Why do we conform, and how far does it go? Solomon Asch asked this question and devised an experiment to see if subjects would conform even if they were uncertain that the group norm was incorrect, this eventually led to Milgram’s and Stanford’s own psychological questions about not only conformity, but also obedience and the roles in which people adapt. This paper will take a deeper look into these experiments, and apply their findings to current and past national events such as the American Armed Forced at detention facilities and the systematic torture of prisoners, along with how these experiments relate to advertising and how it is designed to stimulate a since of conformity among a generation. Finally how does society react towards
Cognitive Dissonance Theory was developed by social psychologist Leon Festinger. The theory was first introduced in his 1957 book A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance and further elaborated in the article Cognitive Consequences of Forced Compliance (Festinger and Carlsmith, 1959). Cognitive Dissonance refers to the discomfort that is felt when a person has two beliefs that conflict with each other, or when they are engaging in a behavior that conflicts with their values. The theory proposes that this discomfort motivates people to relieve the tension in one of two ways:
In the wake of Adolf Eichmann’s prosecution for commanding the slaying of over 1 million Jews, Psychologist Stanley Milgram called the role of authority into question. What would propel such evil acts from a seemingly normal man? In spite of what top psychologists assumed the outcome would be, the results were astounding. Despite the deep rooted convictions of the subjects opposed to causing physical harm to others, obedience to authority overcame the majority of the time (The Perils of Obedience by Stanley Milgram)
Since the beginning of the human existence, man has always dominated and ruled over one another be it empires, corporations, or small groups. Authority and obedience has always been a factor of who we are. This natural occurrence can be seen clearly through the psychological experiments known as The Milgram Experiment and the Stanford Prison Experiment. Both of these studies are based on how human beings react to authority figures and what their obedience is when faced with conflict.
Bruno Bettelheim once said, “Punishment may make us obey the orders we are given, but at best it will only teach an obedience to authority, not a self-control which enhances our self-respect.” More often than not, those surrounded by rules feel pressured to adhere to them due to the fear of repercussions. Even so, it is not guaranteed people will comply. Sometimes, being bound by rules can only make one feel rebellious. This proves to be true in Margaret Atwood’s speculative fiction novel, The Handmaid 's Tale. Through characterization, flashbacks, and point of view, Atwood demonstrates how strict rules lead to the temptation for defiance, despite the possible consequences.
Renowned psychologist and social experimenter Stanley Milgram once said that “obedience is the psychological mechanism that links individual action to political purpose. It is the dispositional cement that binds men to systems of authority.” In other words, man succumbs to authority because it is rooted in his obedience to jurisdiction. An example of this is the American judicial system, which man is obedient to because that is what’s known. His political or societal purpose however is a learned behavior, or one that he matriculates from the dynamic of his culture. In the short story “Antaeus” the author, Borden Deal, explores the idea of authority through his character T.J. In“Antaeus”, Borden Deal uses the characterization of T.J. to render that when man is unique and is separate from social norms he will have the determination to find a purpose in society, only to be overcome by the presence of authority causing the destruction of his fortitude.
When watching the film A Class Divided, a film over how people react to being separated by their eye color and though down on, and reading the article “Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problems” by Fromm, an article over why a person is obedient and how someone can be disobedient, a people learns a little bit about how quickly one's attitude and character can change rapidly and why someone might change or even conform to an authoritarian figure. People listen to their self-conscience but tend to conform a person in charge. A person, who is listening to an authority figure, has a hard time walking in a different direction than most people, but it is an act of courage to truly stand up. A person wants to please their own self-conscience,
David Myers (2014) writes, “Participants in the Asch and Milgram experiments confronted a dilemma we all face frequently: Do I adhere to my own standards, or do I respond to others? In Milgram’s experiments and their modern replications, participants were torn. Should they respond to the pleas of the victim or the orders of the experimenter? These experiments demonstrated that strong social influences can make people conform to falsehoods or capitulate to cruelty.” (p. 565). Asch’s experiments proved that people will conform to a group’s actions or behavior even when they are clearly in the wrong.
There are many ways to find out how individuals would react in certain situations, for example, by putting individuals in a simulation. Causing stress and discomfort to individuals in order to gain knowledge is at times necessary. For example, Stanley Milgram’s experiments which focus on obedience to authority and the extent a person is willing to ignore their own ethical beliefs and cause pain to another individual, just because he is ordered to do so. Stanley Milgram writes about his experiments and results in his article “The Perils of Obedience”. In his experiments Stanley Milgram causes subjects who have volunteered to be a part of them some stress and discomfort in order to receive relevant results. While some individuals believe they would never turn into puppets
In the milgram obedience study, volunteers were selected unknowingly to participate in na study in regard to compliance with authority. Participants believed that they had to induce shock on the person on the other side because they were told to do so by a higher authority. If we were to test this experiment out today, I do believe it would play a similar path. I believe that there would be conflict between authority and the participants. Still in today’s society the average person is still follows through with a higher authority figure even if something doesn’t seem right; “if a doctor says its okay, he’s a doctor he knows what he’s talking about.” That’s presumption that people have about authority figures. If I were put in a situation
The Stanley Milgram Experiment is a famous study about obedience in psychology which has been carried out by a Psychologist at the Yale University named, Stanley Milgram. He conducted an experiment focusing on the conflict between obedience to authority and personal conscience. In July 1961 the experiment was started for researching that how long a person can harm another person by obeying an instructor.
tasks but hindering it on difficult or newly learned ones. When people pool their efforts toward a
Obedience is a natural part of society, without it there’d be complete disorder. Society would be unstable and unproductive. If no one followed commands, it’d be impossible for society to run smoothly. “The subject is subordinate to the object for the purpose of seeking rewards or avoiding punishment” (Song, Ma, Wu, & Li, 2012, p. 1369). So, if people were not subordinate, there’d be no need to seek rewards or avoid punishment. This would allow people to break the law, not follow simple instructions, and break any rules set upon them. Further, this would stop them from doing their job or behaving correctly if there were no rewards or punishments. However, complete obedience may not be beneficial for society either. If every person in society did everything they were told to do by a superior, the results would most likely turn out not as expected. One might believe that this would be very good for society. They would say that it would make society more efficient and productive. This may be the case, but in addition to that society would lose something. If everyone did exactly as they were told they’d all be mindless drones. If people are blindly following orders even when it’s wrong, it’s safe to say they’ve become senseless with no individual thought. So when another person is wrong or a law in society is wrong, complete obedience is not necessarily a good thing. Overall though, I think social obedience generally is a good thing. Having a balance between obedience and insubordination is what society needs to function properly. It is important that social obedience exists, it allows for an ordered and efficient
This study employed the mixed-method research approach, combining both quantitative and qualitative research designs. Results from this study can be used to generalize the population from which the sample is taken. The data will be analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively for deeper interpretations such as understanding deviations in the gathered figures and evaluating the personal insights of the respondents. This research paper will investigate the reasons for teenagers’ conformity to peers and the positive and negative effects of peer pressure towards other teens.
We have been trained to be obedient to authority. This quality is deep-rooted in us all from the manner in which we were brought up. It is natural for people to obey orders from those whom they recognized as their authority. This is the natural response to legitimate authority and can be learnt in a variety of situations.