Experiments on Authority and Obedience

1112 words (4 pages) Essay in Psychology

08/02/20 Psychology Reference this

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Ever since we were kids, we were taught to follow authority. We were told that disobedience is wrong and we would get punished if we did so. From television to classrooms, it was instilled in us from day one; respect authority. If they are they are above us, they are right, don’t ever question them.  Even though authority is supposed to be there to help us make the “right” decisions, it doesn’t mean we should blindly obey and comply with them. Do what you think is right, not every law or rule is always the correct answer or decision.

The Stanley Milgram Experiment

 

In the experiment; ‘Behavioral Study of Obedience’, constructed by Stanley Milgram, the study reveals how much agonizing pain an ordinary person would be willing to force upon an inexperienced person just to follow orders. Milgram wanted to test the difference between obedience to authority and personal morals and moral sense. The outcome of his experimentation shows us the shocking truth about human nature. In the experiment, the ‘subject’ was instructed to teach the ‘learner’ word pairs. When the ‘learner’ would make a mistake, the ‘subject’ was informed to punish the learner by giving them an electric shock, for each mistake, the voltage would increase. The ‘learner’ would never actually get shocked, but pre-taped audio would play when the switch to shock the ‘learner’ was pressed. If the ‘experimenter’, located in the same room, interacted, the ‘experimenter’ would reply with “Please continue”, “Please go on”, “The experiment requires that you go on”, “It is absolutely essential that you continue”, “You have no other choice, you must go on”, in result, making it sound stricter than the last, for each time the ‘subject’ interacted with the ‘experimenter’. If the ‘subject’ would ask who was at fault if anything were to happen to the ‘learner’, the ‘experimenter’ would answer: “I am responsible”. This gave the subject a relief and many continued. (Milgram 1963) The Stanley Milgram Experiment’s compliance was the dependent variable throughout the whole experiment. The independent variable was an authority’s degree of physical immediacy, only in the first four. Throughout the rest of the examination, the independent variable varied with; the closeness of the learner (the person receiving shocks), the compliance declined the closer the learner was appeared to be, gender differences; it didn’t seem to affect the compliance much, the ranking of authority, and conformity.

Stanford Prison Experiment

Zimbardo built a ridicule correctional facility in the basement of Stanford University. adverts were positioned in nearby newspapers imparting $15 a day for members in this application. Of the 75 responses, the 24 male topics judged to be maximum mentally and emotionally strong were decided on. They were divided into organizations randomly, of 12 prisoners and 12 guards. The organization selected to be the guards had been geared up in ‘navy-fashion’ intimidating uniforms. They have been also equipped with wood batons and reflected sun shades, to save you eye-contact and make the guards seem less human.

In an initiation assembly, Zimbardo, who acted as the warden in the course of the test, informed the guards that the handiest rule was that no physical punishment was allowed. aside from that, the guards have been to run the prison as they noticed healthy, and would be divided into normal operating shifts and patterns. Prisoners, by using contrast, have been wearing reasonably-priced smocks and have been allowed no underwear. They have been to be addressed and answer to, identity numbers handiest. Additionally, they had a small chain around one ankle to remind them that they were inmates in a correctional facility. situations were hard, with handiest fundamental sound asleep mattresses and undeniable food being furnished. The prisoners were informed to wait at home “to be known as” for the start of the experiment; their homes have been raided with none warning, arrested by using the real nearby police branch and charged with armed theft. The Palo Alto Police had agreed to assist with the test. As if they have been real-life suspects, the prisoners have been told their rights and had their mug shots and fingerprints taken. After being stripped, searched and de-loused, they were taken into the cells that could be their homes for the subsequent weeks. Zimbardo, appearing as a jail warden, could be able to examine and make notes about what befell all through the route of the look at. (Zimbardo 2019) The Stanley Milgram Experiment’s compliance was the dependent variable throughout the whole experiment. The independent variable was an authority’s degree of physical immediacy, only in the first four. Throughout the rest of the examination, the independent variable varied with; the closeness of the learner (the person receiving shocks), the compliance declined the closer the learner was appeared to be, gender differences; it didn’t seem to affect the compliance much, the ranking of authority, and conformity.

Discussion

From government and healthcare to earning degrees, titles, and status, authority — and the perception of authority — plays an influential part in our culture. Having knowledge about this potent aspect of human nature doesn’t mean we should stop respecting and listening to authority. However, knowledge is power if you apply what you know. If you are in a position where an authoritative figure is requesting something that feels wrong or appears to be ridiculous, speak up. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

It’s equally important to acknowledge the old adage: what we permit, we promote. A leader alone cannot create vast change. The power of a movement lies in its followers. If you witness someone else being affected or taken advantage of, stand up and say something. Being a silent bystander only permits whatever is happening to continue. It’s not easy to speak up and risk embarrassing yourself or even putting yourself in harm’s way. It’s not easy to stand up for something when everyone else is sitting quietly and turning their heads away. It’s not easy to question authority. But it’s up to you and me to question authority when the situation feels off, because if we don’t, who else will? (Heilbrunn 2016)

Works Cited

  • Heilbrunn, Jake, and Jake Heilbrunn. “Why We Should All Question Authority.” Medium, Medium, 12 Oct. 2016, medium.com/@jakeheilbrunn/why-we-should-all-question-authority-f65fd1d9dead.
  • Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral study of obedience. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67, 371-378.
  • Zimbardo, P. (2019). http://henryliberty.weebly.com/uploads/8/7/9/3/87936894/zimbardo_prison_study.pdf.
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