An analysis of obedience to orders and change of opinions under pressure

Additional Moderating Variables Testing We also investigated whether time pressure might provide a reason for the difference in cheating beliefs by measuring both hours spent working and hours spent studying per week.

An analysis of obedience to orders and change of opinions under pressure

Participants are presented with a detailed description of the experiment, asked to declare at what moment an average participant would cease their participation in the study, and then asked to declare at what moment they themselves would quit the experiment.

It turned out that the participants demonstrated a strong BTA effect. This effect also concerned those who had known the results of the Milgram experiment prior to the study. Interestingly, those individuals—in contrast to naive participants—judged that the average person would remain obedient for longer, but at the same time prior familiarity with the Milgram experiment did not impact convictions as to own obedience.

By the same token, the BTA effect size was larger among those who had previously heard of the Milgram experiment than those who had not. Additionally, study participants were asked to estimate the behavior of the average resident of their country Polandas well as of average residents of several other European countries.

Introduction The series of experiments conducted by Milgramdedicated to the subject of obedience toward authority is among the most famous and most shocking in the history of social psychology.

Demonstrating that the vast majority of people would follow the instruction to administer an electric shock of V to another human being when told to do so by a university professor in the course of a supposed experiment on memory and learning came as a shock to not only the scientific community Blass, Milgram also demonstrated that people presented with the plan of the aforementioned experiment and asked to predict the reactions of its participants commit a characteristic error.

However, Milgram convincingly showed that people do not appreciate the degree of obedience of the average person participating in his experiment. Thus, we can assume that they will be even more convinced that they would themselves not be persuaded by the experimenter to engage in behavior contrary to fundamental moral values.

In many studies where participants were asked to compare themselves to the average person, it turned out that the majority thought they were better—more physically attractive, more intelligent, healthier, more ethical see Alicke and Govorun, ; Sedikides and Gregg, for review. We thus posited the hypothesis that people should thus be convinced that they would conclude their participation in the Milgram experiment sooner than the average participant.

In our study, we decided to check whether this really would be the case.


Because the Milgram experiments are quite well known not only within the psychological community but also among the public at large, it could be assumed that participants from diverse backgrounds would include both some who were unfamiliar with the Milgram studies, as well as others who had previously encountered descriptions of them.

It is obvious that the latter should not err in estimating the obedience of an average person participating in the experiment or at least the error should be smallerbut it seems an interesting question to ask whether those people will retain the conviction that they themselves would behave better than the average person and more quickly withdraw from the experiment.

We thus hypothesize that people familiar with the results of the Milgram study will also modify their judgments of their own potential behaviors in that experiment BTA effect is either smaller or entirely absent.

An analysis of obedience to orders and change of opinions under pressure

We decided to see in our study if this really was the case. In other words, the question arises of whether people are convinced that an average representative of their own group during a Milgram experiment would demonstrate behavior more morally acceptable i.

Because participants in our study were Poles and thus residents of Central Europewe decided to ask them to predict the behavior of a typical Polish person as well as that of typical representatives of other nations from Europe.

We selected nations which, during the period when the study was being conducted, were viewed by the majority in Poland in a negative light—Russians; rather neutrally—Germany; and quite positively—French and English CBOS, In respect of the first category, the predictions are uniform the average Pole, in the opinion of participants, will withdraw from the experiment sooner than the average Russianwhereas in the second a similar but weaker effect may be expected.

In the third of the cases under consideration, the situation is somewhat more complicated. The research was conducted with the assistance of Ariadna—the Polish research website Polish counterpart of Amazon Mechanical Turk.

There are approximatelyrespondents registered in the panel, aged 14—70, from among which a sample group was drawn. All the participants signed the informed consent form.

Participants There were people randomly selected in more or less equal proportion in terms of sex there were women, constituting Sample size was determined before any data analysis.

The youngest participant was 18 years old, and the oldest was The mean age was In terms of place of residence, the participants were matched to the parameters of the general Polish population. Students and graduates of social science majors sociology, psychology, and pedagogy were excluded that is to say, people who declared membership in that group concluded their participation in the study after completing the form, and their data was not retained.

We did this with a view to the significant probability of some of them being familiar not only with the Milgram experiment itself, but also with the psychological mechanisms underlying the results he recorded.

The study participants received points for participation in the study, which afterward they could exchange for various prizes. Procedure The participants logged onto an internet portal and began completing a survey, starting with questions about sex, age, and place of residence.

Next they were presented with a video roughly 6 min in length that detailed the procedure applied in the original experiment by Milgram. At no time neither in the presentation nor the voice-over was information given about the results achieved.

After watching the presentation, the participants answered four control questions designed to verify how closely they had listened to the presented materials.

If they responded correctly to at least three of four questions they were qualified to the next phase of the study. During the next stage of the study they were asked the following question:Obedience, in human behavior, is a form of "social influence in which a person yields to explicit instructions or orders from an authority figure".

[1] Obedience is generally distinguished from compliance, which is behavior influenced by peers, and from conformity, which is behavior intended to match that of the regardbouddhiste.coming on context, obedience can be seen as immoral, amoral or moral.

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