Fundamentals Of Abnormal Psychology – Obedience Across Cultures And Generations

The phenomenon observed by Milgram (1963) was that of obedience under the influence of authority, against one’s own beliefs. Milgram (1974) described obedience as ‘…the psychological mechanism that links individual action to political purpose’. Its basis is the belief that authoritative figures have a legitimate right to request actions. His experiment in 1963 looked at the reactions of participants believing they were part of a punishment and learning experiment. Participants were told that they would be administering electric shocks as a ‘teacher’ to a ‘learner’, really a confederate, when he answered incorrectly to a memory task. The ‘learner’ was seen being strapped to a chair with electrodes attached to him and the participant was given a sample shock.

This sample was quite severe but the participant was told that it was mild. The participant was sat in a separate room in front of a machine to administer the shocks. The levers on the machine increased gradually from 15 to 450 volts, with labels of words and numbers describing the level of shock that each would give, for example, ‘135 volts, strong shock’. The participant gave the ‘learner’ pairs of words to memorize. If the participant gave an incorrect answer when asked to recall the pair of the word the participant gave in the test, the experimenter ordered the participant to administer a shock. The shocks were not actually being administered but with each incorrect answer the shock was, apparently, increased. The ‘learner’ would begin to object to the shocks and complain of heart pain, but the participant was given instructions to carry on, such as ‘you have no other choice sir, you must go on’.

The results showed that 100{512b763ef340c1c7e529c41476c7e03bc66d8daea696e1162822661d30dde056} of participants would administer up to 240 volts, a ‘very strong shock’, 68{512b763ef340c1c7e529c41476c7e03bc66d8daea696e1162822661d30dde056} would administer up to an ‘extremely intense shock’ of 360 volts and 65{512b763ef340c1c7e529c41476c7e03bc66d8daea696e1162822661d30dde056} would give a ‘XXX’ shock of 450 volts. This level of obedience was far higher than anyone, including Milgram, expected. Milgram used this to suggest that ‘normal’ people are capable of performing intolerable requests under the influence of a legitimate authority. The presence of authority creates a situational pressure to perform and often responsibility is thought to be that of the authority and so an individual feels less responsible for his or her actions.

At the time of Milgram’s experiment, the United States was beginning to recover from McCarthyism. McCarthyism is a term used for the period of time throughout the 1950’s where anti-communism was enforced (retrieved January 5th, 2007, from wikipedia.com website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism). People were persecuted if it was believed they were communist or sympathized with communists. They were made unemployed, imprisoned and sometimes even executed for espionage. The presence of this type of oppression at the time of Milgram’s experiments may have had an effect on the level of obedience found. Although by the time of the experiment society was no longer experiencing McCarthyism, it was accustomed to obeying the order that it must adhere to an anti-communist way of thinking or …

The Importance of Plumbers and Plumbing Services

Many often do not think much of plumber and plumber services. This is due to many reasons such as the low prestige of the trade or the infrequent need of and contact with the plumber. However, they provide a valuable service to society, allowing us to enjoy the comfort of our environment with a well functioning plumbing system.

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