milgrams study of obedience (1963)

Pia Ricioppo
Mind Map by Pia Ricioppo, updated more than 1 year ago
Pia Ricioppo
Created by Pia Ricioppo about 5 years ago
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unit 2 obedience social psychology notes on the study

Resource summary

milgrams study of obedience (1963)
1 the method
1.1 lab experiment

Annotations:

  • high in control ( can establish cause and effect) but it lacks ecological validity and is difficult to generalise to real life
1.2 AIM; to investigate whether ordinary people would obey an unjust order from a legitamate authority figure, even when required to injure an innocent person.
1.3 PROCEDURE;
1.3.1 took place at yale university, tested ordinary americans from all background
1.3.1.1 therefore it was a controlled setting (yale)
1.3.1.2 but it only looked at americans so it could be biased.
1.3.2 40 male volunteers told theyre taking part in a study on the role of punishment on learning.
1.3.2.1 the participants were decieved as they were actually being studied on obedience
1.3.2.1.1 this is an ethical issue; DECEPTION and INFORMED CONSENT
1.3.2.2 its also biased as only 40 males were used, no females and they were all white. therefore it isnt a good reresentation of the target population.
1.3.3 participants had the role of the 'teacher' and were told the 'learner' had to memories word pairs the teacher then tested the learner on their ability to recall these.
1.3.3.1 the learner was a confederate
1.3.3.1.1 this is another ethical issue; DECEPTION.
1.3.4 the teacher and learner were in different rooms and the learner would indicate choice of answer using system of lights. teachers were told to administer electric shocks of increasing voltage up to 450v to the learner each time the answer was incorrect.
1.3.4.1 these shocks were fake. this is again an ethical issue. this is not only DECEPTION, but could also cause mental harm to the participant (ethical guideline protection of participants broken) as they actually believe they're harming an innocent person and they may feel guilt following the study.
1.3.5 the experimenter overseeing this experiment was wearing a lab coat. when the 'teacher' began to question the experimenter encouraged with 4 prods.
1.3.5.1 the lab coat gave a sense of authority which made the participant more likely to follow.
1.3.5.2 the prods used were;
1.3.5.2.1 please continue/ go on
1.3.5.2.2 the experiment requires you to continue
1.3.5.2.3 its absolutely essential that you continue
1.3.5.2.4 you have no other choice you must go on.
1.3.5.2.5 this is again an ethical issue as it removes the participants right to withdraw.
2 findings
2.1 all the participants went to atleast 300v on the shock generator.
2.2 65% of participants went to the end of the shock generator.
3 conclusion
3.1 this suggests that ordinary people are obedient to authority, even when asked to behave in a unhumane manner.
3.1.1 this suggests its not only evil people who commit atrocities but ordinary people who obey orders.
4 EVALUATION
4.1 METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES
4.1.1 as its a lab experiment it therefore has low ecological validity.
4.1.1.1 this study bears little resemblence to real life situations as its in a controlled lab at yale
4.1.1.1.1 its artificial and unrealistic as in real life they may be asked to obey orders but not shock an innocent person.
4.1.1.2 therefore this is a weakness as the results cant be generalise to real life.
4.1.2 as the setting is in a lab, participants may have shown demand characteristics and the study may have low internal validity.
4.1.2.1 ORNE AND HOLLAND claimed the participants were 'going along with the act' and the argued that the participants did not believe they were gving real shocks and they were not really distressed.
4.1.2.2 this is a limitation as if this is the case milgrams conclusons are inaccurate.
4.2 ethical issues
4.2.1 milgram broke the ethical guidelines of informed consent and deception
4.2.1.1 milgrams participant did not know the true purpose of the experiment as they thought that the study was investigating the effects of pushiment on learning rather than obedience.
4.2.1.2 this is a limitation as it could cause lasting damage to the particioants and also damages the reputation of psychology.
4.2.2 another ethical guideline is the protection of participants.
4.2.2.1 its claimed that harm could have resulted from the stress of carrying out the instructors orders and harming the learner. the participant ofte trembled, stuttered and showed nervous laughter
4.2.2.2 this is a limiation as theres possible long term psychological effects of learning that they had been willing to give someone potentially life shocks.
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