Milgram (1963)

Note by , created almost 5 years ago

A-level Psychology Note on Milgram (1963), created by Shadow64 on 12/20/2014.

Created by Shadow64 almost 5 years ago
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Milgram  (1963)SAMPLE: 40 male participants all volunteers who answered an advert in a newspaper.EXPERIMENT: Laboratory  LOCATION: Yale University PRIOR TO THE STUDY: Milgram thought that none of the participants would go up to 450 volts. He expected to have to modify the responses and screams because of participants refusing to go on. He asked students and colleagues and they thought only 2-3% would continue to the end. When people were asked what they would do, none said they would continue to the end. AIM: To test the basic idea that Germans were somehow different from other people, in the way that they were able to carry out barbaric acts against the Jewish and other minority groups. Milgram wanted to test if participants would obey and give electric shocks to someone they thought was another participant. The question Milgram asked was ''How far would they go''?PROCEDURE: Milgram advertised in the newspaper asking for volunteers to take part in a study on human learning. He had a confederate who was middle aged and good looking, the participants thought that the confederate was just another participant. The confederate knew the aim of the study, to act as the learner and who got given the fake electric shocks. There was one real 45 volt shock which the participants received to convince them that the shocks were real. The participants took the study one at a time. The confederate and participant draw 'lots' to see who would be the learner and who would be the teacher, this draw was rigged so that the confederate was the learner and the participant was the teacher. Milgram then assured the participants that the shocks would be painful but there would be no permanent damage. The participant watched the confederate as he was wired up in the chair that would 'give' the electric shocks. There was a machine that had switches that went up in 15 volt increments, and had labels such as 'slight shock' and 'danger' above them to convince the participant the shocks would be increasingly painful. The participant was to ask word pairs and move up one switch each time the confederate gave a wrong answer. The confederate made increasing remarks to indicate that the shocks were becoming painful. The experimenter had a script and if (up to 5 times) a participant asked to leave, then prompts were given that persuaded the participant to continue with the study. RESULTS: 65% of participants continued to the end (450 volts), and all participants continued to 350 volts. Most of the participants thought the study was real, and showed signed of distress and relief when the study was over. CONCLUSION: social influence is strong and people obey orders even when it shows then distress. FEATURES THAT LED TO OBEDIENCE: Yale university is a prestigious university so it would have been unlikely that anything unethical would occur there. The study seemed to have a worthy cause - to learn about memory. The participant was not unwilling and had agreed to take part. The participant was paid and was allowed to keep the money even if they didn't want to continue, so they felt an obligation. It was thought that the shocks were painful but not dangerous. EVALUATION - STRENGTHS: 1. the controlled settings means that that a clear cause and effect relationship can be established. Milgram set out prompts in a set order and the confederate's responses were planned carefully. He made every effort to make sure that every participant's experience was the same to avoid any bias. This means that we can be certain that the authority figure did lead to obedience. 2. The tightly controlled settings means that the study is replicable and can be tested for reliability. Although due to ethical reasons the exact study cannot be replicated, but similar studies that involve giving 'punishments' due to an order of an authority figure have shown that people do obey people in authority, even when it goes against their own moral code. 3. The study has applications to real life because since this study soldiers in the Army have been given more training on their moral rights. EVALUATION - WEAKNESS': 1. the study could not be generalised to real life as the participants were all male and all American. 2. The study lacked ecological validity as the laboratory settings meant that in a more realistic situation the participants may have not continued. There was a lack of construct validity as it is unlikely that people would administer electric shocks to people in real life. 3. There are many ethical problems that occurred during the experiment, and Milgram was aware of this. In theory, he gave them the right to withdraw because the participants could leave, but the verbal prompts pressurised the participants so leaving was very difficult for a participant to do so. He deceived the participant into believing the study was on memory and by pretending that the shocks were real. He gained consent for the volunteers, but informed consent was not achieved because of the deceit. He debriefed the participants and made sure they left in a good state. Milgram allowed the participants to keep the money even if they did not continue with the study. REFERENCES - Edexcel AS Psychology.  

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