Conformity And Obedience Essays
His work, The Perils of Obedience, studied whether average individuals would obey an authority figure, telling them to do something that harms another individual. In his study, the teacher is instructed to read a list of words and ask the learner to recite them back. but we also find our thinking changing because we belong to a group (p. Groups have the tendency to generate norms, or standards for behavior in certain situations. Not following these norms can make you stand out and, therefore, groups have the ability to influence our thoughts and actions in ways that are consistent with the groups . His research helped illustrate how groups encourage conformity. During a typical experiment, members of the group were asked by the experimenter to claim two obvious mismatched lines were identical. Although the subjects were fully aware of the nature of the experiment, given the authority, the guards transgressed the boundaries of norms that are considered acceptable. Zimbardo s experiment demonstrated the power of social situations to distort personal identity. Zimbardo proved that social roles might affect behavior more than personality in certain situation.
Solomon Asch s experiment in Opinions and Social Pressure studied a subject s ability to yield to social pressure when placed within a group of strangers. His findings showed that, two-thirds of this studies participants fall into the category of obedient subjects, and that they represent ordinary people (p. Milgram concluded that when a person is obeying orders he views himself as the instrument… and no longer regards himself as responsible for his action (p. Milgram s experiment proved that when doing a job as instructed by an authority figure the feelings of duty and personal emotion are separated. Responsibility shifts in the minds of the subordinate from himself/herself to the authority figure. There is a purpose for the actions or goals of the authority, and the subordinate is depended upon to meet those goals. Like Milgram, Zimbardo determined that almost all humans would do what they are told if they believe the voice of authority is good. Through their experiments, Asch, Milgram and Zimbardo have proved that social influences can have a profound effect on individuality. Another important study in the area of social roles and obedience is Philip Zimbardo s Stanford Prison Experiment. A group of 21 college men were divided into two groups for a study on group dynamics. Although the teacher thought that he/she was administering shocks, the learner was actually never harmed. Milgram s study undermined the theory that only the most sadistic individuals would submit to such cruelty.