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Outline and evaluate explanations for why people obey

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People are more likely to obey when under the influence of a legitimate authority or in a place of great importance. Milgram found this in his investigation when in his original study, 65% of the participants obeyed within the Yale setting whereas only 48% of the participants obeyed when the location was changed to a rundown office.

The agentic state is also used, as this allows the participant to follow through with the actions without feeling any of the responsibility placed on them, thus making them feel less guilty. again, in the original Milgram study, 65% obeyed whereas only 20.5% obeyed in the experimenter absent variation.

Gradual commitment is a way of making it harder to refuse larger actions through starting with a smaller amount, such as in the Milgram study where the participants were only asked to start with a 15v shock and moving up in intervals instead of starting at 450v. In the teacher’s discretion variation, only 0.4% of the participants continued as they were allowed to choose what the volt level was that they could administer.

Buffers protect the participants from physical and mental harm and stop them from actually seeing the damage they may be doing or the consequences of their actions. In the proximity and touch-proximity variations of Milgram’s study, the obedience rate is lowered to 40% and 30% as the participants do not have to see any reaction from the confederate.

In Bickman’s study, there was a high amount of ecological validity as being stopped by an authority figure such as a policeman can occur in a real – life situation. this mean that validity will be higher as it is a situation that represents real life.

In Milgram’s study, there was androcentric bias as there were only males used in the study which eliminates the population validity, as it is not specified anywhere in Milgram’s study that he chose to see the results of a purely male study. Therefore this means that the sample isnot representative so cannot be generalised.

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