StudentShare solutions
Triangle menu

Conscious Obedience - Essay Example

Nobody downloaded yet

Extract of sample
Conscious Obedience

In a very general sense, everyone obeys out of their own self-interest. However, this places the fear of punishment on an equal plane with the promise of a reward and does not shed much light on the underlying reasons. The question that needs to be answered is; what self-interest are we fulfilling when we obey Kelman and Hamilton argue that obedience comes from one of three rationalizations. Compliance for self-interest, acknowledgment of authority, or ethical concerns (Tyler 1090). A person may comply with the request to work overtime at no pay in hopes of getting a promotion. In their identification of authority model, a person may act against their better judgment if the boss orders them to take an illegal action. People also have the capacity to exercise free will and act according to their own value system.
Psychological theorists can help explain obedience by examining the motivation behind the reward we receive for compliance. Maslow would describe the humanist viewpoint as obeying to gain respect and recognition from authority. Skinner would see obedience as a natural conditioned reaction to doing what we are told. Bronfenbrenner describes a myriad of authorities that we obey on an individual or group level. The echological argument holds that patriotism is obedience to nationalism. Obedience can take many forms and the authority may be abstract.
Young children may obey their parents because they understand it is the right thing to do and is an ethical decision. It may be self-interest, as they will obey them to avoid their parent's punishment, or to gain a reward. However, a child's inner logic may not be apparent through their actions alone. Children who have been abused, neglected, or feel abandoned may withdraw and suffer from defeatism (Singer, Dornenbal, and Okma, 601). They will display obedience though it may not be for the self-interest that it appears.
In a study of children by Singer, Dornenbal, and Okma, the researchers found significantly more foster children offered little or no resistance to parental authority than their birthchildren counterparts (596). Birthchildren had a much higher incidence of offering fierce resistance in a disciplinary conflict than foster children (596). In the case of the foster children, the researchers noted that, "Their main goal is unilateral-self-saving [...] Their main interests are fear of punishment and a feeling of powerlessness" (601). The birthchildren that were offering intense rebellion were said to have, " [...] unilateral coercive goals to get their own way" (594). The birthchildren were acting in self-interest to exploit the parental authority's lack of resolve, while the foster children were obeying for self-preservation.
As children grow into adulthood, they will for the most part become more aware of the need for obedience. The cost of punishment by law enforcement will generally get most people to abide by acceptable customs. The need for a steady paycheck will insure that they will put their feelings aside when taken advantage of in the workplace. They may rationalize to themselves, and others, that they are being obedient in order to live up to a moral or ethical standard. Adults may allow ...Show more


In a civilized world, we would like to believe that we are all generally well behaved and in being so, we are all obeying someone or something. It may be an authority figure or it may be a concept such as a law or morality. Young children will obey their parents and their parents will obey law enforcement…
Author : trompteresa
Conscious Obedience essay example
Read Text Preview
Save Your Time for More Important Things
Let us write or edit the essay on your topic
"Conscious Obedience"
with a personal 20% discount.
Grab the best paper

Check these samples - they also fit your topic

Obedience in Social Psychology
The author analyzes different levels of obedience. He states that a varying level of obedience is required in all sorts of social interactions, without which the result would be anarchy. Another side to obedience called 'destructive obedience' which refers to when individuals have been ordered to carry out morally unacceptable actions.
5 pages (1250 words) Essay
Influences of Conformity and Obedience Paper
Defining the two and their influence on the self is a major starting point for successful therapy. Classical and contemporary studies combined are useful in assessing individual behavior and in addressing social psychological dysfunction that may result from a tendency toward each.
7 pages (1750 words) Essay
Obedience in social psychology
Social Psychologists have delved into this and have conducted experiments, the results of which have been astonishing. The aim of this research paper is to try and answer whether obedience really is a desirable thing or is the cost of being obedient, much too great to pay.
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Compliance, Obedience and Conformity: Perspectives from Psychology
The method of investigation in psychology is dependent on the school of philosophy or theory that the researchers adhere to in conducting experiments. Experimental methodologies may also be dependent on the way psychologists frame the primary questions of inquiry.
9 pages (2250 words) Essay
Conformity and Obedience
The second individual estimate was a lot closer to the group estimate than the first. (Conformity and obedience, Psychology4a) Obedience is submission to another's authority. For example Reverend Jim Jones took 911 people from San Francisco to found his cult, "The peoples temple" in Jonestown, a town he had them build in Guyana, South America.
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Conscious and subconscious information processing
The conscious mind derives much of its information from its physical environment reacting to sensations such as sight, taste, touch and sound. Conscious awareness reflects the external
2 pages (500 words) Essay
Conscious (Mindful) Communication Day
common one “likewise.” This was different from the ritualistic phrase “I love you too.” It was a surprise to him as it was observably detectable he never expected such a simple answer. It also caught his attention with an unusual expression in his face (Shafir, 2003).
1 pages (250 words) Essay
Question 2: Children are taught to obey authority figures without questioning such obedience - their total obedience is required. Therefore, it is true that, on a face value,
1 pages (250 words) Essay
Obedience and Authority
From a psychological perspective, individuals choose the same based on the result, which could be either a reward or a punishment. This implies that one may decide to show obedience to a figure of authority because they are expecting to be rewarded or are avoiding punishment.
1 pages (250 words) Essay
Argumentative Synthesis-Extreme Obedience
Torture at Abu Graib was intermittently inconsequential as this is a worse way of imposing obedience to the people. The Abu Graib
2 pages (500 words) Essay
Hire a pro to write
a paper under your requirements!
Win a special DISCOUNT!
Put in your e-mail and click the button with your lucky finger
Your email
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment
Contact Us