Describe and interpret the outcomes of Stanley Milgram’s study on obedience to authority.Compare the different types of power proposed by john French and also Bertram Raven and also explain how they produce conformity.Define leadership and explain how effective leaders are figured out by the person, the situation, and the person-situation interaction.

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One of the fundamental aspects of social interaction is that some people have an ext influence than others. Social power have the right to be identified as the capability of a person to create conformity even when the civilization being influenced may effort to withstand those changes (Fiske, 1993; Keltner, Gruenfeld, & Anderson, 2003). Bosses have actually power over their workers, parents have actually power over your children, and, an ext generally, we can say the those in authority have power over your subordinates. In short, power refers to the procedure of social influence itself—those who have power space those that are many able to influence others.

Milgram’s researches on Obedience to Authority

The powerful ability the those in authority to control others to be demonstrated in a remarkable set of studies performed by Stanley Milgram (1963). Milgram to be interested in expertise the factors that lead human being to follow the orders given by people in authority. The designed a study in which he could observe the extent to i m sorry a person who gift himself together an authority would be able to produce obedience, even to the level of leading civilization to reason harm come others.

Like his professor Solomon Asch, Milgram’s attention in social influence stemmed in component from his desire come understand just how the presence of a powerful person—particularly the German dictator Adolf Hitler who ordered the death of millions of human being during civilization War II—could develop obedience. Under Hitler’s direction, the German SS troops oversaw the execution of 6 million Jews and also other “undesirables,” consisting of political and spiritual dissidents, homosexuals, mentally and also physically disabled people, and also prisoners of war. Milgram used newspaper ads to recruit males (and in one study, women) from a wide selection of backgrounds to participate in his research. When the research study participant arrived on the lab, that or she was introduced to a male who the participant believed was another research participant yet who was actually an experimental confederate. The experimenter explained that the goal of the research was to research the results of penalty on learning. After ~ the participant and also the confederate both consented come participate in the study, the researcher explained that one of them would be randomly assigned to be the teacher and the various other the learner. They to be each given a slip of document and request to open up it and to indicate what the said. In reality both documents read teacher, which permitted the confederate to pretend that he had been assigned to it is in the learner and thus to guarantee that the really participant was always the teacher. If the research participant (now the teacher) looked on, the learner was taken right into the adjoining shock room and strapped to an electrode that was to deliver the punishment. The experimenter explained that the teacher’s project would it is in to sit in the regulate room and also to review a list of word pairs to the learner. After ~ the teacher review the perform once, it would certainly be the learner’s project to remember i m sorry words go together. For instance, if the word pair to be blue-sofa, the teacher would certainly say words blue on the experimentation trials and the learner would need to indicate i m sorry of four feasible words (house, sofa, cat, or carpet) to be the exactly answer by pressing one of 4 buttons in former of him. After ~ the experimenter provided the “teacher” a sample shock (which was said to be at 45 volts) to demonstrate that the shocks really were painful, the experiment began. The research study participant an initial read the perform of words come the learner and then began testing the on his learning.

The shock panel, as shown in figure 6.9, “The Shock Apparatus offered in Milgram’s Obedience Study,” was presented in former of the teacher, and the learner was no visible in the shock room. The experimenter sat behind the teacher and explained come him the each time the learner made a mistake the teacher was to press among the shock switches to administer the shock. They were to begin with the smallest feasible shock (15 volts) yet with every mistake the shock was to increased by one level (an extr 15 volts).

