A Study of Obedience and Conformity in Society

Obedience is a behavior change that is produced by the commands of some sort of authority (Brehm, Kassin, & Fein, 1999). Some of the key variables that are responsible for an increase in obedience, as found in the Milgram studies, are: when commands are given by an authority figure, the experiments were conducted at a prestigious university or institution,the authority figure was present during the study, the learner was in the other room, and that the subject was isolated enough so that they could not see others disobeying (Milgram, 1963).

These variables for an increase in obedience are similar in other studies such as the Stanford Prison Experiment and Bickman’s Security Guard Experiment (Stanford Prison Experiment,n.d. & Bickman, 1974). In Milgram’s follow-up study, he noticed that as auditory, visual, and physical contact with the learner increased, the maximum shock participants delivered decreased (Milgram, 1974). Also, obedience dropped dramatically when the experimenter left the room and commanded through the phone (Milgram, 1974).

The key variables for an increase and decrease of obedience are the same just on the opposite side: there needs to be an authority figure for an increase and no present authority figure for a decrease, the proximity to the victim, personal responsibility, and a level of escalation of harm (Asch,1956).

If I were a researcher interested in exploring the variables that can increase and decrease obedience, I would take the necessary ethical consideration that previous studied on this topic avoided. The ethical controversy with Milgram’s study and with the Stanford Prison Experiment were that they caused harm to participants and the participants were deceived.

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When conducting an experiment, it’s crucial to not cause harm to any of the participants and to use the scientific method to reach valid, reliable results.The results of these obedience and conformity studies affect social welfare onnumerous levels. First, police officers wear uniforms which have authority. The policeuniform as itself has a sense of power and authority. If a police officer gives a command, most reasonable people would obey. Also, people pay attention to the proximity of the people in which they are going to help or hurt. There was a (not-so-great) 2009 movie called The Box where a million dollars would be given to this couple if they agreed to kill someone they didn’t know (Kelly, 2009). One of the most profound findings, I think, from these studies were that if another person was disobeying a command then others would usually follow. I think this has a lot to do with social welfare and is used a lot within communities; people see others doing things and they do them too, regardless of their person feelings or attitudes.

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A Study of Obedience and Conformity in Society. (2022, Feb 22). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-study-of-obedience-and-conformity-in-society/

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