Helen- Q & A's on Obedience & ConformityWatch
1) Outline 2 psy. processes that might be involoved in obedience (3+3)
The agentic state; when a person obeys someone's orders because they feel they are complying to a higher authority such as Milgram showed in his electric shock experiments.
Demand characteristics; when someone does something which they may not agree with, but do nevertheless because they feel it is expected of them such as Philip Zimbardo showed in his 'prison simulation' experiment.
2) Describe one research study which has investigated how people might resist obedience (6)
Milgrams initial study was to show the levels of obedience, but he replicated this study a number of times with varying factors. WWhen the 'experimenter' put the emphasis of responsibility onto the 'teacher' rather than himself, the level of obedience was greatly reduced. This showed that perople are more likely to resist obedience if they feel they are responsible rather than acting in an agentic state situation.
3) Describe how psychologissts have delat with 2 ethical issues that have been evident in social influence research.(3+3)
Milgram's electric shock experiment decieved participants into believing they were giving real electric shocks. To back up this deception, they were given a mild electric shock of 45V prior to the experiment starting.
Zimbardo's prison simulation experiment showed that participants were unduly stressed by the occurances during their incarceration. There was no de-briefing until a few months after the end of the experimant and the participants were not told of their right to withdraw at any time- in fact one participant asked if he could leave and was persuaded to stay, although he said afterwards that he felt he was not really able to withdraw.
Both Milgram and Zimbardo's experiments highlighted the need for ethics within experiments and studies and guidelines were introduced to protect both participants, and any results of the experiments from extraneous variables.
4) 'Part of the impact of obedience research lies in its demonstration of how powerful are the situational determinants in our behaviour. There is no longer any justification for explaining 'evil' acts as being the sole province of 'evil people'. To what extent has psy. research supported this point of view? (12)
Milgram's first 'electric shock' experiment was a direct result of many people in the USA believing that the German people, as a whole, were 'evil people' because of the atrocities which took place druing WW2. Milgram set out to show that the majority of ordinary people could and would both obey and comply when in certain situation.s The study showed that, when participants gave verbal dissent to continuing the experiment, if the recieved either direct orders or when the responsibility was confirmed to be of someone other than themselves, they continued with the experiment; most who were in an agentic state were content to continue giving electric shocks. Additionally, because the 'experimenter' was dressed in a certain 'uniform' e.g. lab. coat & carrying a file, the participants felt more able to take orders from him. This was also confirmed in a later study by Bickman who showed obedience by people taking orders from people in uniforms. The environment also has a bearing upon the obedience rate. When the initial experiment was done in a university lab. the obedience rate was 100% who gave up to 300V, and 70% who gave the maximum vo;ltage. Milgram found throuch de-briefing that participants flet more able to obey because of where the experiment took place. He then moved the experimant to an office in a nearby town. The obedience rate was greatly reduced.
In conclusion, studies have therefore shown that obedience rates depend on a number of factors- and the personality of the participants is only one factor. Indeed, many individuals who would regards themselves as 'non-conformist' have proven that they will obey and conform if the environment lends itself to encouraging it.
(Whew - my fingers are killing me! I'm not sure about how I've answered these questions, as I've not answered any on this topic, so I've no previous feedback to lean on, so owt you can give me would be great - thanks).
Ive had a quick look at it your answers and they seem fine to me. Ive printed them off so I can have a proper look. It may take me a bit as the book Ive been using is packed in the last box to be emptied after my trip home from uni for easter. Speak soon.