Figure 6.9 Milgram Experiment v2. Initial uploader was Expiring frog in ~ en.wikipedia, under CC by SA (

Once the learner (who was, the course, actually an experimental confederate) was alone in the shock room, that unstrapped himself from the shock machine and lugged out a ice cream recorder that he used to beat a prerecorded series of responses that the teacher could hear with the wall of the room. Together you deserve to see in Table 6.1,”The Confederate’s Schedule of Protest in the Milgram Experiments,” the teacher heard the learner say “ugh!” after the first couple of shocks. After the next couple of mistakes, as soon as the shock level got to 150 volts, the learner was heard come exclaim “Get me out of here, please. Mine heart’s starting to bother me. I refuse to walk on. Let me out!” as the shock reached around 270 volts, the learner’s protests became more vehement, and after 300 volts the learner proclaimed the he was not going to answer any an ext questions. Indigenous 330 volts and up the learner was silent. The experimenter comment to participants’ concerns at this point, if they asked any, with a scripted solution indicating that they should continue reading the questions and applying boosting shock when the student did no respond.

Table 6.1 The Confederate’s Schedule that Protest in the Milgram Experiments

75 voltsUgh!
90 voltsUgh!
105 voltsUgh! (louder)
120 voltsUgh! Hey, this really hurts.
135 voltsUgh!!
150 voltsUgh!! Experimenter! that’s all. Acquire me the end of here. Ns told girlfriend I had heart trouble. Mine heart’s starting to bother me now. Get me the end of here, please. Mine heart’s starting to bother me. I refuse to go on. Let me out!
165 voltsUgh! let me out! (shouting)
180 voltsUgh! i can’t stand the pain. Permit me out of here! (shouting)
195 voltsUgh! allow me out of here! permit me out of here! mine heart’s bothering me. Permit me out of here! You have no ideal to save me here! let me out! let me the end of here! allow me out! allow me out of here! my heart’s bothering me. Let me out! permit me out!
210 voltsUgh!! Experimenter! Get me out of here. I’ve had enough. I won’t it is in in the experiment any type of more.
225 voltsUgh!
240 voltsUgh!
255 voltsUgh! get me out of here.
270 volts(agonized scream) let me the end of here. Permit me out of here. Permit me the end of here. Permit me out. Execute you hear? let me out of here.
285 volts(agonized scream)
300 volts(agonized scream) ns absolutely refuse come answer any type of more. Obtain me out of here. You can’t organize me here. Gain me out. Obtain me the end of here.
315 volts(intensely agonized scream) allow me out of here. Allow me the end of here. Mine heart’s bothering me. Let me out, ns tell you. (hysterically) allow me out of here. Permit me out of here. You have no ideal to host me here. Allow me out! let me out! allow me out! allow me out of here! let me out! let me out!

Before Milgram conducted his study, he explained the procedure to 3 groups—college students, middle-class adults, and psychiatrists—asking each of them if they assumed they would shock a participant that made enough errors at the highest end of the scale (450 volts). One hundreds percent of all three groups thought they would certainly not carry out so. He then asked castle what percentage of “other people” would certainly be most likely to use the highest finish of the shock scale, in ~ which point the three groups demonstrated impressive consistency through all developing (rather optimistic) estimates of roughly 1% come 2%.

The outcomes of the actual experiments were themselves quite shocking. Although every one of the participants gave the initial mild level of shock, responses differed after that. Part refused to proceed after about 150 volts, regardless of the insistence that the experimenter to continue to boost the shock level. Quiet others, however, continued to present the questions, and also to carry out the shocks, under the push of the experimenter, that demanded the they continue. In the end, 65% that the participants continued giving the shock to the student all the method up come the 450 volts maximum, even though that shock was marked as “danger: significant shock,” and there had been no response heard from the participant for several trials. In sum, virtually two-thirds of the males who participated had, as much as castle knew, shocked one more person come death, all as component of a claimed experiment ~ above learning.

Studies comparable to Milgram’s findings have because been carried out all over the human being (Blass, 1999), with obedience rates ranging from a high the 90% in Spain and also the Netherlands (Meeus & Raaijmakers, 1986) to a short of 16% among Australian women (Kilham & Mann, 1974). In instance you space thinking the such high level of obedience would not be it was observed in today’s modern-day culture, over there is proof that they would certainly be. Recently, Milgram’s results were virtually exactly replicated, utilizing men and women indigenous a wide variety of ethnic groups, in a study conducted by Jerry Burger at Santa Clara University. In this replication the the Milgram experiment, 65% the the men and also 73% that the women agreed to carry out increasingly painful electrical shocks as soon as they were ordered come by an authority number (Burger, 2009). In the replication, however, the participants to be not permitted to go past the 150 volt shock switch.

