Obedience To Authority

Stanley Milgram study, pushing people to administer shocks to subjects.

from http://www.psychologytoday.com/pt62milgram.html ...

He found that an average, presumably normal group of New Haven, Connecticut, residents would readily inflict very painful and perhaps even harmful electric shocks on innocent victims. The subjects believed they were part of an experiment supposedly dealing with the relationship between punishment and learning. An experimenter - who used no Coercive powers beyond a stern aura of mechanical and vacant-eyed efficiency - instructed participants to shock a learner by pressing a lever on a machine each time the learner made a mistake on a word-matching task. Each subsequent error led to an increase in the intensity of the shock in 15-volt increments, from 15 to 450 volts.

In actuality, the shock box was a well-crafted prop and the learner an actor who did not actually get shocked. The result: A majority of the subjects continued to obey to the end - believing they were delivering 450 volt shocks - simply because the experimenter commanded them to. Although subjects were told about the deception afterward, the experience was a very real and powerful one for them during the laboratory hour itself.

Whoops? In 2012, Australian psychologist Gina Perry investigated Milgram's data and writings and concluded that Milgram had manipulated the results, and that there was "troubling mismatch between (published) descriptions of the experiment and evidence of what actually transpired." She wrote that "only half of the people who undertook the experiment fully believed it was real and of those, 66% disobeyed the experimenter".[19][20] She described her findings as "an unexpected outcome" that "leaves social psychology in a difficult situation." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment#Validity

Was replicated in 2009 by Jerry Burger. Contrary to expectation, participants who saw a confederate refuse the experimenter's instructions obeyed as often as those who saw no model. Men and women did not differ in their rates of obedience, but there was some evidence that individual differences in empathic concern and desire for control affected participants' responses.

2017: replicated again, in Poland. Importantly, unlike previous Milgram replications, this study put women in the shock-receiving, or “learner” role. “We thought that shocking a woman with electricity is a more urgent violation of cultural norms than shocking a man with electricity,” Dariusz Doliński, a co-author of the study, writes via email. “Traditional European and North American norms (collectively ‘Western’) assume that men are obliged to behave nobly toward women, and thus to avoid causing them harm, both in word and in deed.”

Also "interesting" is the Stanford Prison Experiment

cf Authoritarian

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