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Social Psychology (Milgram's studies of obedience) - Essay Example

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Nearly fifty years ago, psychologist Stanley Milgram embarked on a series of experiments that yielded results becoming one of the cornerstones of social psychology. Milgram (1961) was able to demonstrate the nature of obedience, more specifically, how obedience is more hinged on…
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Social Psychology (Milgrams studies of obedience)
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Social Psychology (Milgram's studies of obedience)

205). This statement become fuel to the controversy over personal dispositions and social factors, and in more fundamental way, over nature versus nurture.
In this paper, I will be presenting a summary of different opinions on the Milgram experiment as gathered from various academic writers in scholarly journals. To date, the Milgram experiment continues to be influential in the study of social psychology, and it has various implications in the conduct of research, as well as the research directions that social psychologists have taken. In conclusion, I will be discussing how Milgram’s experiment influenced the understanding of obedience in psychology. I will be drawing primarily from the articles that will be highlighted in this paper.
Blass (1991) outlines five distinctive features of Milgram’s experiment which has gained its significant place in social psychology, and its lasting contributions. First, is the significance of the results which was far from the predicted outcome when Milgram ran a separate experiment to get the prediction rates of Yale seniors and a group of psychiatrists. Second, is the fact that Milgram conducted a series of experiments on the topic designing a more comprehensive picture of the phenomenon. Third stems from the controversies that the research has initiated. “More than any other research in social psychology, the obedience experiments have been embroiled from the beginning in a number of controversies in which they have played a central and enriching role”(Blass, 1991, p. 398). Fourth, is the far-reaching impact of the obedience research in other fields of discipline such as education, political science, communication research and philosophy. Fifth is how the research has accounted for discrepancies between the situational and dispositional determinants of behaviour. Although debate is continuing, Milgram’s research has paved the way for inquiry into which accounts for specific behaviours, and to ... Read More
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