Although it can be tempting come conclude the Milgram’s experiments demonstrate that human being are innately evil creatures who are ready to shock others to death, Milgram walk not think that this to be the case. Rather, he felt the it to be the social situation, and also not the civilization themselves, the was responsible for the behavior. To show this, Milgram conducted research that explored a variety of variations on his original procedure, every of which demonstrated that changes in the situation could dramatically influence the amount of obedience. This variations room summarized in figure 6.10.

Figure 6.10 Authority and also Obedience in Stanley Milgram’s Studies

This figure presents the percentage of entrants in Stanley Milgram’s (1974) research studies on obedience who were maximally obedient (that is, who gave all 450 volts that shock) in some of the variations the he conducted. In the initial study, the authority’s status and power to be maximized—the experimenter had actually been introduced as a respected scientist at a respect university. However, in replications the the research in which the experimenter’s authority was decreased, obedience also declined. In one replication the status of the experimenter was diminished by having actually the experiment take place in a structure located in Bridgeport, Connecticut, rather than in ~ the labs ~ above the Yale college campus, and the study was ostensibly sponsored by a personal commercial research study firm instead of through the university. In this study, much less obedience was observed (only 48% of the participants yielded the preferably shock). Full obedience was also reduced (to 20%) as soon as the experimenter’s capability to express his government was restricted by having actually him sit in an adjoining room and communicate come the teacher by telephone. And also when the experimenter left the room and also had one more student (actually a confederate) provide the instructions for him, obedience was likewise reduced come 20%.

In enhancement to the function of authority, Milgram’s studies additionally confirmed the duty of unanimity in creating obedience. When an additional research participant (again an speculative confederate) started by giving the shocks but then later refused to continue and also the participant was asked to take it over, only 10% were obedient. And also if 2 experimenters to be present but only one suggest shocking while the other argued for preventing the shocks, every the study participants took the more benevolent advice and did no shock. However perhaps most telling to be the researches in i m sorry Milgram enabled the entrants to select their very own shock levels or in which among the experimenters argued that they should not actually usage the shock machine. In this situations, there was practically no shocking. These conditions show that world do not prefer to damage others, and when provided a selection they will certainly not. Top top the other hand, the social instance can create powerful, and potentially deadly, social influence.

One last note around Milgram’s studies: Although Milgram explicitly focused top top the situational factors that led to better obedience, these have been uncovered to communicate with particular personality characteristics (yet another instance of a person-situation interaction). Specifically, authoritarianism (a propensity to choose things to be an easy rather than complex and to hold classic values), conscientiousness (a tendency to be responsible, orderly, and dependable), and agreeableness (a propensity to be great natured, cooperative, and trusting) space all related to higher levels the obedience whereas higher moral reasoning (the manner in which one makes honest judgments) and social intelligence (an capability to construct a clean perception the the situation using situational cues) both guess resistance to the demands of the authority figure (Bègue et al., 2014; Blass, 1991).

Before moving on come the next section, it is worth noting the although we have questioned both conformity and also obedience in this chapter, they room not the same thing. While both are creates of society influence, we most frequently tend come conform to our peers, whereas we follow those in positions of authority. Furthermore, the pressure to conform tends to it is in implicit, vice versa, the stimulate to obey is typically rather explicit. And also finally, whereas world don’t choose admitting to having actually conformed (especially via normative social influence), they will more readily suggest to the authority figure as the resource of your actions (especially once they have done something they room embarrassed or awkward of).

