•Keep in mind: there was no obvious pressure to conform (no rewards/punishments) in both
Sherif & Asch’s experiments !
4. Milgram → obedience: studied demands of authority vs. the demands of our conscience !
•Had a stern experimenter tell participants that this was a study of the eﬀect of
punishment on learning !
•Learner was a confederate, participant was the teacher !
•Teacher was told by experimenter to deliver a shock for every wrong/absent response !
•Experimenter & teacher were in the same room, while the learner was strapped into an
electric chair in the next room!
•Most people (65%) went all the way to XXX (highest degree of shock, where the learner
has stopped screaming & has fallen silent) !
•Even when Milgram made the experimenter mention the learner’s heart condition, most
people still obeyed to XXX !
•Later studies found that women’s compliance rates were similar to men’s !
•Most participants said they were glad to have participated!
What Conditions Breed Obedience?
1. Victim’s emotional distance !
•Greatest obedience (least compassion) when learners (from Milgram’s experiment)
couldn’t see the teacher or be seen/heard by the teacher!
•Most people (60%) didn’t obey to XXX when the learner was put in the same room as
•Only 30% obeyed to XXX when they needed to force the learner’s hand onto a shock
•A person who’s depersonalized/distant is easier to abuse (e.g. why an executioner
places a hood over the prisoner’s head)!
•E.g. concrete gas chambers allowed killers to not see/hear those being gassed !
2. Closeness & legitimacy of authority !
•Physical presence of the experimenter increased obedience (i.e. telephone commands
decreased obedience) !
•E.g. a light touch on the arm makes people more likely to lend a dime, sign a petition, or
sample food !
•Authority must be perceived as legitimate (i.e. a clerk rather than the experimenter
directing commands led to less obedience) !
•Participants openly rebelled against the clerk (illegitimate authority) vs. the deferential
politeness shown to the experimenter !
3. Institutional authority !
•Obedience dropped when Milgram set up his experiment away from Yale, in a less
prestigious setting !
4. The liberating eﬀects of group inﬂuence !
•When confederates in the experiment stood up against the experimenter, most people
(90%) conformed w/ the deﬁant confederates !
Reﬂections on the Classic Studies: (1) Behaviour & Attitudes
•Attitudes fail to determine external behaviour when external inﬂuences override inner
convictions (i.e. Asch’s participants always gave the correct answer when they were alone) !
•The intensity of the shocks increased only gradually → by the time participants got to XXX,
they’d already complied many times & reduced their dissonance) !
•Their external behaviour (delivering shocks) fed their internal disposition !
•Many participants devalued the victim (e.g. calling him stupid, saying he deserved to get