Milgram's Experiment: The Legitimacy Of Authority

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Obedience is a form of social influence where an individual acts in response to a direct order from another individual, who is usually an authority figure such as a policeman. There are several explanations as to why people tend to obey others, for example; The Agentic State. This is when an individual goes through an ‘agentic shift’, where they shift from autonomy to ‘agency’. This means they are now said to be an ‘agent’ who is following the orders of another individual, thus making them feel as though the other individual is responsible for their actions. Therefore, this makes them more likely to commit immoral things as they believe the other individual is to blame. This is supported by Milgram’s experiment as he believes some of the participants…show more content…
In 1974, Kilman and Mann repeated the experiment in Australia, and found that only 16% of their participants went all the way to 450 V. However, when repeated by Mantell in 1971 in Germany, he found that 85% of his participants went all the way to 450 V. The 69% difference could be due to the difference in how their societies hierarchy of authority is structured. From the results, it is evident that some Germans possess the Authoritarian personality; which is a distinct personality pattern characterised by strict adherence to conventional values and a belief in absolute obedience or submission to authority. On the other hand, Australia has maintained a liberal democratic political system in which they ‘seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance and conformity.’ Therefore, suggesting they would be less likely to obey the rules as they believe in equality, so they wouldn’t see the experimenter as being more superior to them. In conclusion, The Legitimacy of Authority is a valid explanation of obedience as it shows how likely people are to obey based on the amount of authority a person
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