Social Psychology in the public Interest

Figure 6. 11 Source: Abu Ghraib Abuse standing on box ( is in the general public domain (

The Stanford Prison Study and Abu Ghraib

In Milgram’s research we can see a provocative demonstrate of how world who have actually power can manage the actions of others. Have the right to our understanding of the social psychological determinants that develop obedience aid us describe the occasions that arisen in 2004 at Abu Ghraib, the Iraqi jail in which U.S. Soldiers physically and also psychologically tortured their Iraqi prisoners? The society psychologist Philip Zimbardo think so. He notes the parallels in between the occasions that developed at Abu Ghraib and the events that developed in the “prison study” the he conducted in 1971 (Stanford jail Study. Retrieved from

In that study, Zimbardo and also his colleagues set up a mock prison. They selected 23 college student volunteers and divided them right into two groups. One team was chosen to be the “prisoners.” They were picked up at their dwellings by really police officers, “arrested,” and also brought come the prison to it is in guarded by the other team of students—the “guards.” The two groups were placed in a setup that to be designed come look prefer a genuine prison, and also the role-play began.

The examine was expected to run for 2 weeks. However, on the 2nd day, the prisoners tried come rebel versus the guards. The guards easily moved to prevent the rebellion by using both emotional punishment and physical abuse. In the occurring days, the guards denied the prisoners food, water, and sleep; shoot them with fire-extinguisher spray; threw their blankets right into the dirt; required them to clean toilet bowls with their bare hands; and also stripped castle naked. ~ above the 5th night the experimenters observed the guards putting bags over the prisoners’ heads, chaining their legs, and also marching lock around. At this point, a previous student who was not involved with the study spoke up, heralding the treatment of the prisoners to it is in immoral. Together a result, the researchers stopped the experiment early.

The conclusions of Zimbardo’s study were watch clear: people may it is in so profoundly influenced by your social instance that they become coldhearted jail masters that torture your victims. Arguably, this conclusion might be used to the research team itself, i m sorry seemingly neglected moral principles in the search of their research study goals. Zimbardo’s study may help us know the events that developed at Abu Ghraib, a armed forces prison supplied by the U.S. Military following the effective toppling of the dictator Saddam Hussein. Zimbardo acted together an expert witness in the psychological of Sergeant Chip Frederick, who was sentenced to eight years in prison for his duty in the abuse in ~ Abu Ghraib. Frederick was the army reservist that was put in charge of the night shift at Tier 1A, whereby the detainees were abused. Throughout this trial, Frederick said, “What i did to be wrong, and I don’t know why i did it.” Zimbardo believes the Frederick acted precisely like the students in the prison study. He worked in a prison the was overcrowded, filthy, and dangerous, and also where he was intended to maintain regulate over the Iraqi prisoners—in short, the situation he found himself in to be very comparable to the of Zimbardo’s jail study.

In a current interview, Zimbardo said (you deserve to tell that he is a social psychologist) that “human habits is much more influenced by things external of us than inside.” that believes that, regardless of our ethical and spiritual beliefs and despite the innate goodness of people, there space times when external circumstances have the right to overwhelm us and we will carry out things we never thought us were capable of doing. He suggested that “if she not conscious that this can happen, you can be seduced through evil. We require inoculations against our own potential for evil. We need to acknowledge it. Then we can readjust it” (Driefus, 2007).

You might wonder even if it is the extreme behavior of the guards and prisoners in Zimbardo’s prison study was unique to the specific social context that he created. Recent research through Stephen Reicher and also Alex Haslam (2006) suggests that this is undoubtedly the case. In their research, lock recreated Zimbardo’s prison study while making some small, but important, changes. Because that one, the prisoners were no “arrested” before the study began, and the setup of the jail was much less realistic. Furthermore, the researcher in this experiment told the “guards” and also the “prisoners” that the groups were arbitrary and also could adjust over time (that is, that some prisoners might be able to be promoted to guards). The results of this research were entirely various than those found by Zimbardo. This examine was additionally stopped early, but more due to the fact that the guards feeling uncomfortable in their superior position than because the prisoners were gift abused. This “prison” simply did no feel favor a actual prison to the participants, and, as a result, lock did not take top top the roles they to be assigned. Again, the conclusions room clear—the special, of the society situation, an ext than the human being themselves, are regularly the many important components of behavior.

