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Updated: Monday, April 12, 1999 10:50:20 AM

Schemas & Just world Belief Classical Conditioning Operant Conditioning
Sensory Memory Short Term Memory Long Term Memory
Confidence and Memory Heuristics Attribution
Norms Social Influence & Obedience All Notes in one view

Section 2: Social Influence & Obedience

Conformity – change in behavior, or a change in belief, in response to group influence.
Solomon Ash –
        Made a line test

When a person is by himself or herself and asked to determine which line matched the standard, there was only a 1% error rate.

But when there were confederate who gave an incorrect response,  75 % of the subjects conformed at least once in 12 trials.

    Confederates: a person who works for the experimenter.

In this case, the confederate gave the correct answer at first, then began giving giving wrong answers, thus causing the participants to conform to a group member.

Stanley Milgram…
   Investigated humans ability to obey authority.  His experiments sought to illuminate how it was that Nazi Germany was able to inflict such harm and pain on so many innocent individuals. 

    The participants in Miligram's experiments were told that he was investigating learning.  The participants believed that they were administering increasingly strong electrical shocks to another participant when that participant failed to remember a previously presented word. 

    Unknown to the participants was the fact that the other person was a research assistant who was pretending to be shocked, screaming as the shocks grew more and more painful.

   Although before the experiment was run, people thought that only a small number of individuals would administer the maximum shock.  Milgram found that about 63%  of the participants fully complied with their instruction to continue shocking until the experiment was completed.

Obedience was highest when
  • the person giving the orders was close and perceived to be a legitimate authority figure
  • the authority figure was supported by a prestigious institution.  (Milgram got somewhat less compliance when he dissociated his experiments from Yale University.)
  • The victim was depersonalized or at a distance, even in another room. Similarly, many soldiers either do not fire their rifles or do not aim them properly in combat with an enemy they can see.  Such refusals to kill are rare among those who operate the more distant weapons of artillery or aircraft.
  • There were no role models for defiance; that is, no other subjects were seen disobeying the experimenter.
  • Blind obedience is not limited to the fascist mentality, rather it is a basic instinct, a method of social norms.





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