Social Approach- Milgram's study on Obedience

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What made Milgram decide to study obedience?
As he wanted to see why individuals committed crimes against humanity. E.g the holocaust
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What did Milgram suggest about the level of obedience shown in the Holocaust?
Said obedience depended on the person seeing themselves as merely an instrument to carry out someone else's wishes, and therefore they are no longer responsible for their actions.
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What is a situational hypothesis?
Suggested the idea that conditions within a situation determined a persons behaviour, e.g taken orders from an authoritative figure.
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What was the aim of the study?
To investigate what level of obedience would be shown when a PP was told by an authoritative figure to administer an electric shock to another person.
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What method did Milgram use to do this study?
Described as an lab experiment, in a controlled lab setting. Took place in American in Stanford University.
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Why has Milgram's method been criticised for not being a lab experiment?
It has been criticised for not being a lab experiment as it has no IV, and therefore said to be an controlled observation.
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What could be described as the DV in this study>
Degree of obedience which was measured in terms of volts given.
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How was the sample obtained?
Advertisements in local newspapers and direct mailings.
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What did Milgram ask for in his sample?
40 male PP's, ages 20-50 from New Haven, with a background of different occupations, and educational levels.
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what were the PP's told within the advertisements which could affect the type of people who did this study?
PP's told they would be paid $4.50 for an hours of their times, and that they would receive this money no matter what happened.
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What were the role of the two Confederates?
Experimenter- wore white coat, emotionless expression, very stern. learner- mild manner, likable
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What did Milgram tell the PP's the aim was?
said aim was to find out the effects of punishments on learning ( they were deceived)
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How did they decide the roles of the learner (L) and the teacher (T)?
Slips of papers were drawn. it was a fix, confereate was always the learner, and pp was always teacher.
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What happened once the roles had been decided?
Taken to run, strap L into chair, T given 45 volt shock to show they are real (it was fake really, pp's deceived again)
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What was the task which took place?
T reads word pairs to L given 4 options, and has to select the right one, if the L picks wrong answer T has to administer an electric shock
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What was the shock generator like?
It has 30 switches, labelled from 15 volts to 450 votls
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What happened if the L got the word pair wrong?
If the L got the word pair wrong, the T has to give them a electric shock, each time they got one wrong it went up 15v. This was an standardised procedure as L was told to give 1 wrong answer to every 3 right answers.
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What happened when the T had reached up to 300v?
When it reached up to 300v, the L was told to start to pound on the walls, and shout to say it was hurting, and asking for them to stop. Once it reached pass 315v, told to stop pounding on walls, and to stop answering the questions.
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What happened if the L did not answer the question?
The T told to take it as a wrong answer, and shock the leaner again if they did not respond.
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What did the experimenter do if the T refused to go on?
He has a number of prods, which were standardised to make them go on.
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Name the Prods that the experimenter used.
1. 'please continue' 2.' The experiment requires you to continue' 3.'It is absolutely essential that you go on' 4.You have no other choice, you must continue.'
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What were the Prods the experimenter used if the T asked if the L was experiencing any pain?
'Although the shock may be painful, there is no permanent tissue damage, so please go on.' and 'Whether the L likes it or not, you must go on until he has learned all the word pairs correctly, so please go on.'
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Was there any evidence which suggests that the PP's thought they were really given another person electric shocks?
Yes, as many PP's showed extreme nervousness during study, many of the PP's were observed to have sweat, tremble, stutter, digging finger nails into flesh, and other had a nervous laugh.
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What were some of the results from this study?
In total 14 PP's were not classed as obedient as they stopped before 450v, however 26 PP's went to 450v which is enough to kill someone threes times
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What did the PP's feel about taking part in the study?
Felt glad as it opened their eyes and made the realise how much an authoritative figure can effect someones behaviour
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What did Milgram conclude?
That people are more obedient if there is an authoritative figure there telling them what to do, and that crimes against humanity may be due to the situational factors.
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What are strengths of the method used?
PP's gave consent (as it was self selected), very high controlled observation- allows for experimenter to observe clearly, high ecological validty (high in experiment realism as PP's really believed they were giving shocks), Milgram stayed objective
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What are the weaknesses of method used?
ethics- P O PP's they were deceived, debate whether pp's allowed to withdraw, lack of ecological validity(lab experiment) mundane realism (shocking another person)
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What did Milgram say to these criticisms?
PP's decieved as if gave true aims may lead to demand in characteristics, PP's were able to withdraw, and did, PP's had interviews after study, no permanent stress caused, realistic, as authoritative figures found in doctor
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How representative was the sample?
Wanted to test the 'German's are different' hypothesis, so selected Americans,sample so high didn't need to have another culture, only men (androcentric) but has from different occupations/educational levels (make results more generalisable)
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What kind of data was collected?
Qualitative- interviews, observations, provides details for study. Quantitative- numbers of volts PP's went up by, easy to analyse
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What changed could be made to the study?
Having both sex PP's- make it more generalisable, and representative. Another change could be ethics- decieving, tell them aim, however, make result less valid as it could lead to demand characteristics.
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Card 2

Front

What did Milgram suggest about the level of obedience shown in the Holocaust?

Back

Said obedience depended on the person seeing themselves as merely an instrument to carry out someone else's wishes, and therefore they are no longer responsible for their actions.

Card 3

Front

What is a situational hypothesis?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What was the aim of the study?

Back

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Card 5

Front

What method did Milgram use to do this study?

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