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Discuss the argument that people behave like sheep more often than they would like to admit. Support your case with psychological evidence.

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Introduction

Discuss the argument that people behave like sheep more often than they would like to admit. Support your case with psychological evidence. In our society the notion that people are not as individual as they like to think is taken as a negative concept. This is why issues of conformity and obedience theory, which illustrates that social and personal interaction, can and often does influence people's decisions, and these are generally viewed negatively. Individuality is a characteristic which we all process. As individuals we all make our own choices in our everyday life, but what we say and what we do are affected by social influences. From an early age each individual begins to develop a social identity which is "a self definition that indicates just how we conceptualize and evaluate our self". (Byrne 2000). Basically from our childhood our social identity is acquired through our daily contacts with those all around us. Therefore such normative social influences play a major part on our lives and although individuals make choices, these choices are made within the boundaries of society's norms and influences. ...read more.

Middle

The medication was not real even thought they thought it was. Astonishing results once again, where 21 out of 22 nurses carried out this order. They exceeded the allowed dose, from instructions by phone, when clearly they were not to take instructions by phone. This clearly shows that they were easily influenced by an authority figure, but one could also say that they may have trusted the doctor to know better and sometimes a 'doctor figure' you would trust and one would be unwilling to question supposed authority. Perhaps such actions may be seen as 'normal, even desirable because people performed them in obedience to legitimate authority' (Kelman and Lawrence, 1972). People do not necessarily behave like sheep as there is an element of an individually within all societies. A more accurate assumption is that personal surroundings at the time of any given event play a major part in determining people's behavior. This is illustrated by a study conducted by Robert S. Baron Vandello and Brunsman (1996). In this study they showed a drawing of a person and asked the group to identify who that person was on a stimulated eye witness line up. ...read more.

Conclusion

In my opinion this is shocking that people will carry out cruel actions on any order when they are aware that they are inflicting harm on others. But I believe this is all to do with the situation you are in, Milgams study was in a very artificial setting, it had no connection to a true life experience, so the volunteers may not have believed that they were giving electric shocks just because somebody was answering a question wrong, I think that is a bit to extreme, as shocks are a extreme punishment just for an incorrect answer and they may have just gone along with what the experimenter wanted them to do, so it is difficult to conclude from this that people will inflict harm on others because they have been ordered to do so, it is not reflected on a real life situation. Whereas on the other hand when we go to war and we are given orders to inflict harm on others, we obey immediately and this is seen as the correct thing to do. So the situation you are in is a major factor of your actions in both conformity and obedience. ?? ?? ?? ?? Henna M Ali. Dr. Gary Wood 1 ...read more.

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