Questioning authority: New perspectives on Milgram’s ‘obedience’ research and its implications for intergroup relations
AffiliationUniversity of Queensland; University of St. Andrews; University of Chester
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AbstractTraditionally, Milgram's 'obedience' studies have been used to propose that 'ordinary people' are capable of inflicting great harm on outgroup members because they are predisposed to follow orders. According to this account, people focus so much on being good followers that they become unaware of the consequences of their actions. Atrocity is thus seen to derive from inattention. However recent work in psychology, together with historical reassessments of Nazi perpetrators, questions this analysis. In particular, forensic re-examination of Milgram's own findings, allied to new psychological and historical research, supports an “engaged follower” analysis in which the behaviour of perpetrators is understood to derive from identification with, and commitment to, an ingroup cause that is believed to be noble and worthwhile.
CitationHaslam, S. A., Reicher, S. D., & Birney, M. E. (2016). Questioning authority: New perspectives on Milgram's 'obedience' research and its implications for intergroup relations. Current Opinion in Psychology, 11, 6-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2016.03.007
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
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