Published on Mar 15, This essay aims to answer the question: "What if anything do studies of obedience tell us about human nature? Whilst the fascinating Milgram's experiment findings reveal that submissiveness is intrinsically part of our nature, other studies conversely explain that specific dispositional factors arise because of particular situational influences. The paper is followed by the feedback of my teacher at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
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Essay on Obedience: Meaning, Importance, and Types.
Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission. In any society, some degree of obedience is essential to live harmoniously with each other. Rules have been created to prevent humans to harm others avoid murders, highway accidents and punish them if necessary.
The famous Latin proverb "Homo homini lupus" suggests that human instincts are naturally harmful, and that we need to counter them to create a sense of respect towards the authority, which is, in the case of society, the state.
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It implies that human beings are unable to obey the law. But what if obedience was actually part of human nature?
Many psychologists have studied compliance to try to elucidate this question. Among them, Milgram's experiment on obedience has been one of the most important contributions to the subject. In this essay, I will talk about several works of Milgram and their implications for investigating on obedience. I will also explain why other studies give them credibility or on the opposite, contribute to the controversy because of their divergent findings.
The most fascinating and controversial obedience study is undoubtedly Milgram's experiment. Its results have largely been commented, approved or critiqued because of their social implications. Firstly, Milgram discovered that participants tended to transfer their responsibility to the authority figure, thus mechanically following instructions without assuming the consequences of their actions Blass, This agentic shift only took place if the experimenter had a legitimate authority, in this case if he had a scientific expertise that would justify the suffering of a patient ibid.eminasphras.tk
This is what happened in the Hofling et al. They considered the physician to be more competent than them, which is why they did not question the uncertain quantity prescribed. As Werhane et al. That explained why participants unwillingly continued to execute orders despite their clear opposing ethical considerations. Is it appropriate to consider the agentic shift as a natural inclination towards obedience? For Reicher and his colleagues, the phenomenon of agentic shift in Milgram's experiment was not the consequence of human nature, but rather because participants identified more with "the experimenter and the scientific community" than with "the learner and the ordinary 3.
In fact, the teacher's action or resistance depends on which social group identity is more salient for him, with both groups having contradictory interests and being highly demanding. In this sense, Adolf Eichmann, one of the Holocaust organizers, was persuaded that killing Jews people was virtuous because he strongly identified with Hitler's fierce cause ibid.
Thus the agentic shift mechanism could be induced by the follower's identification to the authority figure. Even if the costs suddenly rose, subjects would carry on the research because it was burdensome for them to change their minds, as they already began the experiment. The combination of the project's scientific validity and its rapidity increased the difficulty to end the investigation: the subject needed to justify to himself that the previous shocks he administered were immoral Milgram, , in Miller, Furthermore, Gino and Bazerman study outlined that people tend to approve more unethical behaviours of others when dishonesty slowly increases over time This is consistent with Milgram's results, since fewer participants would have been willing to continue delivering electrical shocks if the increase in voltage was quicker.
The process of psychological costs has a high ecological validity, since many corporate businessmen are able to try to be disassociated with their reprehensible activity Kassin et al.
Linked to the second conclusion, Milgram also discovered that the moral detachment of teachers was due to a routinization mechanism, which removed the requirement to make demanding decisions and decreased the significance of actions for the individuals involved Smith, , in Miller, This absence of critical judgement quickly leaded to dehumanization, explaining how the Nazi regime was so cruelly efficient. The officers who were in charge of the Holocaust were "lowering [their] moral restraint" Miller, in order to detach from the horrors they were perpetrating. Hitler's arrival to power was besides progressive, and the costs for the military people to disengage with the government's actions were extremely high leaving the German army was the topmost betrayal possible.
Essay on Obedience: Meaning, Importance, and Types. - dytamacike.gq
What is more, dehumanization has been observed in the Stanford Prison experiment: many guards 4. However, many scholars challenged Milgram's findings, as the root causes of obedience are unclear. Does compliance depend on situational or dispositional factors? When it comes to external determinants, Milgram pointed out many varying rate of submissiveness. Indeed, it is more difficult to punish an individual who is next to us rather than someone we do not neither see nor hear. Thirdly, group pressure and its induced conformity can increase compliance. Finally, the fact that the experiment was taking place in a laboratory could have influence teachers to defer more their responsibility onto the experimenter Burger et al.
So the context is crucial because obedience can rise or diminish depending on different situational factors. On the other hand, compliance can be caused by dispositional factors. Sabini et al.
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Do not be conformed to this world. Owe no man anything but to love one another. Be modest in your apparel. Was he a legalist for allowing himself to be used to write scripture with commands to guide the church through the centuries until Jesus comes again? Now, back to legalistic Joe and the Pharisee! After all, he is a good church man and he must keep a good front, so-he goes along. At the meeting, he hears this testimony:. I gave to the offering. I sang in the choir-but I was lost! I was like the Pharisee in Luke I needed Christ. I became the publican.
I yielded my life to Jesus Christ and received His forgiveness. I now have peace. This troubled legalistic Joe all week. He found peace with God. Now he wanted to thank God for His mercy. He wanted to honor God and show appreciation for his salvation. How can he do it? He reads the scriptures. Continued study of the scriptures reveals that obedience is the way to know God:. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him 1 John And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Does Joe still go to church? Yes, so much the more as he sees the day of Christ approaching. Does he still give to the offering? Yes, even more than before, and with joy and rejoicing. Does he still obey authority?