• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Obedience means acting in response to a direct order, usually from an authority figure. Some people have a problem doing this, but if a society is to work obedience is said to be necessary. Many psychologists have investigated obedience:

Extracts from this document...


Obedience means acting in response to a direct order, usually from an authority figure. Some people have a problem doing this, but if a society is to work obedience is said to be necessary. Many psychologists have investigated obedience: * Milgram (1963) * Hofling et al(1966) * Feldman & Scheihe * Meeus & Raaijmakers (1995) Milgram studied how far people will obey authority, even if it means harming someone. In this experiment 40 men volunteered for a study about 'learning and money', not knowing it was actually to test obedience. In this experiment the participant taught an acting participant word pairs, every time they answered incorrectly the participant had to give them an increasing level of an electric shock (the acting participant didn't actually receive any shocks he just acted like he did). In each level there was a title to each shock e.g. 'slight shock', 'moderate shock' and so on. It was predicted that almost no one would administer the highest shock, but most passed that mark, the conclusion of this experiment was that ordinary people obey orders even when they are acting against their conscience and hurting someone. ...read more.


The conclusion to this experiment was in real-life settings authority was high. I think this experiment is much more efficient at monitoring obedience than Milgram's. This was used in a real life environment and is something which nurses were frequently in contact with. This setting gives a more ecological validity and therefore less debateable. Meeus & Raaijmakers used interviews to test obedience. Participants were asked to conduct interviews to test job applicant's reactions to stress. The applicants were really actors. During the interview, the participants were asked to question the applicants with 'stress remarks', designed to give increasing levels of psychological harm. The applicants acted confident at first then broke down as the questions grew more intense. Despite the psychological difficulties the applicants were facing most participants asked all of the questions. In conclusion more people were prepared to inflict psychological harm in this realistic situation. I don't think this experiment was totally loyal to the 'realistic' value it was given, its not likely to go to an interview to suffer from such harsh questions, once again I believe the personality of the person is at influence over the results but not as intensely as in Milgram's experiment. ...read more.


Thus proving my point on Milgram's study, that people are less susceptible to inflicting shocks, depending on other people's perceptions on them who are there to watch their actions. I think that conformity is a big issue with obedience of different people. Apart from the above experiments there are many different fields to monitor an individual obedience level. If a society makes rules on how to live there is usually a select majority of that group who think differently and go from their own perceptions and views. People not conforming to rules isn't usually a bad thing, depending on people judging them. The biggest issues of conformity and obedience to those rules are put into social circles. The vast majority of people need to have rules to follow and a social crowd to fit into, they can't cope being singled out as a non conformer as they see this as a very bad thing. The minority of people just do as they wish careless to weather they fit in with a specific crowd or not. The human psychological mind craves to be accepted and will obey those of their social groups orders in order not to be singled out to a non conformist. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Social Psychology essays

  1. The Concepts Of Conformity And Obedience

    His 'teacher' participants were told to deliver electric shocks of increasing intensity when the 'learner' subject who was out of sight in another room, made an error in a task. Shocks would range form 15-450 volts. The shock buttons were labelled from 'slight shock' up to 'danger: severe shock ' at the top of the scale.

  2. Describe what psychologists know about leadership.

    Fiedler's contingency theory (1967) looks at the interaction between leadership style and the degree of control and influence given to the leader by the work situation. By means of the LPC measure, Fiedler determined whether the leader was task- or relationship-oriented by examining how harshly or leniently the leader has rated their least preferred co-worker on bipolar adjective rating scales.

  1. Free essay

    Challenges facing Youths

    Education System There is need for re-structuring of the education system, so as to minimize competition and rivalry and thereby reduce feelings of marginalisation and exclusion among low achievers. Also, there is need for reform of the curriculum so as to include universally desirable values that are necessary for producing well rounded, balanced and useful citizens.

  2. Theories On Obedience

    Milgrams study is also supported by others such as Hoffling et al, this was similar to Milgrams study but applied to a real life situation where nurses were asked to administer a potentially dangerous dose of medicine by a ' doctor ', 95% of the nurses were willing to carry out this instruction, which supports Milgram.

  1. Conformity - psychologists view

    Within both experiments, social norms emerge as a core factor, and clearly swayed the individual to harmonize with the rest, due to informational conformity, this usually occurs when there is a lack of knowledge as an individual and they look for group guidance.

  2. Psychology Questions Ansewered

    The persons who helped were observed without their knowledge. For milgram you know by heart. (b) Give two reasons supporting the use of deception in your chosen study and two reasons against the use of deception in your chosen study.

  1. Conformity and Obedience

    As the real reason was to test whether people would obey authority the researcher had some verbal prods to push the participants further when they started to feel anxious, as well as this pre recorded messages were to be played by Mr Wallace as the shocks grew more intense.

  2. Analysis of the Milgram obedience experiment.

    Some questioned the experiment, but many were encouraged to go on and told they would not be responsible for any results. If at any time the subject indicated his desire to halt the experiment, he was told by the experimenter, Please continue.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work