Types of Power

One of the most prominent theories of power was arisen by Bertram Raven and John French (French & Raven, 1959; Raven, 1992). Raven figured out five different species of power—reward power, coercive power, legitimate power, referent power, and also expert power (shown in Table 6.2, “Types that Power”), saying that each kind of power involves a different type of society influence and also that the different species vary in regards to whether their usage will create public compliance or exclusive acceptance. Knowledge the varieties of power is important due to the fact that it enables us to check out more plainly the many ways that world can affect others. Let’s think about these five types of power, start with those that are most most likely to create public compliance only and also moving on come those that are an ext likely to produce private acceptance.Table 6.2 varieties of Power

Note: French and Raven suggest five species of power, which differ in their likelihood of producing public compliance or private acceptance.
Reward powerThe ability to distribute confident or an unfavorable rewards
Coercive powerThe capability to dispense punishments
Legitimate powerAuthority that comes from a id on the part of those being affected that the person has actually a legitimate right to need obedience
Referent powerInfluence based on identification with, attraction to, or respect for the power-holder
Expert powerPower that comes from others’ ideas that the power-holder own superior skills and abilities

Reward Power

Reward power occurs when one human is may be to affect others by giving them with hopeful outcomes. Bosses have actually reward strength over employees due to the fact that they space able to increase employees’ salary and also job benefits, and also teachers have reward power over students because they have the right to assign student high marks. The selection of rewards that can be used by the an effective is practically endless and includes verbal praise or approval, the awarding of standing or prestige, and also even direct financial payment. The ability to wield reward power over those we want to influence is random on the requirements of the person being influenced. Strength is greater when the human being influenced has actually a strong desire to obtain the reward, and also power is weaker once the individual does not require the reward. A boss will have an ext influence on one employee who has no other job prospects than on one that is being sought ~ by other corporations, and expensive presents will certainly be more effective in persuading those who cannot purchase the items v their own money. Because the change in actions that outcomes from reward strength is moved by the price itself, its usage is usually much more likely to produce public compliance than exclusive acceptance.

Coercive Power

Coercive power is power the is based on the ability to create an unfavorable outcomes for others, for circumstances by bullying, intimidating, or otherwise punishing. Bosses have actually coercive strength over employees if they are able (and willing) come punish employee by reducing your salary, demoting them come a lower position, ashamed them, or shoot them. And also friends have the right to coerce each other through teasing, humiliation, and ostracism. People who are punished too much are most likely to look for other situations that provide more positive outcomes.

In countless cases, power-holders use reward and coercive strength at the exact same time—for instance, by both raising salaries as a an outcome of confident performance but additionally threatening to mitigate them if the performance drops. Because the use of coercion has actually such negative consequences, authorities are generally much more likely to usage reward 보다 coercive power (Molm, 1997). Coercion is usually more daunting to use, because it regularly requires power to keep the person from avoiding the penalty by leave the situation altogether. And coercive power is less preferable for both the power-holder and the human being influenced since it create an environment of an adverse feelings and also distrust that is likely to make interactions difficult, weaken satisfaction, and also lead come retaliation against the power-holder (Tepper et al., 2009). As with reward power, coercive power is much more likely to produce public compliance than private acceptance. Furthermore, in both instances the effective use of the power requires that the power-holder continually screen the habits of the target to be certain that the or she is complying. This monitoring may itself cause a sense of mistrust between the two individuals in the relationship. The power-holder feel (perhaps unjustly) that the target is only complying as result of the monitoring, conversely, the target feeling (again probably unjustly) that the power-holder does no trust him or her.

