Milgram’s study of obedience 1963

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What was Milgram’s original hypothesis?
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Germans are different.
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What was Milgram’s aim?
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Milgram was interested in researching how far people would go in obeying instructions from an authority figure if it involved harming another person. He was inspired by Nazi Germany.
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Who were the participants?
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40 males aged between 20 and 50, whose jobs ranged from unskilled to professional. They were recruited through a newspaper advert (volunteer sample)
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What was the experimental method?
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Lab
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What were the four verbal prompts?
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\”Please continue.\” \”The experiment requires you to continue.\” \”It is absolutely essential that you continue.\” \”You have no choice but to continue.\”
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What percentage of participants administered the 450 volts?
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65%
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Who went to 300 volts?
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All of the participants.
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What is the first methodical issue?
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It was conducted in a laboratory setting, which was very artificial. It lacks ecological validity.
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What is the second methodical issue?
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It lacks population validity (only men were used). We cannot generalise to females.
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What is the third methodical issue?
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It was a volunteer sample, perhaps the results were something to do with the ‘volunteer personality’.
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What’s the first ethical issue?
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Deception- participants were deceived about the aim and believed they were inflicting pain on someone.
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What’s the second ethical issue?
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Protection from harm- the participants were exposed to a stressful situation which could have potentially been a source of psychological harm.
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What did Milgram do to deal with the deception?
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He debriefed them, reassuring the participants that their behaviour was normal and offered them further support.
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What was the first variation and what was the result?
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Milgram changed the status of the location from a prestigious university to a run down office. He found that obedience decreased, suggesting that prestige influences obedience.
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What was the second variation?
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Milgram changed the proximity of the learner so that they were both in the same room. Milgram found that obedience decreased to 40%.
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What was the third variation?
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Milgram paired the participant with a confederate who pressed the switches. He found that obedience increased to 92.5% because the participants had less responsibility.
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Whose research supports Milgram’s?
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Hofling conducted a study on nurses in a hospital. The nurses were not allowed to administer drugs to a patient without a doctor signing a form in person. The doctor asked them to administer 20mg (which was double the usual amount) over the phone and said he would sign for it later. The nurses knew this was wrong but 21/22 went to administer the drugs, showing how people obey authority in real life.

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