Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.


Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Obedience."— Presentation transcript:

1 Obedience

2 We are going outside grab your coats
Everyone stand up We are going outside grab your coats

3 Definition Obedience A type of social influence whereby someone acts in response to direct order from a perceived authority figure

4 Obedience Why do you think we obey authority?
Can you give examples of situations where we are obedient? Why were you obedient earlier? EXTENSION: Why might it be argued that obedience is important and some ways fundamental to our society?

5 Everyday Examples of Obedience?
Student sitting still and quiet in class when teacher is present. Following the orders given to you by a parent. Doing what your boss tells you to do.

6 Why do you think we obey authority?
Human nature – dispositional Experience teaches us authorities are generally trustworthy We do as we’re told Personality Upbringing We assume people have more knowledge or expertise We don’t see consequences of actions People dislike confrontation We may be scared of consequences We are taught to respect rules

7 What do all of these have in common?
The use of authority that is based in power. .

8 Give 2 examples of when obedience can have a negative consequence?
Without power authority usually has little influence, and therefore the authority figure is of low standing Give 2 examples of when obedience can have a negative consequence?

9 Abuse of Authority?



12 Experiment on Obedience Yale University America
Stanley Milgram (1963) Experiment on Obedience Yale University America ‘Germans are different’ hypothesis

13 Milgram's Questions ... Why do we obey authority?
What conditions foster obedience? What conditions foster independent behaviour?


15 Social Context WW2 ended in 1945
The behaviour of the German people during the the holocaust The Nurenberg trials

16 The article by Hannah Arendt Eichmann in Jerusalem : a report on the banality of evil

17 The Study Aim was to test the ‘Germans are different hypothesis’.
Use of lab setting to ‘scientifically’ understand the variables that create obedience.

18 Milgram’s participants
Stanley Milgram (1963) - Experiment on Obedience He placed an advert seeking volunteers for a memory and learning experiment at Yale University It was a self selecting (volunteer) sample He recruited 40 men between 20 and 50 They were paid $4.50 for one hour of their time (just for turning up!)

19 You can see that a wide range of occupations were sampled

20 Blue ball (1) hat (2) Sky (3) Dress (4)
The Experiment involved 3 people a ‘learner’ a ‘teacher’ an ‘experimenter’ The ‘Learner’ and ‘experimenter’ were confederates of Milgram The learner was strapped into chair with electrodes The Teacher (ppt) was given a sample ‘electric shock’ of 45 volts The Teacher is taken into an adjacent room – exp. about generator Switches: 15 – 450 volts The teacher believes the learner has had to learn a number of different word pairs like ‘blue hat’ ‘nice day’ ‘sharp knife’ The teacher then reads out a list of possible answers Blue ball (1) hat (2) Sky (3) Dress (4) The Teacher (ppt) was instructed to gives electric shocks to the ‘learner’ for every wrong answer The Shock intensity increased each time If teacher was unwilling they were urged to continue


22 The Prods used in Milgram’s experiment
The Learner was heard to be distressed and in pain When Ps no longer wanted to continue they were verbally ‘prompted’ “Please continue (or please go on).” “The experiment requires that you continue.” “It is absolutely essential that you continue.” “You have no other choice; you must go on.”

23 The Learner’s protests in the Milgram experiment

24 At what stage would you refuse to continue shocking the observer?
What percentage of Milgram’s participants went all the way to the end i.e. 450 volts?


26 Estimate > 3% would go up to 450 volts
270 volts heard ‘Screaming’ 65% gave the maximum shock


28 Conclusions Ordinary people are astonishingly obedient to authority when asked to behave in an inhumane way It is not necessarily evil people who commit evil crimes but ordinary people who are just obeying orders. Crimes against humanity may be the outcome of situational rather than dispositional factors An individuals capacity for making independent decisions is suspended under certain situational constraints – namely, being given an order by an authority figure

29 Was this experiment ethical?
What do you think? If you were a member of an Ethics committee would you allow Milgram to repeat this study?

