essay2.docx - Running head SHORTENED TITLE UP TO 50...

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Running head: SHORTENED TITLE UP TO 50 CHARACTERS 1 Add Title Here, up to 12 Words, on One to Two Lines Author Name(s), First M. Last, Omit Titles and Degrees Institutional Affiliation(s) Author Note Include any grant/funding information and a complete correspondence address.
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SHORTENED TITLE UP TO 50 CHARACTERS 2 Abstract Social psychology aims to understand how the social world influences the thoughts, emotions and behaviours of others. Obedience, a determinant of behaviour, is concerned with the power of social processes and contextual pressures upon individual behaviour, versus the individual's agency to resist such influences. The powerful findings of Milgram's (1963) study (cited in Dixon, 2012) into destructive obedience lead Milgram to theorise that when a person is in the presence of a legitimate authority figure, there is a shift in his 'agentic state', and the normally independent free thinking individual gives way to obedience. However, Milgram's work has been re-analysed from a different perspective by Gibson (2011) in which he challenges Milgram's notion of obedience and the use of experimental methods as a way to understand social influences. Gibson argues that language is a critical factor in attaining and resisting social influences, a factor overlooked by Milgram. This essay, in evaluating Gibson's (2011) re-analysis and its social psychological implications, concludes that Gibson's study enhances Milgram's research by highlighting aspects of the original experiments/theories that were not previously considered. One of the most recognised experimental social psychological studies, ‘Behavioural study of obedience’, was undertaken by Stanley Milgram in 1963 (cited in Dixon, 2012). Taking a cognitive social psychological perspective, Milgram employed an experimental quantitative approach in which he examined the processes of obedience and the social conditions in which people obey persons in authority. Milgram considered social structure as crucial in influencing individuals' behaviour even when this behaviour went against their own basic moral values. His method allowed him to systematically vary some situational factors which he believed would best illuminate the underlying processes of obedience. In his experiment, under pretext of testing
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SHORTENED TITLE UP TO 50 CHARACTERS 3 the effects of punishment on memory, participants were given the role of 'teacher'. Under orders from an 'authority figure' (the experimenter) participants had to deliver electric shocks to a 'learner' (a confederate), up to a potentially lethal level, if wrong answers were given. Participants who delivered the maximum shock level were categorised as obedient; those who refused at any point prior to the maximum level being considered defiant. Should the participant show reluctance or refusal to continue, the experimenter had four standardised prompts which he could use to persuade participants to continue, with a further two arbitrary prompts available if needed. The overwhelming results of Milgram's experiment, where 26 out of 40 participants
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