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Asch and Milgram Research

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Social psychology scientists are concerned with conformity and obedience. Conformity is the act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to other individuals while on the other hand Obedience can be defined as acting in of obeying another individual, usually an authority figure. Studies on these aspects have led to development of Asch Conformity experiment that was put forward by Solomon Asch of Swarthmore College and Obedience to Authority by Stanley Milgram of Yale University.

Milgram was interested in explaining the behavioral response when the demands and values of authority clash with the demands and values of conscience. His experiment involved the participants to teach a list of word pairs to an associate and to castigate mistakes by conveying shocks.  The students, who were confederate, were strapped to a chair with an electrode secured to their wrist and placed in an adjacent room. 

The teacher, participant in the study were in charge of teaching word pairs and delivering shocks. 65% proceeded to 450 volt, and when the student was told to plea still 63% went to 450 volts.  Results reveal the magnitude to which people will obey an authority.   The victims’ emotional distance, the authority’s closeness and legitimacy, whether or not the authority is institutionalized, the liberating effects of disobedient fellow part among others have been found to affect obedience to authority figure.

Asch experiments tested how people conform to the society. Eight participants who were seated in a row in a classroom (seven were confederates) in what was said to be a study on “perceptual judgment” At first the confederates correctly answered the questions all at the same time then they started answering the questions incorrectly. Cautious experimental structure placed erratic amount of pressure on the individual test subject. 32% of the genuine participants went along and conformed to the undoubtedly incorrect majority.

In both Asch’s and Milgram%u02B9s studies participants were pressurized between following their standards and being responsive to others. Milgram’s obedience to authority figures clearly explains why soldiers are involved in massacre and destruction. This is because they feel that they are following orders and it is their obligation to do so since it has been dictated by their authority figure.

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