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Outline and Evaluate Research into Obedience

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Outline and Evaluate Research into Obedience There has been two main studies into obedience the first of these in 1963 by Milgram who advertised in the local paper for men of various ages and from all walks of life. He told the volunteers that they would take part in a test of memory and learning and would get paid $4.50 for the hour they were in the experiment. When they arrived at Yale University they were introduced to two people one of which was 'Jack Williams' who was wearing a grey laboratory coat and was to be the experimenter, the other person was a mild man in his fifties called Mr Wallace who was meant to be another volunteer but in fact were both actors. Then the volunteer was lead into a room where Mr Wallace was being strapped in to a chair wired with electrodes. After this the real participant and the experimenter were taken to an adjacent room where the volunteer sat in front of a switch panel which read various voltages. ...read more.


In an ethically correct experiment you should be protected from physical and psychological harm, although they were protected from physical harm as there was no chance of them being the learner, they were not protected from psychological harm because although they know that it was staged they might leave the experiment knowing that they obeyed someone to the extent that they could have killed someone, this factor could have played on their minds and caused them long term mental illness. One good factor in this experiment is that they were debriefed so at least they could put events straight in their mind and not feel guilty about what happened to 'Mr Wallace'. We Can also criticise this experiment for lacking experimental validity because did the participants really believe they were shocking Mr Wallace, the situation can also be described as false or artificial so the participants may have played along with the experiment to earn their $4.50, Although a questionnaire sent out later confirmed that over 80% of the volunteers believed on balance they believed what they were doing was real. ...read more.


Although this experiment is more impressive than Milgrams it still has various ethical issues such as the fact that these staff nurses didn't at any point give any informed consent and were decepted into believing that the voice at the end of the phone was a doctor. These nurses may have also been psychologically harmed by this experiment as they may have killed a number of their patients if no one had stopped them when they did. However in this experiment like Hoflings they did have a formal debriefing which would have let the nurses express any concerns they may have. A good point about this experiment is that it certainly had experimental validity because it clearly showed how an authority figure in this case a doctor could tell these nurses instructions that broke so many hospital rules. This experiment also has a great deal of ecological validity as it is set in a hospital which is very realistic and the characters of nurses and doctors are common in real life. This experiment is much more impressive than Milgrams and proves Obedience in a much more realistic light although they both have very strong ethical issues. ...read more.

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