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Recent research revealed that subjects are expected to be obedient under some conditions in comparison to others. Obedience is often at the peak when instructions are given…
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Psychology: Obedience Obedience can be defined as conformity to instructions provided by a figure of authority (Teague, 2002). Recent research revealed that subjects are expected to be obedient under some conditions in comparison to others. Obedience is often at the peak when instructions are given by a figure of authority rather than volunteers; when the figure of authority is present and instructions are given to subjects or when a subject has not previously witnessed disobedience to instructions by others. Among these factors, the fact that commands are given by an authority figure has the greatest impact on obedience. Subjects obey instructions for the reason that they want to be rewarded; they do not want to experience the consequences of disobedience and due to their belief that an authority figure is legitimate and morally right.
In an investigative disobedience experiment, Milgram acquired forty volunteers through newspaper advertisement. Milgram wanted to measure the willingness of the participants to act contrary to their personal conscience by obeying an authority figure and inflicting pain imaginary using electric shocks on students who were his confederates every time they made an error. The participant were also required to increase the level of shock every instance a student made an error. Milgram’s obedience experiment proved to be unethical because he used pretense to obtain data because the students were not a test subject but Milgrams assistant. Moreover, the electric shock never caused harm to the student but they pretended to be in pain when the teachers administered electric shock (Blass, 2000). It was also unethical to subject people to a tense situation, which caused a lot of stress to them. Thus, it was unethical for Milgram to design an experiment that created such kind of stress. Ultimately, the experiment also has been linked to long term psychological harm. This is unethical as it would cause a negative long term psychological impact on the subjects on realizing they would inflict such lethal shock levels to fellow human beings.
References
Teague, M. (2002). Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from obedience school. New York: Scholastic
Press.
Blass, T. (2000). Obedience to authority current perspectives on the Milgram paradigm.
Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Read More
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