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Outline and evaluate explanations of obedience

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´╗┐Outline and evaluate explanations of obedience There are several proposed explanations of obedience that can be separated into two sub categories, situational factors and individual factors. Legitimate authority is one explanation of attachment and it refers to the people that appear to have power or authority. For instance, a person wearing a uniform may seem to have authority and for this reason a person may choose to obey them as shown in Bickman (74). Bickman directly tested the effect of a uniform in his field experiment in New York in which he asked passersby to pick up a piece of litter, stand the other side of a stop side or give a stranger money. Half of the time the person giving the order was dressed in a security guard?s uniform and the rest of the time in street clothes. ...read more.


For instance in Milgram?s study the shocks were administered at 15 volt intervals and started from 15 and worked their way up. By committing the participants in small stages this established a basis for obedience and as each shock only a small amount larger than the previous one it made it difficult for the participant to back out at any time. This therefore made it very difficult for his participants to obey. Individual factors take into account that personality type plays a role in obedience. It has been speculated that some people are born with a tendency to be passive whereas some are more likely to be dominant. Adorno in 1950 developed the idea of an authoritarian personality, which describes the former type of person. He stated that those with an authoritarian personality are more likely to obey, due to their passive nature. ...read more.


what was researched in Hofling?s experiment, where 21 out of 22 nurses were going to follow the instructions of a bogus doctor. The explanations are deterministic because ultimately we are autonomous beings and still have the freewill to choose whether to obey or not. Although these explanations might increase the chance of obedience the final decision to obey or not always lies with the person in question. Even if it is rooted in someone?s personality to be passive, they can still choose not to obey, the decision would just be harder due to their personality type than it would be for someone without an authoritarian personality. The individualistic explanation could fall either side in the nature vs. nurture debate. Your personality could have been dictated by your genes, and therefore could be responsible for someone being the type of person to obey. Or alternatively you could be shaped and nurtured into being an authoritarian person through your parents and society. ...read more.

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