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Lecture 20

Lecture 20


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYA02H3
Professor
John Bassili
Lecture
20

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Psychology II Lecture 20
Obedience to Authority
-examples of atrocities include Nazi’s killing in WWII and U.S. soldiers massacre in Vietnam
War
-victims are systemically terminated
-officers and soldiers felt that they were ordered to perform what the authority said
Milgram Experiment
-the experiment involves two participants, one of them being the teacher and the other being the
learner
-subject will always end up being the teacher
-experimenter told the subject the purpose of the experiment is to investigate the role of
punishment in learning
-subject administers electric shock to the learner when he answers question wrongly
-voltage of electric shock increases gradually from mild to danger
-learner is placed in another room and the subject can only hear him
-learner will display displeasure and suffering during administration of electric shock
-to see if subject will continue the electric shock after the learner asks him to stop while the
experimenter asks him to continue the experiment
-experimenter represents authority
-before the experiment, psychologists predicted that 10% will administer electric shock to the
highest dangerous voltage, it turned out that 50%
-subject starts to feel something is wrong with this experiment, despite he does not want to hurt
the learner, he will continue what the experimenter’s order
-in most cases, nothing the learner says can change the subject’s behaviour
-ethical concern in this experiment because the subject sees a dark side of himself
-does not mean the subject is a bad person, he is pressured to perform action
-notion of bad authority will create bad people
-situation force is powerful
-psychiatrists have wrong prediction about the experiment
-they underestimate power of situational pressure
-personality variable may change the subject’s action
-turns out that religious people administer more electric shock
-autonomy is when we operate in full knowledge that we are responsible for our action and our
moral principle guide our behaviour
-agency is when we perceive ourselves as agents of someone else’s authority
-as the experimenter in the Milgram experiment always saysI’m responsible for the situation,”
the subject believes he is not taking charge of his own action
-subject enters state of agency
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