OBEDIENCE TO AUTHORITY (Stanley Milgram, 1963)

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10 Psychology Note on OBEDIENCE TO AUTHORITY (Stanley Milgram, 1963), created by melamia97 on 09/08/2013.

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OBEDIENCE TO AUTHORITYStanley Milgram, 1963 AIM: the aim of the experiment was to find out whether individuals would obey an authority figure who was instructing them to inflict pain on another person. HYPOTHESIS: it was hypothesised that when a group of men aged between 20 and 50 were given an order from an authority figure to inflict pain on a participant they would do so, regardless of unethical conditions or consequences.  PARTICIPANTS: the participants were American males aged between 20 – 50 years. They were selected via response to an advertisement, which advertised a study on ‘the effects of punishment and learning’. EXPERIMENTAL CONDITIONS AND KEY VARIABLES: the experimental conditions of this experiment were the commands of the ‘experimenter’ telling the participant to administer the electrical shocks. The key variables were the levels of electrical voltage that were administered through by the ‘teacher’. RESULTS: out of 40 participants, none stopped administering the shocks before 300 volts and 26 participants continued to administer shocks at the 450-volts level. Five participants refused to go on with the experiment at 300 volts when the ‘learner’ began kicking the wall. CONCLUSION: an individual will obey an authoritative figure’s command, regardless is the consequences are unethical. EXTERNAL VALIDITY AND POSSIBLE GENERALISATION: Yes, this can be externally valid and generalised because in the real world we are likely to obey authority figures. E.g in the military. TWO MAIN LIMITATIONS OR CRITICISMS OF THE RESEARCH METHOD: the ‘teacher’ could not see the ‘learner’ and both participants being able to see each other may have resulted in a different outcome. KEY ETHICAL ISSUES: Most participants expressed considerable distress at what they were asked to do.

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