Discussion 2: Obedience
The intent of social psychology research has been and still is to explain how circumstances are more a power determinant of individual behavior than our own intuitions lead us to believe. Research on obedience and compliance is focused less on explaining why obedience can be a good thing—which it can—and more on explaining why people obey/comply with demands when they would likely prefer not to or when the demands compel them to do bad things (e.g., the classic Milgram and Stanford Prison studies).
Many are familiar with the experience of being tasked by someone in authority (e.g., a teacher, work supervisor, athletic coach) to do something of questionable value and which may be counterproductive. The demand itself appears to be arbitrary and may serve only to establish the authority of the person making it.
For this Discussion, you will share social conformity situations that you have experienced and apply social psychology theory to explain your actions in those situations.
- Review the Learning Resources related to conformity and obedience and consider how they would apply to this Discussion.
- Consider a time when you have experienced when compliance with a task was required, even when you believed that time could have been better spent doing something more productive. The task may have come from a teacher, supervisor, coach, or other authority figure.
- If you complied with the order, reflect on why. If you did not, reflect on why you did not comply.
By Day 4
Post an example of a time when you complied with an authority person’s demand, despite thinking it was not a good use of your time. Please explain why you did. Then, give an example of a time when you refused to comply; explain why. Your post must be informed by social psychology theory and research.
Aronson, E., Wilson, T. D., Akert, R. M., & Sommers, S. R. (Eds.). (2019). Social psychology (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Chapter 8, “Conformity and Obedience: Influencing Behavior” & peer review literature