A real world example of how social norms and social roles shape people’s behaviour is that of the African genocide in Rwanda that left thousands dead on the account of obedience. The genocide in Rwanda could is comparable to the atrocities in the holocaust of Nazi Germany that compelled Milgram to conduct an experiment on obedience to authority (Milgram, 1963). Social roles and social norms basically give an explanation of how people’s behaviour is greatly influenced. The essay gives an account of Milgram’s experiment on obedience to authority. It also outlines how norms and social roles shape people’s behaviour with illustrations of how certain factors such as the agentic shift, settings, authority and commitment can influence people’s behaviour.
Social psychology is acknowledging how humans behave in a wider context and understanding how they can be influenced by other people. Individuals are likely to be influenced by social roles and social norms. In social roles, people change behaviour because of the role they play in a particular social group. This is expected from others of because of social norms which are unwritten rules about how individuals must behave in certain cultures and social groups.
Milgram’s experiment demonstrates that individuals are likely to obey in certain situations and settings. The aim of Milgram’s experiment was to find out the effect of obedience by asking ordinary American citizens to inflict pain on individuals. Milgram deceived the participants that the study related to scientific research to improve memory when its purpose was on obedience to authority. The teacher read out a list of the paired words to the learner who was part of Milgram’s research team. The teacher admin...
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...gram’s experiment the levels of obedience dropped when orders were given on the phone. This implies that closeness to authority results in effective and efficiency in carrying out tasks given. The third factor which is commitment, participants carried out the task because they knew that they had a commitment to accomplish because they were paid. Lastly, the settings show the rate of obedience levels, meaning that the outcomes of the results can be influenced if the setting is natural or artificial.
Hoffling, Brotzman, Darlymple, Graves, & Bierce. (1966). An experimental study of nure-physician relations. Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases .
Milgram, S. (1963).
Milgram, S. (1963). Behaviourial Study of Obedience . 1-7.
Milgram, S. (1974). Obedience to Authority. . Reading : Cox & Wyman .
Myers, D., Abel, J., & Sani, F. (n.d.). Social Psychology .
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