2 We are going outside grab your coats Everyone stand upWe are going outside grab your coats
3 DefinitionObedienceA 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 andsome 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 – dispositionalExperience teaches us authorities are generally trustworthyWe do as we’re toldPersonalityUpbringingWe assume people have more knowledge or expertiseWe don’t see consequences of actionsPeople dislike confrontationWe may be scared of consequencesWe 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 standingGive 2 examples of when obedience can have a negative consequence?
12 Experiment on Obedience Yale University America Stanley Milgram (1963)Experiment on ObedienceYale University America‘Germans are different’ hypothesis
13 Milgram's Questions ... Why do we obey authority? What conditions foster obedience?What conditions foster independent behaviour?
14 BACKGROUND MILGRAM: JEWISH 1961 : 25 YEARS AFTER THE END OF WW2 OBEDIENCE MAY BE DEEPLY INGRAINEDARE THE GERMANS DIFFERENT ?
15 Social Context WW2 ended in 1945 The behaviour of the German people during the the holocaustThe 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 ObedienceHe placed an advert seeking volunteers for a memory and learning experiment at Yale UniversityIt was a self selecting (volunteer) sampleHe recruited 40 men between 20 and 50They 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 peoplea ‘learner’ a ‘teacher’ an ‘experimenter’The ‘Learner’ and ‘experimenter’ were confederates of MilgramThe learner was strapped into chair with electrodesThe Teacher (ppt) was given a sample ‘electric shock’ of 45 voltsThe Teacher is taken into an adjacent room – exp. about generatorSwitches: 15 – 450 voltsThe 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 answersBlue ball (1) hat (2) Sky (3) Dress (4)The Teacher (ppt) was instructed to gives electric shocks to the ‘learner’ for every wrong answerThe Shock intensity increased each timeIf 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 painWhen 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?
25 PRIOR PREDICTIONS PSYCHIATRISTS MIDDLE CLASS ADULTS STUDENTS 120 v
26 Estimate > 3% would go up to 450 volts 270 volts heard ‘Screaming’65% gave the maximum shock
27 REACTION OF PARTICIPANTS SIGNS OF TENSION14 NERVOUS LAUGHTER3 HAD Hysterical SIEZURESSIGHS OF RELIEF, MOPPED THEIR BROW etc.SOME REMAINED CALM THROUGHOUT
28 ConclusionsOrdinary people are astonishingly obedient to authority when asked to behave in an inhumane wayIt 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 factorsAn 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 settingsExtremely dubious ethics - pressuring, stressful, deceitful no informed consent – right to withdrawMay have been demand characteristicsMilgram argues that he could not have anticipated how many people would obeyProvided an enormously valuable insight into o human behaviourOnly looked at obedience in one particular settingDispositional factors are still important – not everyone obey to the same degreeMany 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 whichpeople will obey authority.TasksDecide 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 resultsThese 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 betweencultures – therefore difficult to interpretWere the findings in these countries higher or lowerthan Milgram's’ baseline experiment in the US?ItalySpainGermanyHollandAustriaAustraliaAll higher except for Australia
35 Influences on levels of obedience Situational factorsPsychological factorsDispositional 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 ignoreProximity of authority – Giving instructions over the phone resulted in 23% of participants administering the maximum level of shockPresence 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 legitimateGradual 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 wayThe 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 ambiguityEarly 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 groupsThe 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