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outline and evaluate research into obedience authority

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Introduction

´╗┐Outline and Evaluate research into obedience to authority ? 12 marks There are 3 different studies of obedience; they are Asch?s study, Milgram?s study and Holland?s study. Obedience refers to a type of social influence whereby somebody acts in response to a direct order from a figure with authority. In Milgram?s study he set out to investigate whether ordinary people will obey a legimate authority even when required to injure an innocent person. Milgram advertised for 40 male volunteers, the problem with him advertising for volunteers is that the sample may have been too small and biased. His study consisted of 2 confederates, an experimenter and the learner, with the participant always ending up as the teacher. ...read more.

Middle

Milgram?s study contained some ethical issues. For example, Milgram had to use deception. Milgram told the participants it was a study of memory, and they were not told the true purpose of the study, and the participants actually believed that they were shocking the learners. By deceiving the participants this can cause many limitations, for example the participants may not trust him again in the future, because they will never know if he is telling the true aims of the study. Another ethical issue from Milgram?s study is protection from psychological harm. During the study the participants were under great emotional strain. Milgram didn?t realise that such high levels of distress could be caused. After the study, he interviewed participants to see if they found it distressing, he found that 84% were glad they participated, and 74% felt they had learned something of personal importance. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the voice feedback study, the teacher and learner were in two different rooms, and communicated through a voice feedback device. For this study the obedience rate was 62.5%. This shows that the participants were more likely to shock the learner if they couldn?t see them. Realism was another important factor in the study. Orne and Holland (1968) criticised the internal validity of Milgram?s research. They found that participants had learnt to not trust the experimenter because they know that the true purpose of the experiment may be disguised. So they are less likely to take part in future studies because they may not trust the experimenter. Also, the ?distant? reaction of the experimenter may have led the participant to suppose the ?victim? can?t really be suffering, and may explain why so many participants continued with the shocks. ...read more.

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