One Contemporary Study: Burger, (2009)

You need to know the APFC of Burger in detail so that you can describe it, evaluate it and potentially compare it with other studies. You will also need to be able to use it to evaluate Milgram’s agency theory and also to demonstrate how obedience studies  can be conducted with greater regard for modern ethical guidelines. It is also excellent for answering questions on the effect of personality and situation on obedience, what a ripping study! 

Burger (2009) conducted a partial replication of Milgram’s experiment on obedience; however he made some critical alterations to the procedure in order to meet ethical guidelines. He concluded that Milgram’s findings were not era-bound and that people are as obedient today as they were in the 1960s. He also noted unlike previous replications, that women were slightly more obedient than men but the finding was not significant, and that the personality trait ‘empathic concern’ is not related to obedience, although there was some evidence that ‘desire for control’ was related to obedience but only in the baseline condition and not in the modelled refusal condition . Finally, he concluded that witnessing an act of defiance at 90V had very little effect on Pps’ own behaviour as 63% of Pps still continued shocking the learner up to 450V.

Here is my PowerPoint and accompanying handout: burger-revision-notes and one-contemporary-study-from-social-psychology

However, it is also useful for you to read from the original paper: burger-original

For further reading, you should also take a look at this paper, where
Milgram’s original research assistant, Alan Elms, gives his thoughts on Burger’s study. This could be helpful for evaluating Burger: elms-comment-on-burger


You need to learn the procedural details (AO1) with great care. You might like to try this True and False quiz to gauge how much you know! burger-procedure-t-or-f

Once you have done this you will be able to create some “cheeky” chains of reason, and some “cracking” competing arguments (OOhhhh) with your accurate (AAAAAHHH) and thorough knowledge of the study! Time to get GRAVEing.


So you think you can evaluate Burger, let’s see how Dre got on! burger-dont-be-dre

Here is a model essay evaluating Burger’s study, super long as ever but as you know you don’t havr to write anywhere near this much for full marks you just need to follow my simply ATCHOO(BC) top tips for >8markersClick here for model essay.

Practice Questions:

  1. Describe the…
  • aim (2)
  • procedure (4)
  • findings (4)
  • conclusions (2)

of one contemporary study you have learned about as part of social psychology.

2. Describe one contemporary study you have learned about as part of social psychology (5)

3. Explain one strength and one weakness of the contemporary study you described above (2+2)

3. Evaluate one contemporary study you have learned about as part of social psychology (8)

4. This study used an independent measures design with random allocation of participants to the two conditions. Explain why this is a strength of the study (2)

5. Burger told his Pps that he might be videotaping the study and then he actually did tape everything using two hidden cameras. State the correct name for this technique and explain why the strengths of these design decisions (3)

6. Give one strength of Burger’s study relating to reliability (2)