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Reading: Hock 40- Obey At Any Cost?

by: Brianda Hickey

Reading: Hock 40- Obey At Any Cost? APSY.UE.0002

Marketplace > NYU School of Medicine > Psychlogy > APSY.UE.0002 > Reading Hock 40 Obey At Any Cost
Brianda Hickey

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A detailed summary of Reading 40 within Forty Studies That Changed Psychology by Roger R. Hock. To find more information, reference the book. The underlined headings used correspond with those in t...
Adina Schick,
Class Notes
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Brianda Hickey on Monday May 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to APSY.UE.0002 at NYU School of Medicine taught by Adina Schick, in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 32 views. For similar materials see INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY AND ITS PRINCIPLES in Psychlogy at NYU School of Medicine.

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Date Created: 05/02/16
Reading: Hock 40- Obey At Any Cost? Researcher: Stanley Milgram Examined the idea of obedience to authority Milgram believed that in some situations, the human tendency to obey is so deeply ingrained and powerful that it cancels out a person’s ability to behave morally, ethically, or even sympathetically Theoretical Proposition Milgram believed: Humans have a tendency to obey other people who are in a position of authority over them even if, in obeying, they violate their personal codes of moral and ethical behavior Individuals who would never intentionally cause someone physical harm would inflict pain on a victim if ordered to do so by a person whom they perceived to be powerful authority figure Method Milgram Designed a shock generator: an electric device with 30 toggle switches labeled with voltage levels starting at 30 volts and increasing by 15-volt intervals up to 450 volts Switches labeled: Slight shock, moderate shock, danger:severe shock A participant could be ordered to administer electric shocks at increasing levels to another person Participants:A confederate (47 year old accountant) posed as another participant 40 males between the ages of 20 and 50 Paid $4.50 (worth about $30 today) Told that their payment was simply for coming to the laboratory, and it was theirs to keep no matter what happened after they arried An actor (gray lab coat, official looking) posed as an experimenter As each participant arrived at the social interaction laboratory at Yale, each was seated next to another “participant” (the confederate) A cover story was told: The study was on the effect of “punishment on learning” Drawing a piece of paper out of a hat to determine who would be the teacher and who would be the learner The participant = always the teacher The accomplice = the learner The learner was taken into the room next door and (as the participant watched) strapped to a chair and wired with electrodes connected to the shock generator in the adjoining room Able to reach four buttons marked a,b,c,d to answer questions posed by the teacher from the next room The teacher-participant would read the list of word pairs and then test te learner’s memory of them Teacher was instructed by the experimenter to administer an electric shock each time the learner responded incorrectly  & move up one level of shock voltage on the generator The learner-confederate’s responses were preprogrammed - same for each participant As the amount of voltage increased, the learner began to shout his discomfort from the other room At 300-volt level, he pounded on the wall and demanded to be let out After 300 volts - he became completely silent and refused to answer any more questions Teacher was instructed to treat lack of response as an incorrect response and continue Most participants turned to experimenter for guidance on whether to continue shocking:30 switches on generator = each participant would receive a score of 0 to 30. The experimenter ordered the participant to continue in a series of commands increasing in severity Command1: Please Continue Command 2: The experiment requires that you continue Command 3: It is absolutely essential that you continue Command 4: You have no other choice: You must go on. Obedient Subjects: Participants who went all the way to the top of the scale Defiant Subjects: Participants who broke off at any point before administering the top shock Results Every participant continued at least to the 300-volt level When the confederate banged on the wall to be let out and stopped answering 14 participants defied orders 26 of 40 participants (65%) followed the experimenter’s orders and proceeded to the top of the shock scaleTo help alleviate lasting anxiety: after the experiment, the participants received a full explanation of the true purpose of the study and all of the procedures Many exhibited signs of extreme stress and concern for the man receiving the shocks and even became angry at the experimenter - yet they obeyed Two Key Observations: The surprising strength of the participants’ tendency to obey Experimenter had no power to enforce his orders, and participants would lose nothing by refusing to go on The extreme tension and anxiety manifested by the participants as they obeyed the experimenter’s commands Discussion Milligram’s discussion of his findings focused on two main points the surprising strength of the participants’ tendency to obey  from childhood these participants had learned that it is immoral to hurt others against their will ­ why did they behave this way? The experimenter (position of authority) had no real power The situation carried a force of its own that somehow created an atmosphere of obedience the extreme tension and anxiety manifested by the participants as they obeyed the experimenter’s command A mature business man…within 20 min he was reduced to a twitching, stuttering wreck who was rapidly approaching a point of nervous collapse Points that attempt to explain why this particular situation produced such a high degree of obedience e sponsored by Yale ­ must be in good hands they’re paying me money for this, I’d better do my job  the learner also voluntarily cam here and he has an obligation to the project too  Significant of Findings In other experiments - Milgram found that the physical, and therefore emotional, distance of the victim from the teacher altered the amount of obedience Highest level of obedience (93%) occurred when the learner was in another room and could not be seen or heard  Lowest level of obedience (30%) occurred when the participant was required to force the learner;s hand onto a shock plate  Physical distance of the authority figure to the participant influenced obedienceWhen participants were allowed to punish the learner by using any level of shock they wished, no one ever passed any switch higher than 45 volts closer the experimenter = greater the obedience Criticism Unacceptable levels of stress were created in the participants during the experiments The potential for lasting negative effects existed Because the participants had a trusting and rather dependent relationship with he experimenter, and the laboratory was an unfamiliar setting, obedience found there did not represent obedience in real life In response     Milgram surveyed participants a psychiatrist interviewed 40 of the participants who were judged to have been the most uncomfortable in the laboratory and concluded that none had suffered any long­term effects 84% were glad to have participated 1% regretted the experience  Recent Applications Thomas Blass has reviewed all the research and social implications stemming from Milgram's obedience studies universal support for Milgram's original findings obedience rates have not changed significantly during the 40­plus years since Milgram first published his findings  found no difference in obedience rates for males versus females Examined the psychological experience of "execution teams" charged with carrying out the death sentence in Louisiana State prison interviewed 50 correctional officers who were directly involved with executions Found participants not to be clinically depressed Reported relying on religious beliefs, identification with their peer group, and their ability to diffuse responsibility to deal with painful emotions  A study employed Milgram's research in examining potentially thorny ethical issues for social science research conducted via the Internet Researchers must be alert to potential ethical violations relating to invasion of privacy, obtaining informed consent, and using deceptive tactics online A study by Wendler suggested that participants in studies involving deceptions be given an increased level of "informed consent" inform participants of the study's intention to use deception before they agree to be a participant in the experiment, although they would not be aware of the exact nature of the deception


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