Obedience to Authority

Topics: Stanford prison experiment, Mind, Milgram experiment Pages: 3 (882 words) Published: October 2, 2010
Obedience to Authority
To what extent can humans’ morality be corrupted by environment, or are all humans cruel by nature? If an authority figure told another person to jump off a bridge, our response would be to reject his command and tell him to jump, but what would happen if an authority told somebody to execute a worthless criminal for his wrongdoings by pushing him off a bridge? According to research conducted by psychologists like Solomon Asch, and Philip G. Zimbardo, under the right variation of circumstances one may be compelled to push the criminal even if he/she originally felt that the act was immoral (Asch 306-313) (Zimbardo 344-355). Taking a close look at these experiments and real world examples such as Abu Ghrab prison along with an interview with a psychologist will expose how we humans can be brainwashed by our environment and authority in certain stressful situations. Before we go into these stressful situations and/or when our human minds error us, lets look at what harmful factors are not present in everyday instances when we make correct moral decisions. In everyday life we as a people pride ourselves on the decisions we make, and our personal and moral beliefs. These characteristics are what make us who we are, and for us to change our mental perspective would involve a total environment change. In fact, some of the basic principals we were taught after our birth is to have morals and to stand for what we believe in. In most cases we stick within these principals, but in some cases the human mind can be tricked into alternating its beliefs and can result in us acting opposite of our original beliefs. Solomon Asch is a social psychologist at Rutgers University in the 1950’s set up an experiment to test the influence of social pressures on humans. His test was set up as so, he took a group of seven to nine men of college age into a classroom and asked them to match the size of one line on a single card to the same size line...
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