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Lecture 9

Lecture 9 Review: Authority

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Psychology 3721F/G
Nelson Heapy

Chapter 9 Review: Authority The Milgram Study  A brief overview o Authority is something that we tend to think as being a variable that almost goes contrary to affective persuasion attempts o Authority carried the connotation and something that is intrusive and conscious and therefore not effective in leading someone to change o A very diabolical attribute when trying to persuade someone  A brief reminder of the implications o One participant is strapped to a chair and you communicate with them through a microphone o They have a task that involved memorizing a list of words o Whenever one of the pair of words is presented they have to think of the associated word o Will not only ask them to remember accurately, but they will be punished every time they make a mistake with a shock that grows in voltage o Underscored the realization that bright, intelligent, sociable people will go all the way in regard to the instructions because someone in a lab coat says so o An attribute of human relationships – we defer to authority o We will differ to construed legitimate authority o People suffer emotionally when they go all the way  Variations on the theme o A study was done that gained ethical approval to allow people to see if they would continue using shock I the same way that was in the Milgram study except up to 450 volts, it would only be up to 125 volts o People would be in a situation would be in the teacher/learner situation in the Milgram study except it would only go up to 15 volts o 125 volts can be administers for real and it would be painful, but it is a level of shock that is not lethal or impossible to put up with – would you be willing to give someone a shock that would be similar to someone putting their finger in a electric plug o If those in the real Milgram study went up to 125 volts, 96% went all the way o Found that 70% of people went all the way to 125 volts – strongly implies that those people might have gone all the way in the original Milgram study The Hospital  Hierarchies o We live as a species in hierarchical arrangements in terms of authority o In almost every important institution, there is an implies or explicit hierarchical arrangement of authority o Universal way that people arrange themselves to complete goals and accomplish tasks o There is always a boss and always a subordinate  The allure, and REAL benefits of authority o There are presumably people who have a broader view and can organize components to coordinate their tasks and get things done o Those with authority are associated with having a greater knowledge o Also a kind of escape from thinking – gives a short cut rule to guide us without thinking too much  The case of the rectal earache o Man comes into an emergency ward and has a very sore ear o The doctor sees the man and writes on the note that he leaves for the nurse is to get hold of a fluid into the right ear, but writes it in a way that implies that the fluid is supposed to be put in his rear o Nurses are highly trained and know how to respond to ear infections, but still follows through on what she reads o Didn’t want to question what she thought the doctor said o In a hierarchal situation like a hospital, people who are subordinate to people with authority will very often unthinkingly follow what their instructions are or what they believe they are  Low status monkeys learn a trick The Flimsiest of Materials  It isn’t us the fact that authority leads up to act this way, the symbols and the trappings of authority can lead us to do things that we would normally think an authority is suggesting  People whoa re authorities in contexts can say they are doctors – ‘dr.’ lends huge authority in a hospital, etc.  Titles – Again, the hospital o A str
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