The Negative Effects of Obedience

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Throughout the years obedience has had an enormous effect on human history. It has caused nations to rise and fall, prosper and suffer; yet it has also brought destruction among innocent people. The Jewish holocaust is one of the best publicized examples of the perils of obedience. Hitler caused otherwise normal people to commit atrocious acts, acts that greatly reduced the number of Jewish people. Philip Zimbardo, a professor of psychology at Stanford university, questions to what extent will a person allow themselves to be imprisoned by obeying others commands; Andrew Wolfson, a senior investigative reporter working for the Louisville Courier Journal, similarly discusses how a young adult was brutalized because of our…show more content…
They believed that the caller was a police officer and because he was a higher authority than them they obeyed him. This is important because the fact that the people in each situation were so quick to obey suggest that people can be manipulated very easily. This fact is the main focus point in both of the writer’s articles. Zimbardo was careful that he only used normal people in his experiment, and it turns out the people involved in Wolfson’s article were fairly normal as well. Zimbardo states that the fact that normal people turned so sadistic towards each other is dreadful because it could happen to anyone. However, neither author addresses how the effects of obedience could be used in a positive direction. They presume that obedience can be used to manipulate others into gruesome situations, but never considered how obedience can be used for good intentions. Wolfson states that Ogborn was convinced that she could not leave, while Zimbardo said that in his experiment prisoners were only released if they began to break down. Ogborn felt this way because she thought that the Police were commanding the situation and that Nix would abuse her if she disobeyed. Wolfson continues by convincingly stating that the reason Ogborn submitted was that she was afraid and wanted to remain in as little trouble as she could. Zimbardo; however, stated that both he and his staff refused to let their volunteers go home unless they began to have
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