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Observation of people obeying temporary signs.

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Sam Woodbridge

Psychology Coursework –

Observation of people obeying temporary signs.


Milgram’s work showed that when people are put in a situation where they have to obey orders given by an authority figure, they will do so, even if the task goes against their ethical beliefs. I wanted to observe the obedience of pupils when reading an order on a sign when written by either an authority figure or another pupil.

Research aim:

To find out if people will obey temporary signs on a drink vending machine in a Sixth Form common room, written by an authority figure and a school pupil.


Pupils will obey the sign written by an authority figure and disobey the sign when written a school pupil.

Null Hypothesis:

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Table 1.1

No Sign

Signed by Sixth Form Pupil

Signed by Head of

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Figure 1.1 is a representation of the data in Table 1.1.


From my data, I can conclude that pupils obeyed the Head of Sixth Form more. This is because the Head of Sixth form is viewed as an authority figure, and is therefore more likely to be obeyed. This agrees with Milgram’s study, as authority figures are more likely to be obeyed than people of equal status. I would therefore accept my original hypothesis and reject my null hypothesis.


The observation was a success, as I gained the results I expected. However, I did not observe the ethical guidelines, as the people being observed did not give their consent. However it must be recognised that if they had been informed beforehand of the observation taking place, their actions would have been different and the results would not have been relevant.

...read more.

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