Two men came to lab to participant in a study of

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Two men came to lab to participant in a study of learning and memory Explained that this was a pioneering study of the effect of punishment on learning One of them to teach a list of word pairs to the other and to punish errors by delivering shocks of increasing intensity teacher role Another will be the learner actually a confederate Shock generator with switches ranging from 15 to 450 volts in 15- volt increments Switches are labeled “slight shock”, “very strong shock”, “danger: severe shock” Under the 435- and 450-volt switches appears XXX Experimenter tells the teacher to move one level higher on the shock generator each time the learner gives a wrong answer At 75, 90 and 105 volts learner grunt At 120 volts learner shouts that the shocks are painful At 150 volts learner cries out At 270 volts screams of agony, wants to be let out At 300 and 315 volts screams his refusal to answer After 330 volts falls silent Experimenter states that the nonresponses should be treated as wrong answers To keep the participant going, uses four verbal prods Please continue The experiment requires that you continue It is absolutely essential that you continue You have no other choice, you must go on Conducted the experiment with 40 men 26 of them (65%) progressed all the way to 450 volts Those who stopped often did so at the 150-volt point
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Social class, education nor gender has a significant effect on participants’ obedience What breeds obedience? Victim’s distance o Acted with greatest obedience and least compassion when the learners could not be seen o When the victim was remote and the teachers heard no complaints nearly all obeyed calmly to the end o When the learner was in the same room only 40% obeyed to 450 volts o Easiest to abuse someone who is distant or depersonalized o People act most compassionately toward those who are personalized Closeness and legitimacy of the authority o Physical presence of the experimenter o When Milgram’s experimenter gave the commands by phone full obedience dropped to 21% o When the one making the command is physically close compliance increases o Authority must be perceived as legitimate o Rebellion against an illegitimate authority contrasted sharply with the deferential politeness usually shown the experimenter with authority Institutional authority o Reputation o Authorities backed by institutions wield social power Liberating effects of group influence o Conformity can be constructive Behavior and attitudes - Attitudes fail to determine behavior when external influences override inner convictions o In Asch’s study Participants nearly always gave the correct answer o In Milgram’s study A powerful social pressure (the experimenter’s commands) overcame a weaker one (the remote victim’s pleas) Surprising number of people chose to obey
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Refer to foot-in-the-door phenomenon
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