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What are the three external variables affecting obedience?

Proximity, location and uniforms


What does proximity involve?

How aware individuals are of the consequences of their actions in obeying authority figures; when the physical distance between the teacher and learner was made closer participants were less able to divorce themselves from the consequences of their actions and so obedience rates were lower


What percentage of participants obeyed in Milgram's study when the teacher and learner were in the same room?



What does location involve?

This can be relevant to the amount of perceived authority a person giving orders is seen to have; obedience rates will higher in places that add to the perceived legitimacy, and in institutional settings where obedience is instilled into members


Give an example of location increasing obedience

In the army when a commanding officer orders soldiers to jump, the expected answer is "how high?"


What percentage of Milgram's participants obeyed when the study took place in a run-down office block?

Obedience rates dropped from 62.5% (Yale University) to 47.5%


What does uniform involve?

Wearing a uniform can give a perception of added legitimacy to authority figures, thus increasing obedience levels


What uniform did the experimenter wear in Milgram's study?

A lab coat


What did Bickman find?

When being ordered to pick up rubbish, loan a coin or move away from a stop, 19% of New Yorkers obeyed Bickman's research assistant wearing civilian clothes, 14% when dressed as a milkman and 38% when he wore a security guard's uniform


What are the two internal explanations for obedience?

Disposition and the authoritarian personality


What is the dispositional explanation for obedience?

The perception that obedience is caused by internal characteristics of individuals


What is the authoritarian personality?

A description of a person who holds rigid beliefs, is intolerant of ambiguity, submissive to authority and hostile to those of lower status or members of an out-group


Who proposed the authoritarian personality and what for?

Fromm; to explain those holding right-wing beliefs


How did Adorno develop Fromm's ideas?

People with an authoritarian personality have insecurities that lead them to be hostile to non-conventional people and being highly obedient to authority figures. This is due to authoritarian parenting


What did Adorno develop to measure the authoritarian personality?

The F-scale, which has thirty questions to assess the nine personality dimensions


What did Zillmer find?

Sixteen Nazi criminals scored highly on three of the F-scale dimensions, but not all nine, giving only limited support for the concept


What did Altemayer develop?

The less biased Right Wing Authoritarianism scale (RWA) which has an equal number of pro and anti statements


What did Tweng find?

Younger generations are becoming higher in external locus of control than older generations