Outline and Evaluate One or More Explanations of Why People Obey

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Outline and Evaluate one or more explanations of why people obey It has been found by Milgram that people obey for four main reasons these are; legitimate authority, the momentum of compliance, the agentic shift and passivity. The first reason that Milgram found that people obey is because people feel like they have to obey someone if they have a high social status or a highly respected job, this is called legitimate authority. Bickman (1974) supported this theory by doing an experiment on the streets of New York. Bickman had three men dress up as a policeman, a guard and a regular passerby in a shirt and tie, he then had the three men ask other passerby’s to either pay a parking fine or pick something of the floor, it was found that…show more content…
The second reason people obey is called the momentum of compliance. Otherwise known as the ‘foot in the door’ technique, it is usually used by salesmen as they are trying to sell items, they start up with the smaller items and work their way up to the bigger, more costly items. Smith and Mackie (2003) found that similar processes take part in real-life crimes where criminals usually work their way up from smaller crimes to bigger, life threatening crimes. Milgram found that the momentum of compliance was found in his experiment, as the switches were going up in only 15v each time the participant started small and worked their way up to the bigger shocks and then without it actually hitting home, they’ve actually killed someone but they weren’t able to stop. Like the well-known Pringles saying ‘once you pop you can’t stop’. The third reason for why people obey is when a person shifts from the autonomous state to the agentic state; this is called the agentic shift. Milgrams participants believed they were ‘just following orders’ and did not consider themselves responsible; his participants even sighed with relief when the experimenter said “I am responsible for what happens here.” Evidence from war criminals, has shown that Eichmann, who was trialled and found guilty for the Nazi war killings as he was the man who organized which camps the Jewish people would end up at, said “it wasn’t my

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