Questions to Ponder for April 15, 2002
1. What were some variations of the basic Milgram paradigm? Did these variations affect the results? How so? Can you think of other variations you would like to see tested?
2. Describe the Milgram study to some friends and ask them if they think they would have shocked the person if they had been subjects. Keep a record of how many say yes and no, and what kinds of reasons or explanations they give for their answers. While you are at it, ask your friends (especially non-psychology students) whether they think they would be more likely to receive help in an emergency when there were lots of people around or just one or two. If we have time, we'll discuss the results of your "data collection" in class.
3. What are some reasons that Milgram provides to explain the high levels of obedience in his study? Which do you think are most powerful?
4. Neto's subjects differed from those in the original Asch studies on a number of dimensions - what were these? Why might they make a difference? (Note: You may not know that Asch's original study used male subjects only, as did the majority of early social psychology studies. Subsequent replications have used both men and women.)
5. According to your text, in the original Asch line studies, approximately three-quarters of the subjects conformed at least once. What percentage of experimental subjects conformed at least once in Neto's (1995) replication of the study? What does this result say about the immutability of the Asch affect across time and culture?
6. Asch's studies are often remembered for the subjects who did conform, but his study, like Neto's, revealed a number of subjects who DIDN'T conform? Why, if conformity is so common, aren't they the focus of reports about this research?
7. Even among subjects who didn't conform, how did subjects describe the experience of being in the experimental condition in Neto's study?
8. What was the procedure for the control subjects in this study? Does Neto describe it in such a way that you could repeat the study?