Outline and Evaluate Research Into Obedience

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By mayapop3
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Obedience is complying with an order from another person to carry out an action. Many studies have been conducted into looking at obedience in people and what factors in a certain situation lead people to obey.
In 1963, Milgram carried out a study among 40 American males between the ages of 20 and 50 years old, with the study aim being wanting to find out under what conditions would different people obey to authority under. The participants were deceived into thinking they would be emitting electric shocks, to inflict pain onto an individual when they gave a wrong answer to a question; the question being a word matching query. The participant here played the role of a teacher and the learner in this case was in fact the confederate. The shock meter went up in pain voltages as the experiment went on and more wrong answers were issued. However, there was no real pain being inflicted, just the sound of the learner acting as if he was hurt. The experiment carried on until the participant refused to obey the orders being given to them, or until the highest shock voltage of 450 volts was reached. However, stern encouragement was given to the participant by the leader of the experiment to carry on going and issue out the shocks, even though it was putting the learner through a great deal of audible pain. The experimenter would tell the teacher ‘it’s absolutely essential that you continue’ or ‘you have no choice, you must go on’. It seemed that in fact these instructions from an authoritative figure worked, 65% of participants went to the end of the shock generator, issuing out the whole 450 volts of shock. Milgram concluded that under circumstances like these, most people will obey orders that go against their beliefs or conscience.
This study has many ethical issues that need to be taken into consideration. To start with, the participants were told that they were…...

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