6 Pages 1684 Words PSYC15065G €“ Psychology: Core Concepts

| March 17, 2019

Essay Question:
Under what conditions does a person obey authority, who commands actions that go against his or her own conscience?
Incorporate the studies of Stanley Milgram, Philip Zimbardo, and (optional) Solomon Asch.
Things to consider:
1) Many of us believe that we are independent enough to never go against our moral code to the extreme, regardless of the pressure put on us. 
– Please consider that none of the participants in the Stanley Milgram experiment were under any physical or violent restraints; why did they continue to go along?
– Were they in the majority or the minority? According to Milgram, is this a universal constant across time and culture?
2) Consider the Zimbardo experiment: Why did the “good guards” conform to the situation and look the other way?  Why did the prisoners commit degrading acts against each other on command by the guards?
3) Incorporating real world examples can never hurt. Any examples like Abu Ghraib prison, the holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda etc.  Unfortunately, there are many examples of atrocity in human history.
4) Shifting of responsibility from the individual to the authority figure is a key theme.
– Do those who obey have unique personality traits?
– What role do you think symbols may have played in behaviour? (Scientist in the white coat; guard with sunglasses; chain on prisoners’ leg etc.)
5) Is all obedience destructive?  What is the significance of the bystander effect with regards to this theme?
6) Please incorporate your own additional ideas and evidence, relevant to the question.

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