Authority And Conformity Analysis

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Are 65% of humans unethical beings with the capability of killing someone on command? Based on the findings of Stanley Milgram’s obedience test in 1963, this could be true if someone holding authority persists. In Milgram’s test he had people administer shocks to a “learner” under the guise of a memory experiment, slowly raising the intensity of the shock as the learner continued to make mistakes. Only 35% of these subjects disobeyed the scientist and refused to continue administered shocks, why is this? Lauren Slater, the author of Opening Skinner’s Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century, spoke to a subject who refused to administer a shock, Joshua, as well as, a subject who complied with the scientist’s commands, Jacob.…show more content…
Societal norms tend to govern the way we dress, act, and mingle with others. You may think you have a strong set of morals and you’d never succumb to the ideal of the masses, but no one came into the experiment believing they’d “kill” a man in a memory test. Brad J. Bushman attempted to uncover the mystery of conformity in his work titled, “Perceived Symbols of Authority and their Influence on Conformity.” Bushman conducted an experiment where men with three different perceived statuses, a blue color worker, businessman, and fireman, told a random subject to give them a dime for the parking meter. Bushman concluded that, “…the dress of the perceived authority not only affects the number of Ss who conform, but also the type of conformity, the type of nonconformity, and the …[cannot read text] request and conformity,” (Bushman 3). He found that uniforms display a distinct social status and despite a fireman having no direct relation to a parking meter (like a police man would) many subjects gave him a dime. Though it was suggested that older people would be less likely to conform due to their awareness of social standing, the study found that younger people were more skeptic of the experimenter. If we consider someone as a person of a higher caliber than ourselves, we are putting them on a pedestal of possible false authority. Yet society will tell us if you wear a Rolex watch and are chauffeured in a limo, you hold some sort of power against us. However, if we are aware of this anomaly should we not be able to resist
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