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PSYC 3430
Peter Papadogiannis

Power Chapter 8 Powerful people and groups can compel obedience among members who would otherwise resist the groups wishes. Few interactions advance very far before elements of power and influence come into play. Power the potential influence and control over outcomes Power is a group level process Involves some members of a group conforming to the requirements of others in situations that range from the purely cooperative and collaborative to those rife with conflict, tension and animosity. Social Power the capacity to influence others, even when those others try to resist influence Stanley Milgram Experiments - Created small groups in his laboratory at Yale - Three-man groups o One member was a volunteer who had answered an advertisement Always assigned teacher role Asked learner questions, every time one was answer incorrectly, administered a shock, growing in intensity for every wrong answer o One member was the experimenter who was in charge of the session Acted self-assured as he set the groups agenda, assigned tasks to the group members and issued orders o One member appeared to be another participant recruited from the community but was in actuality a confederate who was part of the research team Late 40s, acted friendly and a little nervous Always assigned to the learner role Findings - 65% administered the full 450 volts to the learner - None broker off before the 300 volts level - Several of the participants gave one or two additional shocks - The participants showed they were reluctant to go on but felt unable to resist the experimenters demands for obedience - In experiments where learner stated refusal to go on voice feedback condition: o 62.5% of participants still obeyed to the 450 volts level o If participants did disobey experimenter, only did so when leaner demanded to be released, not due to his suffering o Majority sided with the authority instead of the learners pleas to be released - Heart problem condition o When the experimenter connected the wires to the learners arm, the learner mentioned that he had a heart condition and asked about complications o When shocks were administered, learners groans and shouts of protest could be heard through the wall, and he complained his heart was bothering him o Even when the learner stopped responding after 330 volts, 65% of the participants continued to administer shocks to the 450 volt level - Proximity condition o Learner and teach were placed in same room o Obedience dropped to 40% - Touch proximity condition o Learner sat next to the teacher and received his shock when he put his hand on a shock plate o When the learner refused to put his hand on the plate, the experimenter gave the participant an insulated glove and told him to press the learners hand down onto the plate as he depressed the shock switch o 30% still obeyed - Low surveillance condition o After reviewing procedures with participants, experimenter left room o Only contact was through telephone o 25% of the participants stopped as soon as the learned insisted on release o Only 20% were obedient to the 450 volt level o Many lied to experimenter about giving more severe shocks, when in reality only delivered 15 volts - Office building condition o Milgram was concerned that people obeyed the experimenter because he was perceived as a Yale Scientist and could therefore be trusted -Prestige o Milgram moved the study to an office building located in a shopping area o Private firm conducting research for industry applicants were informed o Obedience dropped to 48% still a large figure given the unknown credentials of the staff - Ordinary Man variation o Milgram new lowered the legitimacy of the experimenter o Milgram added a fourth member to the group who was given the task of recording the shock levels used o The experimenter explained the study, but gave no instructions about shock levels before he was called away o The new participant, a confederate, filled the role of the authority He suggested shocks be given in increasingly strong doses and ordered the participant to continue giving the shocks when the learner started to complain o Obedience dropped to 20% o When the participants refused to continue, the confederate left the experimenters desk and began administering the shocks. o Most of the participants (68.75%) stood by and watched without stopped the confederate - Authority as victim condition o In this experiment, the experimenter took on the role of learner to convince the reluctant learner the shocks were not harmful o The experimenter tolerated the shocks up to 150 volts but then shouted thats enough! o Confederate insisted that they continue o In all cases the participants released the experimenter obedience to the ordinary persons command to hard the authority was nil - Peer administers shock condition o A compliant group only makes people more obedient o In this experiment, the subjects did not have to administer the shock, a confederate who was fully compliant did so o 92.5% obediently fulfilled their tasks without intervening o Membership in a defiant group did contribute to disobedience Membership in a group helped participants defy the authority - Some researchers believed that participants knew that no shocks were being administered but played along so as not to ruin the study After being interviewed, fewer that 20% challenged the reality of the situation - The distress of the participants was so great that the publication of the study sparked controversy over the ethics of social psychological research - Milgrams findings appear to be highly reliable over time and across situations Sources of Power Bases of Power French & Raven - There are six key power bases. Group members who control these bases are more influential than those who fail to secure a base of power: Reward Power Coercive Power Legitimate Power Referent Power Expert Power Informational Power - Power bases o Sources of social power in a group, including ones degree of control over rewards and punishment, authority in the group, attractiveness, expertise and access to and control over information needed by group members
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