Locus of control
The effects of individual differences on independent behaviour
Reasons why people resist conformity
Reasons why people resist obedience
1. Feeling Responsible
If we feel that we are responsible for putting another person through pain, they we might not obey a request to hurt the (autonomous level) or if we empathise with them.
When participants were asked to place the participants hand directly onto the shock plate after each wrong answer, obedience levels dropped to 30%. It is suggested that the reason why this happened is because the participant felt more responsible in this situation than in Milgram's original studies.
2. Disobedient Models
If we see other people refusing to obey instructions from an authority figure, it encourages our own disobedience!
In a further variation of the study participants were placed in a situation where they observed from two other confederates refusing to obey the instructions of the experimenter, in this situation obedience levels dropped to 10%. this shows that the presence of disobedient models is influential and encourages independent behaviour.
3. Questioning Motives
If we are put in a situation that results in us questioning the authority, or prestige of an authority figure, we may not be so keen to obey them.
When the legitimacy of the situation was changed (seedy offices), individuals questioned the reason why the experimenter wanted them to press the switch and obedience levels dropped (47.5%) compared to the original study at Stanford University (65%).
This is something that happens when we want to protect our freedom if we feel it is being restricted. It is a type of rebellion against authority and can be a ‘boomerang effect’ whereby we do the opposite of what is being asked of us.In a study by Gamson et al (1982), participants were put in a situation whereby they were asked to make a video and sign statements about an oil company to be used in court. Gradually, they realised that they were being manipulated to make the tapes that would be exploited by the oil company – they refused to obey the instructions of the experimenter.