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Milgram's Obedience Studies

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Presentation on theme: "Milgram's Obedience Studies"— Presentation transcript:

1 Milgram's Obedience Studies
Independent Variables Dependent Variable(s)

2 Milgram's Obedience Studies
Independent Variables Dependent Variable(s) Level of obedient behaviour (defined by shock level reached)

3 Milgram's Obedience Studies
Independent Variables Dependent Variable(s) Level of obedient behaviour (defined by shock level reached) Degree of proximity between experimenter and subject (teacher) Degree of proximity between subject (teacher) and learner (confederate) Behavior of co-teachers (confederates) -- obedient, defiant Degree of prestige of the research setting (low, high)

4 Blass (1999) In one study with female participants, Milgram found the same level of obedience, compared to male participants (65% fully obedient). In 8/9 other similar studies, there were no gender differences. It has been found, however, that females tend to report higher levels of tension compared to males.

5 Nature of Authority in Milgram's Obedience Research
Milgram: the experimenter represented a legitimate authority (one who has the right to issue commands). Others have suggested that the experimenter is an expert authority (someone with an expertise, rather than being in charge). Blass (1999) concluded that both types of authority may apply.

6 Are There Generational Changes in the Level of Obedience Observed?
In studies from 1963 to 1985, there was no change in levels of obedience observed in terms of when the studies were carried out.

7 Burger (2007) In conjunction with ABC News’ Primetime, the method of the Milgram baseline condition was replicated to a large extent. In his article, Burger discussed the elaborate procedures for gaining ethical approval for his study.

8 For example, the procedure was stopped after the 150-volt level was reached.
This is when the learner is first heard to protest. In Milgram’s original study, 79% of the participants who went past the 150-volt level went all the way to the 450-volt level. In addition, he incorporated an elaborate screening process to eliminate participants who might have a negative reaction to the experience. Furthermore, participants were told at least three times that they could withdraw from the study at any time and still receive the $50.00.

9 Results: About the same levels of obedience as the original Milgram study

10 Experimental realism:
Mundane realism: Degree to which an experiment is superficially similar to everyday situations. Experimental realism: Degree to which an experiment absorbs and involves its participant

11 Milgram’s experiment was again repeated — this time as part of the BBC documentary “How violent are you?” first shown in May 2009.  It’s another remarkable rendition.  Of the 12 participants, only 3 refused to continue to the end of the experiment.  

12 Zimbardo Prison Simulation Study
Independent Variable(s) Dependent Variable(s)

13 Zimbardo Prison Simulation Study
Independent Variable(s) Dependent Variable(s) Position assigned to: Guard or prisoner

14 Haney, C. , & Zimbardo, P. (1998). The past and future of U. S
Haney, C., & Zimbardo, P. (1998). The past and future of U.S. prison policy: Twenty-five years after the Stanford Prison Study. American Psychologist, 53, Otherwise emotionally strong college students who were randomly assigned to be mock prisoners suffered acute psychological trauma and breakdowns. Some of the students begged to be released ……whereas others adapted by becoming blindly obedient to the unjust authority of the guards.

15 Many of the guards, seemingly gentle and caring young men, soon began mistreating their peers (prisoners) and were indifferent to the obvious suffering that their actions produced. Several of them devised sadistically inventive ways to harass and degrade the prisoners and none of the less actively cruel guards ever intervened or complained about the abuses they witnessed. Most of the worst treatment came on the night shifts (in the absence of the research team).

16 The experience dramatically and painfully transformed most of the participants in ways we did not anticipate, prepare for, or predict.

17 From Myers and Spencer Role: a set of norms that define how people in a given social position ought to behave Norms: rules for accepted and expected behaviour

18 From Roger Brown -- two schools of acting:
with deliberate technique and some emotional detachment. 2) by living the part.

19 Reicher, S. & Haslam, S.A. (2006). Rethinking the psychology of tyranny: The BBC prison study. British Journal of Social Psychology, 45, 1-40. Study conducted in December, 2001. Potential participants answered advertised requests and went through 3-phase clinical, medical, and background screening to ensure that they were neither psychologically vulnerable nor liable to put others at risk.

20 Selected Participants
Participants were randomly assigned to be a guard (5) or a prisoner (10). Study lasted for 8 days.

21 Participants signed a comprehensive consent form
Participants signed a comprehensive consent form. Amongst other things, this informed them that they may be subject to a series of factors - including physical and psychological discomfort, confinement, constant surveillance and stress. Two independent clinical psychologists monitored the study throughout, and had the right to see any participant at any time or to demand that any participant be removed from the study. A paramedic was on constant standby in case of illness or injury.

22 On-site security guards were provided with detailed protocols clarifying when and how to intervene in cases of dangerous behaviours by participants. An independent 5-person ethics committee - chaired by a British Member of Parliament – monitored the study throughout. This committee had the right to demand changes to the study's set-up or to terminate it at any time.

23 Results In the beginning, the guards failed to identify as a group and work together collectively. After day 3 (at which point a prisoner had been “promoted” to be a guard), the prisoners began to increase their identity as a group and began to challenge the guards. The guards, apparently, were never able to agree on what behavior and what rules in dealing with prisoners were appropriate. The power of the guards began to collapse. Later, the participants decided to continue as a collective, but began to experience internal dissent.

24 The Possible Role of Personality
Some Conclusions The researchers suggested that “their findings concerning reactions to inequality cannot be explained though a general or natural tendency to assume roles and assert power.” The Possible Role of Personality To some extent, at least, the outcome was a product of strong (and weak) personalities. And, as it happened, more prisoners appeared to have these strong personalities. In particular, three of these “powerful” prisoners were able “to overwhelm the guards and then, as they grew bored of the commune, to destroy it in turn.”

25 Stanford Prison Experiment — Zimbardo
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