Legitimate Power

Whereas reward and coercive power are likely to develop the wanted behavior, other varieties of power, which space not so very focused roughly reward and also punishment, are more likely to create changes in attitudes (private acceptance) and also behavior. In many ways, then, these resources of power space stronger because they produce real id change. Legitimate power is power vested in those who are appointed or chosen to positions of authority, such together teachers, politicians, police officers, and judges, and also their power is successful due to the fact that members the the group accept it as appropriate. We accept that federal governments can raise taxes and also that judges have the right to decide the outcomes that court cases due to the fact that we view these groups and also individuals together valid parts of ours society. People with legit power deserve to exert an extensive influence on your followers.

Those with legitimate power may not only create changes in the behavior of others but likewise have the strength to produce and adjust the social norms of the group. In some cases, legitimate power is given to the authority number as a result of regulations or elections, or as part of the norms, traditions, and values the the society. The power that the experimenter had over the study participants in Milgram’s research on obedience seems to have been generally the an outcome of his legitimate strength as a respect scientist at critical university. In various other cases, legitimate power comes an ext informally, as a an outcome of being a respected group member. Human being who add to the group procedure and follow group norms gain status in ~ the group and also therefore earn legitimate power.

In some cases, legitimate strength can even be used effectively by those who execute not it seems ~ to have actually much power. After Hurricane Katrina struggle the city of new Orleans in 2005, the people there demanded the the United says federal government assist them rebuild the city. Back these human being did not have actually much reward or coercive power, lock were nonetheless perceived as great and respected citizens of the joined States. Many U.S. Citizens often tend to believe that civilization who perform not have actually as lot as others (for instance, those that are really poor) should be treated relatively and that these human being may legitimately need resources from those who have more. This might not constantly work, however to the level that the does it to represent a kind of legitimate power—power that comes from a id in the appropriateness or duty to respond to the inquiry of others with legitimate standing.

Referent Power

People v referent power have an capacity to affect others due to the fact that they deserve to lead those others to determine with them. In this case, the human being who offers the influence is (a) a member of critical reference group—someone we personally admire and attempt to emulate; (b) a charismatic, dynamic, and persuasive leader; or (c) a person who is particularly attractive or famed (Heath, McCarthy, & Mothersbaugh, 1994; Henrich & Gil-White, 2001; Kamins, 1989; Wilson & Sherrell, 1993).

A young son who mimics the opinions or habits of an larger sibling or a renowned sportsperson, or a religious person who adheres to the advice that a respected religious leader, is influenced by referent power. Referent power normally produces exclusive acceptance fairly than public compliance (Kelman, 1961). The influence carried on by referent power may take place in a passive sense since the human being emulated does not necessarily attempt to influence others, and the human who is being affected may not even realize that the influence is occurring. In other cases, however, the human being with referent strength (such together the leader the a cult) may make complete use the his or her status as the target of to know or respect to produce change. In either case, referent strength is a an especially strong source of influence due to the fact that it is likely to an outcome in the accept of the opinions the the necessary other.

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Expert Power

French and also Raven’s final source of strength is professional power. Specialists have expertise or information, and also conforming come those whom us perceive come be experts is useful for do decisions about issues for which we have actually insufficient expertise. Expert power hence represents a kind of informational influence based upon the basic desire to achieve valid and accurate information, and where the result is most likely to be private acceptance. Conformity to the ideas or instructions of doctors, teachers, lawyers, and computer professionals is an example of skilled influence; we assume that these individuals have actually valid information about their areas of expertise, and also we expropriate their opinions based on this regarded expertise (particularly if their advice appears to be successful in solving problems). Indeed, one technique of enhancing one’s strength is to come to be an expert in a domain. Experienced power is enhanced for those who possess more information about a appropriate topic than others do due to the fact that the others need to turn come this separation, personal, instance to get the information. You have the right to see, then, the if you want to influence others, it deserve to be valuable to get as much information about the topic together you can.