30 Explanations of Milgram’s findings
The most fundamental lesson of our study is that ordinary people simply doing their jobs and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Must look outside the individual. In this way , the emphasis is shifted away from personal characteristics to the characteristics of the social situation. Sometimes an authority makes an unreasonable request and people ought not to obey but they do … why? ‘in certain circumstances the most ordinary decent person can become a criminal’ (Arendt, 1963)

31 Evaluation Lacked mundane realism – set was artificial and controlled
Findings have low ecological validity as they lack generalisability to real life settings Extremely dubious ethics - pressuring, stressful, deceitful no informed consent – right to withdraw May have been demand characteristics Milgram argues that he could not have anticipated how many people would obey Provided an enormously valuable insight into o human behaviour Only looked at obedience in one particular setting Dispositional factors are still important – not everyone obey to the same degree Many participants glad to have taken part in the study – they said they had learned something important

32 Variations of Milgram’s original experiment
In order to gain greater insight into the conditions under which people will obey authority. Tasks Decide whether the result would have been higher or lower than the 65% found in the base-line condition. Try to explain your decision. Estimate the total obedience rate (those who went all the way to 450 volts). Orders given by telephone rather than face to face. The victim was not seen or heard. The participant had to force the learner’s hand onto the shock plate. The experimenter was not a scientist, but a member of the public. Teacher paired with another (stooge) teacher who delivered shocks on their behalf. The victim was only 1m away from the participant. Where another confederate refused to give shocks. The experiment was conducted in a seedy office rather than a prestigious university.

33 Milgram’s results These variations give us greater insight into the conditions under which people will obey unjust requests

34 Cross-cultural differences
NB key aspects of the procedure varied between cultures – therefore difficult to interpret Were the findings in these countries higher or lower than Milgram's’ baseline experiment in the US? Italy Spain Germany Holland Austria Australia All higher except for Australia

35 Influences on levels of obedience
Situational factors Psychological factors Dispositional factors

36 Factors that influence obedience to authority
Proximity of victim – the closer the teacher to the learner e.g. touch proximity study the lower the levels of obedience. Physical presence and contact leads to greater empathy making the suffering of the learner harder to ignore Proximity of authority – Giving instructions over the phone resulted in 23% of participants administering the maximum level of shock Presence of allies – It is difficult to confront an authority alone. The presence of other rebels helps with resistance to obedience. When two fellow teacher (confederates) refused to shock the ‘real’ participant withdrew their co-operation (10% proceeded to 450volts)

37 Psychological processes explaining why people obey
A socially obedient environment – our experience has taught us that authorities are generally trustworthy and legitimate Gradual commitment – the order given by the experimenter moved from the reasonable to the unreasonable, and so it was hard for the participants to notice when they began to be asked to behave in an unreasonable way The agentic state – participants were acting as an agent for someone or becoming the instrument of an authority figure. They then cease to act according to their consciences, with the attitude ‘I am not responsible I act as I do because I was order to do it’ The role of buffers – a buffer is anything that prevents a person seeing the consequences of their actions i.e. participants could not see the victim

38 Dispositional explanations of obedience
Personality: Some people have an authoritarian personality and are most likely to be obedient and also prejudice. Characteristics of such individuals include: Rigid beliefs in conventional values; general hostility towards other groups; submissive attitudes towards authority figures; intolerance of ambiguity Early experience: childhood experiences play a key role in the development of authoritarian personality. Harsh treatment by parents can create hostility in children. This may be repressed. In later life the hostility may resurface and be displaced onto non-threatening minority groups The F Scale: The Fascism Scale (Adorno et al. 1950) measures attitudes of authoritarian personality. Higher scorers on the F scale gave stronger shock in Milgram’s experiment

39 "The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." - Albert Einstein

Download ppt "Obedience."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google