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Why do people obey?

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Deqo Nur Group 6 ________________ Why do people obey? According the Oxford dictionary obedience is fulfilment with order, request or law or submission to other's authority. From a psychological point of view obedience is recognised as part of human behaviour. There has been much research done on this topic. Some popular pieces of research include; Milgram's study in 1963 and 1983, Hofling's in 1966. We are socialised to be obedient and that it is therefore easier for us to comply with than to refuse to comply. Obedience mainly takes place when you are told by authority what to do, it involves status, power and people with uniforms. As a result the person giving the order is in a higher position than the person accepting the order. We learn obedience from primary socialisation to obey the authority starting with the home where we obey our parents. Then secondary socialisation, in the school where we have to obey school rules for the good of order without question in spite of our own beliefs and standards. Also, there is social control where police orders people how to behave in society. It is the belief of society as a whole that obedience to authority allows society to survive and succeed. Obedience although is essential for society to obey the authority in order for it to remain stable. ...read more.


The prods were firmer each time starting with ?Please continue?, ?the experiment requires you to continue?, ?it is absolutely essential that you continue? and finally ?you have no choice but to continue?. If one was unsuccessful he would try the second one. The prods used suggested that withdrawal was not an option; therefore the participant should carry on. The level of shock that the participant was willing to deliver was used as the measure of obedience. Before the experiment, Milgram posed a question ?how far would they be willing to go?? to a group of Yale University students. They predicted that no more than 3 out of 100 participants would deliver the maximum shock. In reality, 65% of the participants in Milgram?s study delivered the maximum shocks. The findings of the experiment were that of the 40 participants in the study, 26 delivered the maximum shocks while 14 stopped before reaching the highest levels. Although many of the subjects became extremely agitated, distraught and angry at the experimenter, yet they continued to follow orders all the way to the end. (Gross, R. 2003) Under today?s research guidelines we can argue that this experiment is ethically wrong, because the participants were told they had no choice and they were deceived as to the true nature of the study. ...read more.


?To Just 20 per cent giving maximum shock? (D Pennington, 2008). A face to face order has more influence because in Milgram?s study when the experimenter left the room during the experiment the level of obedience went down. The relevance of these findings is that obedience can be defined as submitting to the demands of others, particularly those in position of power. We believe that people in influence have some expertise or knowledge, and therefore we think they know more than us. For this reason we have a higher tendency to defer responsibility for our action to their authority. When it comes to authority figure, people would obey the authority even though the participants were being asked for to do something that they know is wrong. However, Rank and Jacobson (1977) did find that when the drug was a well-known one (Valium) only 2 out of 18 nurses obeyed in a similar set up to Hoflings. (http://www.smartpsych.co.uk/evaluation-of-the-hofling-et-al-1966-study). Hofling demonstrated that ?people are unwilling to question supposed ?authority? even when they might have good reason? (McLeod, S. 2008) Obedience is now declining compared to previous generations, where people had to obey even if it is against their determination. According to Milgram?s study the participants were obeying the authority?s figure even though they were suffering distress. When obeying the authority there is less freedom for the individual. Some psychologists would say that ?it is the situation the people find themselves in rather than their dispositions that best explains their actions.? (www.holah.karoo.net/milgramstudy. ...read more.

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