2.a. From your understanding of the psychology of obedience, identify two features of this situation that might lead Dora to obey. (2)

Feature 1: This event takes place in a palace which is a prestigious setting, where people are likely to be somewhat in awe of their surroundings and therefore may be more likely to make the agentic shift in the face of perceived authority.

This is supported by Milgram’s Experiment 10 that found that when Pps were in a rundown office building, instead of the prestigious setting of Yale, obedience went down to a rate of 47.5% compared with 65% going up to 450V. (This second sentence would be useful if you were asked to EXPLAIN rather than IDENTIFY, however with this question there is only 1 mark available per feature so we need to be careful with how much time we take!)

Feature 2: The man is wearing a security badge and this means that Dora might perceive him to be a legitimate authority figure meaning that she is more likely to make the agentic shift and follows his command without considering her actions especially carefully.

This is supported by Milgram’s variation 13 where the orders to continue administering shocks are given by an “ordinary man” who is thought to be another participant and does not have the authority of being seen as a Yale scientist in a lab coat; here we see the obedience rate fall to 20% demonstrating that the perception of legitimate authority is crucial in predicting obedience. (Again, this second sentence would be useful if you were asked to EXPLAIN or even as part of an EVALUATION rather than simply IDENTIFY, again as time is short and only 1 mark is available for each feature, its important not to waste time writing too much.)

What should I do next?

  • Other features that you might write about are….
    • proximity
    • lack of defiant role models
  • if you didn’t not write about either of these feature try creating more answers in a  similar vein to the ones above and link to the appropriate variation studies, (telephonic instruction and disobedient stooges)
  • If you did not score full marks here , you need to revisit the page about situational factors.