Obedience As A Type Of Social Influence Essay

Obedience As A Type Of Social Influence Essay

Length: 1644 words (4.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Obedience is defined as a type of social influence whereby somebody acts in response to a direct order from another person (Clemson, 2001 p. 105). Obedience is a necessary behaviour that is required in society so that order and progress can be made. Obedience is useful throughout society in business, politics and everyday life, however, if the authority that is directing orders is not questioned, obedience can be blind and destructive, resulting in catastrophic incidents. Stanley Milgram famously conducted controversial but groundbreaking research into human obedience to authority. This essay will first of all describe the background, the procedure and the results from the study and then go on to evaluate the validity and discuss the impact it has had on our understanding of obedience.

Milgram carried out his study of obedience to authority (1962 - 1963) with the intention to find to what extent people will obey authority. When trialled, veteran Nazis of World War Two claimed they were ‘only following orders’, and it was this that inspired Milgram to carry out his research (Cardwell, 1996 p. 53). “How is it possible… that ordinary people who are courteous and decent in every day life can act callously and inhumanly without any limitations of conscience?” asks Milgram (cheyennemangum, 2011). Milgram wanted to put to test the Hypothesis that Germans were naturally more obedient to authority as opposed to other nationalities and find out under what circumstances causes obedience to authority (Gross, 2010 p. 415).

For his original procedure, Milgram used 40 males between the ages of 20 and 50 as subjects, recruited through newspaper advertisements appealing for volunteers for a study of memory. The experiment was conducted in a labo...


... middle of paper ...


...thority to be questioned, as it is the case more often than not, that the authority many promote is not legitimate or deserved. This awareness promotes freethinking against authority figures that may have more sinister intentions.

Milgram’s research has told us that obedience levels depend on several aspects, perceived authority, context, social models and waved responsibility of actions. People’s tendency to obey authority has been shown to override any moral principles although the study has also shown that the people who are obeying orders that are immoral do suffer severe internal conflict when acting out these orders. This raises the question whether destructive obedience to authority is learned, instinctive, or both. Obedience therefore is a behavior of humans that can be positively constructive or, if not questioned by the individual, blindly destructive.




Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Types Of Social Influence Compliance, Obedience, And Conformity Essay

- Social influence is the process whereby attitudes and behaviour are influenced by the real or implied presence of other people (Hogg & Vaughan, 2011). There are three types of social influence compliance, obedience, and conformity. This essay will focus on conformity and obedience. These issues will be examined by considering classic studies and contemporary implications. Obedience is a social influence in which the less powerful person in an unequal power relationship submits to the demands of the more powerful person....   [tags: Social psychology, Milgram experiment, Conformity]

Better Essays
1838 words (5.3 pages)

Essay about Conformity, Compliance, And Obedience

- People interact with other humans every day, whether it be in a group or individual setting. When people interact with others, it can be a good or bad experience. While at work, school, or even home, people are in constant contact with each other in some form. When we are children, our friends and family influence us. As we age, our peers continue to influence us. Social influence is studying how people are affected by interacting with each other and is an interesting part of what makes us unique (Matlin, 2013)....   [tags: Milgram experiment, Stanford prison experiment]

Better Essays
1719 words (4.9 pages)

The Dilemma Of Destructive Obedience Essay

- How does your text explain the dilemma of destructive obedience. What factors play a role in destructive obedience. Destructive obedience has been very detrimental to mankind. With such instances as Holocaust or the genocide headed by the Hutu government against the Tutsis, but the question that comes up is “why does people conform to destructive obedience. Baron & Branscombe explains the dilemma of destructive obedience in four sections as to why a person may partake in destructive obedience in the first place....   [tags: Sociology, Social psychology, Persuasion]

Better Essays
1111 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on Ways to Alter an Individual's Behavior

- This essay will highlight, through the use of evidence that has been recorded from studies conducted, ways that an individual’s behaviour can be altered and any ethical issues that may be encountered. There have been many studies that have been conducted over the years by social psychologists wanting to better understand a person’s behaviour, with an aim at observing the contributing factors; which may change or have an influence on how people conduct themselves. Social psychologists therefore look at the conditions by which behaviour and feelings occur....   [tags: influence, obedience, conformity]

Better Essays
1646 words (4.7 pages)

The Theories Of Obedience And Disobedience Essay

- The concepts of obedience and disobedience are evident from the beginning of one 's life. Young children are born with the tendency to do things that are against what they are told or what they know they should do. They don 't have to learn how to disobey; it is an innate behavior. This struggle between obedience and disobedience carries on throughout our lives. There are three major factors that can cause obedience and disobedience; authority, social pressure, and situations. Each of these vastly impact an individual 's behavior and cause them to act in ways they would normally not....   [tags: Stanford prison experiment, Milgram experiment]

Better Essays
1152 words (3.3 pages)

Essay about The Theories Of Obedience And Disobedience

- In order to understand the phenomena of obedience and disobedience, it is essential to understand the causes of these behaviors. The first and most common cause of both obedience and disobedience is authority. Countless examples demonstrate the significant impact of authority on a person’s behavior. The Milgram Experiment, conducted in 1963 by a Yale psychologist, was a prime illustration of how authority can greatly influence the actions of an individual. In the Milgram Experiment, there were two volunteers who were assigned the roles of either the “teacher” or the “learner.” The teacher would ask the learner a series of questions and if the learner answered a question incorrectly, the teac...   [tags: Stanford prison experiment, Milgram experiment]

Better Essays
723 words (2.1 pages)

Social Influences On Behavior And Behavior Essay

- Social Influences On Behavior It is not surprising that philosophers and scientists study what effects the social environment has on the thoughts, emotions, and behavior of the people because the world is very converse. Social psychology is the study of what effects groups have on individuals and how experiencing part of a group affects a person’s thinking, feelings, and behavior. People like to reflect themselves as independent, however, a person’s actions is influenced by the perspectives and engagements of the people around him or her....   [tags: Sociology, Psychology, Social psychology]

Better Essays
1022 words (2.9 pages)

Factors Influencing Conformity and Obedience Essay

- Factors Influencing Conformity and Obedience The object of this paper is to critically evaluate factors influencing conformity and obedience. I intend to do this by researching conformity and obedience, using books and the Internet. I also hope to briefly write about relevant case studies, by psychologists such as Milgram and Baumrind, and include real life examples to present a well-informed essay. Conformity and obedience are both forms of social influence which is described as "the process by which an individuals attitudes, beliefs or behaviours are modified by the presence or actions of others" Cardwell,Clarke, Meldrum, 1996....   [tags: Papers]

Better Essays
1839 words (5.3 pages)

Different Methods That Parents Use to Raise Their Children Essay

- When one observes any individual, the observer often assumes that that individual became who they are as a result of their own choices and actions. While this assumption is partially true, it is also true that much of who a person becomes is determined by how they were raised. Parents have an immense influence on their children and, therefore, are significant factors in the development of their children’s emotional, social, and intellectual well-being. Therefore, parents need to make wise choices in the way they raise their children....   [tags: authoritative methods, obedience, neglect]

Better Essays
1567 words (4.5 pages)

Psychological Processes that May Be Involved in Obedience to Authority Essay examples

- Psychological Processes that May Be Involved in Obedience to Authority Obedience is the following of someone else's instructions or orders to do something. The instructions are usually from someone who has authority such as a parent or teacher. Milgram proposed the agentic state theory; this is where we act as an agent of someone who has authority, it means that we find it easy to deny personal responsibility for our actions because we have just been following orders or doing our job....   [tags: Papers]

Better Essays
1003 words (2.9 pages)