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19 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

What is the aim of the study?

To investigate how obedient people would be to orders from a person in authority that would result in pain and harm to another person.

Describe the participants

The sample was self-selected, 40 males from the New Haven area aged from 20-50 years. The sample was advertised in a Newspaper and through direct mail.

What was the method?

The method was a lab experiment with no IV's therefore a controlled observation which was covert. It was also a single blind experiment because the participants were not aware of the true purpose of research.

What were the Dependent Variables?

-Voltage of shocks given to the 'learner'

- Comments by and observations of participants.

What did the advert in the Newspaper say?

It described an opportunity to take part in an experiment into memory and learning at Yale University. They were told that they would received $4.50 (inclu. cab fare) for attending.

What was the procedure?

Participants would be met by an experimenter in a lab coat, the participant would meet the confederate designed to look like another participant. They took part in a fixed lottery to see who would be the learner and the teacher. The teacher would watch whilst the learned was wired to shock generator.

What condition did the Learner (confederate) have?

The learner would point out when being hooked up to the generator that they have a heart condition.

What was the voltage of the sample shock that the participants/teacher received?


What did the Teacher have to do? (procedure)

The teacher had to test the learner on word pairs. If the answer was incorrect or there was no answer, a shock would be administered.

How many volts did the voltage increase to each time?

The voltage would go up 15V each time. The maximum voltage was 450V.

There were 30 different voltages.

How did the learner respond?

The learner gave mainly wrong answers and for each of these the teacher gave him an electric shock which was received in silence until they got to shock level 300. At this point the learner pounded on the wall and then gave no response to the next question.

What were the four prods?

1.) Please continue

2.) The experiment requires that you continue

3.) It is absolutely essential that you continue.

4.) You have no other choice, you must go on.

What happened after 315 Volts?

After the 315V shock the learner pounded on the wall again but after that there was no further response from the learner.

Describe the Quantitative Data

*All participants were prepared to go to at least 300V.

*Only 9/40 stopped at 315V.

*Over half of the participants 26/40 went all the way to 450V.

Describe the Qualitative Data

Most participants were seen to:

- sweat, tremble, stutter

-bite their lips, groan and did their finger-nails into their flesh

-laughed nervously, smiled in a bizarre fashion

-Some had 'full blown uncontrollable seizure'

What is the first conclusion?

1.) People are much more obedient to destructive orders than we might expect. The majority of people are quite willing to obey destructive orders

What is the second conclusion?

2.) People find the experience of receiving and obeying destructive orders highly stressful. They obey in spite of their emotional responses. The situation triggers a conflict between two deeply ingrained tendencies: to obey those in authority , and not to harm people.

Situational or dispositional?


Describe the big idea AGENTIC SHIFT

Agentic shift is when people give up their own responsibility, deferring to those of a higher status. The command of the authority figure is chosen above their own personal morals.