outline and evaluate research into obedience authority

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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. The participant was told that every time the learner got a question wrong, he needed to shock them.

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Before Milgram conducted his experiment he asked a variety of college students to predict how far they think the participants would go before refusing to go any further. The college students predicted that nearly all of the participants would refuse to obey the experimenter. They expected a small amount of the participants to go beyond 150 volts, and they predicted only 4% to reach 300 volts. The results from the experiment were different to the college students’ predictions, because in the study 65% of the participants went to 450 volts, and all the participants went to 300 volts, and ...

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