The results in the table shown represent the results of Milgram’s Study of Obedience carried out in the 1960’s. It is clear students and psychiatrists predicted nobody would administer potentially lethal electric shocks during the experiment. However, the actual findings are far removed from reality with 65 per cent of participants administering the highest level of shock. It can also be seen from the data the presence of a clearly identifiable authority figure played an important role in the level of obedience shown by the participants. The data shows when an authority figure in uniform, that being the white coat on this occasion, is giving the instructions they are more obedient. This is demonstrated by a 45 per cent drop in participants administering the maximum shock when given instructions by an ordinary man with no appropriate uniform. The table further demonstrates a startling deviation from orders when there is no unified authority present: not a single participant administered the maximum shock when given conflicting orders. In conclusion the data proves when a clearly identifiable and unified authority is present the majority of individuals will defer to that authority and demonstrate obedience despite any misgivings towards the task.
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Could Disobedience Save Lives?
How many times have you heard the line "I was just following orders" and thought that’s an excuse for bad behaviour? But is it?
This subject lead to ground breaking research by psychologist Stanley Milgram in 1961. He wanted to know how far we would take obedience and set out to answer these questions prompted by the Genocide of the Jews under the German Nazi Regime of the 2nd World War:
• How can normal, decent human beings act callously and inhumanely?(Milgram,S, 1974)
• Under what conditions would we obey orders without restraint and conscience?
You have entered into a profession with a strict hierarchy, how far do you think... [continues]
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