' power.
Held by those in certain roles, usually those of authority, e.g. the queen or the researcher in Milgram's experiments on obedience.
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57. Describe 'REWARD' power.
Held by those with certain resources, e.g. Milgram may have maintained reward power as he was paying the participants $4.50 to take part.
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58. Describe 'COERCIVE' power.
Held by those who can punish another, e.g. the teacher in Milgram's experiment. (It's about being able to persuade people - e.g. the experimenter in Milgram's experiment used 'prods').
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59. Describe 'EXPERT' power.
Held by those with knowledge, such as the experimenter in Milgram's experiment, who appeared stern at all times and was wearing a lab coat.
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60. Describe the fifth and final power; 'REFERENT' power.
Held by those who are able to win people over with their charm and rhetoric, (e.g. the new leader of the labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, won over his party despite his ideas being against the grain).
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61. What did Sidanius and Pratto (1999) suggest about factors affecting obedience and dissent?
A person with high social dominance (HSD) wants their group to be better than others, so tend to reject the views of others and want their own to prevail. Seeing yourself as a group member means you're more likely obey orders from those in that group
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62. Name 3 other situational factors that may affect obedience.
1 - Reasons authority figure gives to justify people obeying orders. 2 - Watching a peer disobey the order lowers obedience levels. 3 - Peoples past experiences.
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63. Individual differences, i.e. personality is likely to affect obedience. How did Adorno describe 'Authoritarian Personality' (AP)?
Adorno et al. (1950) said that someone with 'AP' is characterised by an excessive and blind obedience to authority and lack of tolerance towards anyone who doesn't have the same respect for authority figures.
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64. Define 'Authoritarian Personality'.
Someone who is likely to submit to the authority of those in a higher position of status and power and in turn behave authoritatively towards those of lower status or power.
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65. Who are people with authoritarian personality likely to exist amongst?
They are likely to exist amongst people who are less educated and of lower socio-economic status.
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66. Authoritarian personality is closely related to the developmental approach, which suggests that authoritarian personality results from what?
Early socialisation - as children we are raised to have moral values, understand tolerance and rules of social interactions, via punishment and reward systems.
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67. What did Milgram find from his studies to do with AP?
Milgram found that those who obeyed had characteristics that fitted closely to the AP type.
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68. Describe 'Locus of Control' (LOC).
It is the way in which we attribute responsibility and assign blame to causes of events. People with internal LOC tend to blame themselves, those with external LOC tend to blame others.
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69. What did Blass (1991) find to do with LOC?
Blass found a link between internal LOC and resistance to obedience in Milgram's studies, as participants who 'defied' displayed strong tendencies for self blame, therefore didn't want to maintain responsibility for harming the learner.
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70. Describe how gender effects obedience.
Doesn't seem to be much difference in men and women's ability to resist obeying authority (supported by Milgram's variations) though female ppts did report higher levels of stress and tension than males, maybe because women tend to be more empathetic
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71. What did a meta-analysis (by Blass 1991) of nine different studies using Milgram's procedure on male and female participants find about gender differences in obedience?
That only one study (of 9,) carried out in Australia, reported a significant difference between male and female levels of obedience - 40% in men, 16% in women (Kilham and Mann - 1974).
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72. Describe Hofling's (1966) study on obedience.
Conducted a study in the USA on female nurses, who received a call from Dr Smith (new doctor), asking is she could give 20mg of drug 'Astroten' to patients so that it could take effect before his round. However, the bottle clearly stated 10mg max.
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73. What did Hofling (1966) find out about obedience levels from the study?
Results showed 95% of nurses were about to administer the does when stopped and questioned by the researcher.
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74. (Cultural Factors): What did Milgram's result of high levels of obedience in Americans lead him to believe?
That obedience is actually a culturally universal behaviour. (Blass's study of obedience around the world also supports this).
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75. Define the term 'Individualistic Cultures'.
Those that stress the needs of the individual over the needs of the group as a whole. In this type of culture people are seen as independent and autonomous.
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76. What did Miranda et al. (1981) find about the obedience of individualistic cultures (e.g. America and Britain)?
That they are likely to behave more independently than those in collectivist cultures, as they are more concerned with their independent success than the well-being of their community.
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77. Define the term 'Collectivist Cultures'.
They emphasise the needs and goals of the group as a whole, over the needs and wishes of each individual. In such cultures, relationships with other group members and the interconnectedness between people play a central role in a person's identity.
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78. What did Miranda et al. (1981) find about the obedience of collectivist cultures (e.g. China and Japan)?
That they are less likely to behave independently than individualistic cultures and that group decision making is highly valued (so obedience is higher).
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Card 2


2. Define 'Conformity'


Doing something against ones own free will and unconsciously following the majority.

Card 3


3. Define 'Compliance'


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Card 4


4. Define 'Internalisation'


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


5. What was Milgram's argument for 'Agency Theory' of obedience?


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