Questioning authority: New perspectives on Milgram’s ‘obedience’ research and its implications for intergroup relations
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Traditionally, 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 behavior of perpetrators is understood to derive from identification with, and commitment to, an ingroup cause that is believed to be noble and worthwhile.
Haslam , 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 , vol 11 , pp. 6-9 . DOI: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2016.03.007
Current Opinion in Psychology
© 2016 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2016.03.007
This research was funded by grants from the Australian Research Council, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and the Economic and Social Research Council.
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