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AS psychology- Milgrim's study in obedience- A study in obedience
Transcript of AS psychology- Milgrim's study in obedience- A study in obedience
Are there cultural differences regarding individual obedience to an authority figure-i.e.were the German different?
- 100% of paticipants continued to 300v
- 65% of participants continued until 450v shock level
- At 315v 5 participants refused to obey
- at 330v 2 participants refused to obey
- 26 participants were obedient until the end (450v volts)
- in total 14 participants were not classed as obedient
- many participants showed signs of stress such as sweating, stuttering and biting their nails.
- one participant had a stesss induced seizure
- despite showing signs of extreame stress many participants continued giving electric shocks.
- once the study was over many obedient participants showed visable signs of relief
There was no IV in the study therefore it was an observation and NOT an experiment; the researchers observed and recorded how willing the participants were to administer electric shocks. The study took place in a controlled environment - a lab at Yale university and had many controls, such as standardised responses from the researcher: ''you must go on'.
The horrors carried out in WW2
by the Nazis due to
In the past historians had assumed that the Germans must have had a form of character deficit.
Milgram wanted to study how far a person would follow orders especially when they would cause others harm.
Adverts were put in local newspapers and direct mailings were sent out in the New Haven area in the USA. They advertised for participants to take part in a sudy on the effect of punishment on learning and were offered $4.50.
A range of different educational backgrounds, and professional levels
= representative of New Haven area.
Ethnocentric sample so t is not representative of the rest pf the world, so the sample is not generalisable.
it can take time for participants to reply to adverts. The same type of people themselves foward so it is not representative of the whole population, as they volunteered they will also be more motivated to comply so more demand characteristics.
It is ethical as they all volunteered themselves so they are all interested. Removes researcher bias in the sample selection.
Participants were selected using a volunteer method and by placing adverts in local newspapers in New Haven USA and via direct mail. They were told it was for a study on the effect of punishment on learning and were given $4.50.
slips of paper were drawn to 'decide' who would be the teacher and who would be the learner ; the particpant became the learner.
The learner was strapped into an electric chair to 'prevent escape'
The teacher was given a sample shock of 15v to prove realism of the voltmeter which went up to 450v in 15v incretments.
The experimentor in the room gave standardised instructions and responses in answer to any questions such as 'you must go on'.
The learning task involved memorising sets of word pairs and the teacher was instructed to give electric shocks of an increasingly higher voltage for each wrong answer.
When a shock level of 300v was reached, the leaner pounded on the wall of the room which could be heard by the teacher. The learner's answers no longer appeared on the board .
All from New Haven area USA
Educational levels from high school to degree and different professions
No names, personal details or images of the participants were given.
The participants were told that the aim of the study was to look at the effect of punishment on
learning and did not that the true aim was to study obedience. Therefore they did not know that the learner was an actor and did not receive real electric shocks.
The participants were also not aware that the level of electric shocks given could be fatal.
right to withdraw
The participants may have felt unable to withdraw due to a number of different factors, such as the verbal prods from the experimentor which included 'you must go on' , and also the fact that they had volunteered and were paid $4.50 to participate.
There was significant evidence of psycological harm from the participants due to stress such as nervous laughter, biting nails and stuttering, one man also had a nervous fit.
fully informed consent
Although the participants volunteered for a study on the effect of punishment on learning, they did not know the true aim of the study which was to study obediance and so did not give fully informed consent.
"obedience is a deeply ingrained behaviour which can overide ethical veiws, moral conduct and sympathy"
Milgram gave explainations for the unaturally high amount of obedience observed in the study:
The study seemed to have a worthy purpose: the effect of punishment on learning.
All the particpants had volunteered and so felt obliged to continue as they had put themselves foward.
The participants had been told that the victim who was being shocked had volunteered to take part in the study so they may have felt less guilty about shocking them.
The participants had all been paid $4.50 in exchange for taking part and so felt obliged to conform.
participants were unclear about the rights and the role of a psycologist
The study took place in a controlled enviroment in a lab at Yale university which is not an enviroment which the participants would not normally be in. furthermore the participants would not normally be instructed to give people electric shocks in their everyday life.
The study could also have been testing conformity, sympathy, or how people react to pressure and unfamilar enviroments . The participants may have behaved that way due to feeling pressured and wanting to help the study for the effect of punishment on learning.
The procedure was standardised as there were many controls for example : the use of standardised prompts by the experimentor such as "you must go on" and also the same voltmeter was used which went up in 15v incretments. The results were also consistant as 100% of the participants continued up to 300v.
The study took place at the prestigious Yale University, which may prompted the participants to comply with instructions in order to fit in with the setting.
The participants were under the impression that the shocks would cause no permanent damage.
The participants were debriefed and told the real purpose of the study and the results.
low eoological validity due to setting
Normally people would not be asked to give others electric shocks whilst a presigious university (Yale). I would therfore make the ecological validity by changing thw location from a lab in yale university to a room in an office in a down-town industrial complex in the USA. The procedure would stay the same with the participants being given instructions to shock the learner when they get wrong answers in the memory pairs game. The results will therefore be more representative of the real world as the location will be one where the ppts. will be more familar. The participants may not be as obedient as unlike the original loocation they would not be influenced by the presigiousity of the location.
ethical issues broken
There were many ethical issues broken in Milgrim's study including right to withdraw. To rectify this I would change the methodology so that the experimentor would not give standardised verbal prods such as 'you must go on' but simply remain silent after giving the participants initial instructions. There would be fewer ethical issues as a result. The ppts. would be less obedient as ...