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- one of the most controversial experiments of all time because at this time you just could not cause physical harm but after milgram ethical changes made so you could not cause psychological harm as well
- milgram was interested in how the german population could come to enact Hitler's ideology
- 40 men of various ages and backgrounds were recruited for a study on "memory and learning" at Yale
- One real subject would be teacher and one confederate learner (always drew for these positions but they were rigged)
- the subject watched as learned was strapped into electric chair and was then led to an adjacent rooms with a "shock generator" showing a dial with 15-450 volts
- did a word association fast and every missed word by learned was associated with a shock of increasing intensity
- despite the fact that they could quit at any time, every subject continued to administer to 300 V while learner screamed and moaned, only 4 prods were used by the confedetae (experimenter) usually just like, please continue, you must go on, it is absolutely essential that you continue
- 25/40 actually stayed with the experiment until end, 450 v; predictions were that most people would stop at 200 volts (with people saying they themselves would stop at 150) and that hardly anyone would go all the way
- subject responses varied from sobbing, nervous laughter, seizure, pleasure
- when replicated recently but only up to 150 vets still see 70% of people continue to that point (a point at which most ppl in actual mil gram studied continued all the way), also compliance with women was shown to be similar
*group size - more than one person is required to create social pressure to conform, but research suggests between 3-5 are enough to have a sig. effect and according to social impact theory, first few people have more power than those subsequently added to the group, also the way the group was packaged matter - if seen as smaller independent groups then people conformed more than if seen as one big group
* unanimity - if not all people in a group agree, this reduces its social power...it's comforting to have at least one other person support you behaviour/thinking - people will be much less likely to conform if just one person break unanimity but will often not admit that this is why they did not conform
* cohesion - the more "together" or cohesive an "anti-group" within a larger group (not just whether they agree but if they get along) is the more influence it has over its members, people do not want to go against their own group, easier to go against someone else's
* status - people with higher status within a group tend to have more power of the actions of others (inferred from various external cues such as clothing)
* public response - people conform more when they have to respond publicly (Asch results not as salient when respondents could write down response)
* no prior commitment - after making a public response, people remain committed to it in the immediate moment even after it is questioned are less likely to change their response after the commitment has be made, although they might adjust later performance, the public commitment makes it harder to back down (more likely to have hanging verdicts when raise hands of jury than secrect ballet) (e.g. Olympic judging)
- link between personality traits and behaviours such as conformity is fairly weak (better to know the situation than somebody's personality type) but there are situations when it becomes a better predicator such as when we observe average response of individuals over a number of situations (principle of aggregation), when situation is less influenced by social influences ( not such as mil gram study where clearcut demands are made, but even then people still did deviate somewhat) and there is no room for individual personalities to counter the demands of the experimenter, even moods can influence it, if we have positive moods more likely to conform.
- Also dependent on where study takes places (cultural variations in responses in milgram and asch study depending on where it took place, collectivist cultures more likely to conform than individualistic and within a country working class more likely than middle class who prefer to see themselves as unique, also these cultural views can change over time, same study done in same place can have different results over time)
- also dependent on social roles; social roles allow for some freedom of interpretation but other aspects not as much. A role is defined by a cluster of norms such as the role of a student, see that they are there in the case of immigrants who feel distressed at first because they don't know the roles and when they go home will then even feel re-entry distress, need to "re-conform" to older roles; although social roles may change from country to country overall the principle that social roles matter; holds true