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Why do people obey? 4 explanations. 1: Gradual commitment People become locked into obedience in small stages. Also known as ‘foot in the door technique’

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Presentation on theme: "Why do people obey? 4 explanations. 1: Gradual commitment People become locked into obedience in small stages. Also known as ‘foot in the door technique’"— Presentation transcript:

1 Why do people obey? 4 explanations

2 1: Gradual commitment People become locked into obedience in small stages. Also known as ‘foot in the door technique’ Once you have made some kind of commitment it is hard to go back on it. Support for this explanation: – Milgram, each voltage increase was a gradual step beyond the previous action making it difficult to back out at any time. – Sheridan and King Puppy experiment

3 2: Legitimate authority This refers to the amount of social power held by the person (authority figure) who gives the instruction Most societies have a hierarchical order with some having legitimate social power to issue instructions. We are socialised in the family and school to obey authority. We may obey because we trust them. Or because they have the power to punish us. Support for this explanation: – Milgram – Hoffling - hospital experiment

4 3: Agentic Shift It is easy to deny personal responsibility when orders come from a figure of authority because it can be assumed that they will take ultimate responsibility. We become agents of an external authority. We forgo out internal authority (conscience) for external authority (authority figure) and become an agent of external authority. Support for this explanation: – Milgram – Hoffling Hospital experiment.

5 Dehumanisation We are more likely to obey and inflict harm on someone if we can distance ourselves from the person being a human. In war people are often seen as numbers/objects. Achieved by removing a person’s individuality e.g. facial features, name, clothes. Evidence to support this explanation: – Zimbardo

6 Task Research all the supporting evidence on the internet for each explanation. Answer the following questions: – Describe the 4 explanations of why people obey and describe evidence which supports/ demonstrates each explanation. – Explain how the evidence supports the explanation.


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