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What is the role of situational variables in Milgram's obedience study?

Situational variables played a significant role in Milgram's obedience study.

Milgram's obedience study aimed to investigate the extent to which people would obey an authority figure's orders, even if it went against their moral beliefs. The study involved participants administering electric shocks to a learner in another room, with the shocks increasing in intensity with each wrong answer. The learner was actually a confederate, and no real shocks were given.

The situational variables in the study included the authority figure's proximity, the legitimacy of the authority figure, the presence of dissenting peers, and the physical setting. Milgram found that when the authority figure was physically closer to the participant, obedience rates increased. Similarly, when the authority figure was perceived as more legitimate, obedience rates also increased.

The presence of dissenting peers decreased obedience rates, as did a change in the physical setting. Milgram also found that obedience rates varied depending on the participant's gender, age, and occupation, indicating that individual differences also played a role.

A-Level Psychology Tutor Summary: In Milgram's study on obedience, factors like how close the authority figure was, how legitimate they seemed, whether others disagreed, and where the study took place significantly influenced whether people would follow orders against their moral beliefs. This shows that both the situation and individual traits, such as gender, age, and job, affect how likely someone is to obey authority.

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