PSYC 3430 Lecture Notes - Agreeableness, Drill Instructor, Stanford Prison Experiment

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Published on 8 Oct 2012
School
York University
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 3430
Power – Chapter 8
Powerful people and groups can compel obedience among members who would
otherwise resist the group’s 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
oOne 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
oOne member was the experimenter who was in charge of the session
Acted self-assured as he set the group’s agenda, assigned tasks to the
group members and issued orders
oOne 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
experimenter’s demands for obedience
-In experiments where learner stated refusal to go on – voice feedback condition:
o62.5% of participants still obeyed to the 450 volts level
oIf participants did disobey experimenter, only did so when leaner demanded to be
released, not due to his suffering
oMajority sided with the authority instead of the learner’s pleas to be released
- Heart problem condition
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oWhen the experimenter connected the wires to the learner’s arm, the learner
mentioned that he had a heart condition and asked about complications
oWhen shocks were administered, learner’s groans and shouts of protest could be
heard through the wall, and he complained his heart was bothering him
oEven when the learner stopped responding after 330 volts, 65% of the
participants continued to administer shocks to the 450 volt level
- Proximity condition
oLearner and teach were placed in same room
oObedience dropped to 40%
- Touch proximity condition
oLearner sat next to the teacher and received his shock when he put his hand on
a shock plate
oWhen the learner refused to put his hand on the plate, the experimenter gave the
participant an insulated glove and told him to press the learner’s hand down onto
the plate as he depressed the shock switch
o30% still obeyed
- Low surveillance condition
oAfter reviewing procedures with participants, experimenter left room
oOnly contact was through telephone
o25% of the participants stopped as soon as the learned insisted on release
oOnly 20% were obedient to the 450 volt level
oMany lied to experimenter about giving more severe shocks, when in reality only
delivered 15 volts
- Office building condition
oMilgram was concerned that people obeyed the experimenter because he was
perceived as a ‘Yale Scientist’ and could therefore be trusted -Prestige
oMilgram moved the study to an office building located in a shopping area
oPrivate firm conducting research for industry – applicants were informed
oObedience dropped to 48% still a large figure given the unknown credentials
of the staff
- Ordinary Man variation
oMilgram new lowered the legitimacy of the experimenter
oMilgram added a fourth member to the group who was given the task of
recording the shock levels used
oThe experimenter explained the study, but gave no instructions about shock
levels before he was called away
oThe 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
oObedience dropped to 20%
oWhen the participants refused to continue, the confederate left the
experimenter’s desk and began administering the shocks.
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oMost of the participants (68.75%) stood by and watched without stopped the
confederate
- Authority as victim condition
oIn this experiment, the experimenter took on the role of learner to convince the
reluctant learner the shocks were not harmful
oThe experimenter tolerated the shocks up to 150 volts but then shouted that’s
enough!
oConfederate insisted that they continue
oIn all cases the participants released the experimenter obedience to the
ordinary person’s command to hard the authority was nil
- Peer administers shock condition
oA compliant group only makes people more obedient
oIn this experiment, the subjects did not have to administer the shock, a
confederate who was fully compliant did so
o92.5% obediently fulfilled their tasks without intervening
oMembership 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
- Milgram’s 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
oSources of social power in a group, including one’s 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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Document Summary

Power chapter 8: powerful people and groups can compel obedience among members who would otherwise resist the group"s 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. Created small groups in his laboratory at yale. Three-man groups: one member was a volunteer who had answered an advertisement. Asked learner questions, every time one was answer incorrectly, administered a shock, growing in intensity for every wrong answer: one member was the experimenter who was in charge of the session. Late 40s, acted friendly and a little nervous. 65% administered the full 450 volts to the learner.

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