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Alexis Hayden

In: Historical Events

Submitted By hayde1ak
Words 1356
Pages 6
Alexis Hayden
Dietmar Krumrey
Eng 101
11 September 2014
Human Response to Authority
The phrase ‘don’t tell me what to do’ is one of the first negative responses that we learn as kids. For example, when a person’s brother or sister tries forcing a task out of him or her, the response is usually similar to that. However, what if that reaction is not learned, but merely a natural response to authority? In the podcast ‘The Bad Show’, they explore that very question with experiments and found that humans do not take to authority unless their mind trusts and respects where the authority comes from. Humans will obey authority only if they can justify the commands given. In the 1960’s, Stanley Milgram was interested in human response to authority. His interest was piqued when war criminal Adolf Eichmann stated on trial that he was simply “following orders” when he ordered the death of millions of Jews. The idea made Milgram wonder if humans were obedient to major authority or if people used authority to justify doing bad things. He conducted an experiment where he collected 40 participants ranging from every end of the social spectrum. He put each individual in a room where they were asked to shock another person whom they called the ‘student’, every time that he or she got an answer wrong. One of the things they found in the experiment was that the participants continuously shocked the students, simply because they were told to do so (Cherry, “The Milgram Obedience Experiment”). The question posed from this experiment is: why do humans respond to authority? To answer this question, we must first establish what obedience is. “Obedience is a form of social influence where an individual acts in response to a direct order from another individual who is usually an authority figure. It is assumed that without such an order, the person would not have acted in this way”

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