Sociology influence

The essay will be using procedures used in social influence research, the study’s I will be using to discuss whether the use of the procedures can be justified will be Milgram`s study, Zimbardo`s study along with Aschs`s study. To begin with I shall discuss Mailgrams study, which is based on obedience and to find out whether ordinary Americans would obey an unjust order from a person in authority to inflict pain on another person.

The procedures Milgram went through in 1963 to achieve the findings, he first obtained 40 male volunteers from a newspaper which were each paid $4.50 to take part, each of the participants which took part were told that the experiment was on learning but it was actually on the experiment on obedience. This was not ethical; as if they participants were made aware of the actual research they may not have taken part, due to the experiment may also have had an affect on the participants self esteem, emotionally and psychologically. This is because the participants could have said “no one likes me” or “everybody all ways lies to me”.

Some more procedures that Milgram did, was he misled his participants into believing they were randomly allocated to the role of the teacher or learner on the basis of the toss of a coin. Which was rigged as the participants always was the teacher, the participants then watched the learner being strapped to a chair in a adjoining room, the task for the learner was to (confederate) was to memorise word pairs, the teacher would read the first word of each pair and provide four alternative answers.

The learner had to indicate the correct answer by pressing switches; the teacher’s role is to administer an electric shock every time the learner made a mistake and in practice no shocks were given, the teacher then sat in front of a shock generator with thirty lever which indicated the level of shocks to be given, the shocks started at 15 volts and increased gradually to 450 volts, if the participants expressed discomfort at administrating shocks then verbal probes were given such as “you have no choice you must continue”.

I consider that this was not ethical because the participants actually thought they were administrating shock and causing the accomplices to scream this could also disturb the participants psychologically, this is because when administrating the shock to the accomplice the participants could have a image of the accomplice receiving the shocks, this could disturb them mentally and physically, this could cause the person to be psychologically disturbed, for a number of years or even all that persons life, the right procedures that Milgram did is he told the participants at the end when they were returned and gave a full debriefing.

Another study I will be using is Zimbardo’s, which is on conformity in 19973. Zimbado’s aim was to see if ordinary people when placed in a prison environment and some off them were designated as guards and other prisoners, how would they behave? The procedure’s that Zimbardo went threw was he used male students which volunteered for a psychological study of ‘prison life’, and were paid �15 a day. The 24 most stable physically and mentally men were selected and randomly assigned to being a prisoner or a guard. There were two reserves and 1 drop out, finally leaving 10 prisoners and 11 guards.

The prisoners were unexpectedly arrested at home. On entry to the prison they were put through a delusion procedure, searched, given a prison uniform with ID number, nylon shocking caps and an ankle chain. They were in prison 24 hours a day, the guards referred to the prisoners only by a number. Also the prisoners were only aloud certain rights. For example three supervised toilette trips and two hours for reading or letter writing.

The guards on the other hand had uniforms, clubs, whistlers, handcuffs and reflective sunglasses. The Zimbardo’s procedures cannot be justified because he deceived his participants he did this by arresting the participants at their home, otherwise he hadn’t deceived them, also Zimbardo procedure could have caused distress or psychological harm, this could be by the way the participants were treated as prisoners. As the prisoners they were badly abused which could have affected the participants mentally and physically.

Finally I will use Aschs study, which is based on conformity in 1956, In Aschs study he aimed to find out if people would yield to majority influence and give an incorrect answer when the correct answer was ambiguous. The procedures Aschs conducted was that he obtained 50 American male undergraduates; in the procedure Asch had two conditions. The first one was a controlled condition where the participants were tested individually and the second condition was a experimental condition where participants were seated with a group of confederates. Asch then showed a series of lines to the participants who were seated round the table with the confederates.

Here the participants had to say which of the three lines matched the standard line. The confederates where instructed to give the same incorrect answer on twelve out of thirteen trials. Which were called critical trials, the two participants in the experiment were always last but one to answer and the participants had to say which line matched the standard line allowed in front of others. I find this may have been distressing because the true participants may have found the experience quiet disturbing. Those who conformed must have experienced pressure to do so. As where those who resisted were also under pressure, also Asch deceived the participants, for example the participants did not know they were been tricked. This was because they did not know the real purpose of the experiment, neither were they aware that the other participants were actually confederates of the experimenter.

In the conclusion in Milgrams study the procedures cannot be justified, this is because the participants could have been disturbed psychologically, which could have been from the shocks administrated or from hearing the confederates screaming. In Zimbardo’s study he deceived the participants by arresting them at their homes, also the procedure could have caused distress from the way they were treated. Finally in Aschs study he also deceived his participants for example the participants were not aware that they were been tricked, because they were unaware of the real purpose of the experiment.

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