Response post . The first line in the 250-word (minimum) response post must state (IN CAPITAL LETTERS) the topic title and name of student posting the initial thread that the response post is addressing. The response post for grading must cover a different prompt than the one you addressed in your initial thread post. Respond with cited/referenced facts, not just opinions.
OBEDIENCE TO AUTHORITY
Throughout the years and many different cases, many individuals have followed the orders of authority figures regardless of how ridiculous or humiliating the orders were. For example, in 2004 a 38-year-old man was arrested for calling multiple fast-food restaurants disguising himself as a police officer and telling managers about a possible employee stealing from their establishment. The “telephone hoaxer,” which he became known as, would have the managers let those named employees undergo abuse and humiliation because they did not want to go against law enforcement. One employee, Susan, had her manager stand her in a small room, for hours, completely naked as she was striped search, of course, the manager was confused but she felt as if she had no other choice than to follow the instructions of the officer (Aronson, Wilson, Akert & Sommers, 2019). This act can be known as obedience to authority, where we obey those in higher positions regardless of what is asked of us.
Although the telephone hoaxer was indeed a real-life event, there are several experiments on obedience to authority and conformity, the most well-known being Stanley Milgram’s Shock Test Experiment. In short, in the experiment, a newspaper ad was printed asking for participants in a memory and learning study. The reader would read off words to the other participant in another room and then give them four possible answers and the other participant must flip a switch to indicate their answer choice. When the other participant got the answer incorrectly, they received a shock. After hearing the participants reaction to the shock, the reader became hesitant and looked towards the experimenter, but he encouraged the reader to continue by saying, “It is absolutely essential to continue,” which the reader did. Of course, the shocks were not real and the individual “receiving” them was a part of the experiment, but it was important to make the shocks and reactions as real as possible to make the experiment convincing. In the end, 80% of participants continued to give out shocks (Aronson, Wilson, Akert & Sommers, 2019).
Milgram’s experiment was not the last experiment to study obedience to authority. Nearly fifty years later in 2009, Jerry M. Burger decided to replicate Milgram’s experiment to see whether people will still go against their better judgment and administer painful shocks to an individual for getting an incorrect answer. After the experiment, Burger “found that compliance rates in the replication were only slightly lower than those found by Milgram,” (Mills, 2008).
Based on the results from both Milgram’s and Burger’s studies, it is evident that authority bias exists. Since a child we have learned to obey authority figures, they are believed to serve and protect us and will never cause of any harm, which is why we create a mental shortcuts, heuristic, that helps us analyze and make decisions. Therefore, when an authority figure is around our biases come out and “we tend to trust and obey them.” Another reason why we may conform is due to the bandwagon effect. “We are strongly influenced by how other people act, and often tend to think or act a certain way simply because others are doing the same” (Effectiviology, 2021). Therefore, we may conform to things we may not agree to simply because others are acting the same, meaning the participants in the study continued to administer shocks because the experimenter was not only fine with the shocks, but they also even encouraged the participant to proceed.
Like many experiments, there are ethical ramifications, pros and cons. The pros such experiment are that is shines a light on how we obey authority regardless of the situation, the experiment was able to be replicated and participation was consensual. A con of these experiments is that some participants were negatively affected and in distressed after the study.
All-in-all, whether it is the 1960 or 2009, authority plays a major role in our obedience in unfamiliar situations.
ALS CHALLENGE- The ALS ice bucket challenge was a popular challenge involving pouring ice water over your head to bring awareness for the disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. With this gained awareness for this disease which also goes by ALS many donated money to research. After one would participate in the challenge it encouraged people to nominate others to participate in the challenge. The success of this challenge could be due to conformity and/or social influence. “Conformity can be defined in the change in One’s behavior due to the real or imagined influence of other people”(Marion 2021). Conformity and other social influences were involved in the success of the ice bucket challenge. One type of conformity that led to the success of the ALS challenge was Normative social influence which is the influence others have that leads one to want to do what they’re doing in order to be accepted. When normal people were doing the challenge others saw that it was simple and doable and they wanted to feel included in something, which is what humans desire. According to an article by PROVOCO “Ordinary people saw other ordinary people participate in the ice-bucket challenge” which was probably the biggest factor to the challenge’s success(2018). It was simple to do and didn’t require anything, especially since there was no requirement to donate. However, donating did in fact allow people to feel better about themselves because they believed they were contributing to a good cause, even if they didn’t know about what ALS was. Also social influences involved were the fact that not only were people families and peers doing it, but celebrities as well. People can conform to social influence due to social impact theory. This theory depends on the number of people who are involved, the importance and its immediacy. The ALS challenge involved thousands and thousands of people from all over the world Via social media. There was a strong sense of importance for those participating and spreading the challenge because it was to help bring awareness to a non curable disease. Finally the challenge had immediacy because all you needed was an ice bucket and camera that could be found in most households. Overall this challenge was extremely successful raising over millions of dollars due to normative influences, its simplicity and humans wanting to belong.