Meeus and Raaijmakers powerpoint

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Meeus and
Raaijmaker (1986)
Background
Meeus and Raaijmakers were critical of
Milgram’s research.
They thought parts of it were ambiguous – for example,
the participants were told the shocks were not dangerous
and yet the shock generator said Danger severe shock
XXX
 They also thought that giving shocks was an old
fashioned way of punishing people!
Thought participants may not have actually believed they
were doing any harm to other person.

Their aims….

Were to look at obedience in a more up to date
way i.e. in more realistic circumstances

They thought psychological violence was more
realistic than physical violence

They wanted their participants to believe
they were doing definite harm to the
victim
In the second part of the study…

They wanted to find out if their two
variations would reduce obedience as
Milgram’s variations did.
-
The experimenter absent variation
The two disobedient peers variation
-
Their study was very
similar to Milgrams



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Took place in a modern university in Holland
Experimenter: about 30 years, friendly but stern
Sample
Original experiment: 39 participants aged
between 18 and 55
Education: at least high school education
Answered a newspaper advertisement
Participants were paid $13
BUT - Sample included both men and women

Participants believed that the Psychology
department had been commissioned to select
candidates for a job

Each applicant was to take a test, which would
be administered by the participants

The participants were given the role of
‘interviewer’ and ordered to harass a ‘job
applicant’ (actually a confederate) to make him
nervous while sitting the test to determine if he
would get the job.
39 participants
24 participants in the
experimental group
15 participants in the control
group
You will be the
interviewer and your
We are researching
role will be to harass
the relationship
the job applicant to
between
make him nervous
psychological stress
while he is sitting a test
and test
to determine whether
achievement
he gets the job
You will have to
answer 32
Poor
multiple-choice
performance on
questions which
the test will
will be read out
affect your job
to you in four
prospects
sets
The job applicant (confederate
of the experimenter)
TheThe
psychological
readings
start
stressatwill
15 be
which
measured
is normal using
and go
these
up to
electrodes
65 which
and
indicates
displayed
intense
on
thisstress
panel
Remarks
Participants were told to make a series of
15 increasingly distressing remarks
to the interviewees
 Ranged from “your answer to question 9
is wrong” (the mildest)
 to “according to the test it would be better
for you to apply for lower functions – this
job is too difficult for you” (the harshest)

This job is too
difficult
forto
Your
answer
you. You
are
question
9 was
onlywrong
suited for
lower functions
answer
was
IMy
want
to leave.
was
Inot
do wrong
not want
to
carry it?
on with
this interview
Control Group
Were given instructions to make remarks
but were not told they would need to
make all 15
 Could choose when to make the negative
statements
 Could stop making them at any time
during the test

Applicant - Actor
The stooges showed signs of increasing
distress throughout the interview
 Two-thirds of the way through the test the
‘interviewee’ accused the researchers of
giving false information and withdrew his
consent to continue
 Participants were told to ignore outbursts
and continue with remarks

Experimenter Prods
Remember Milgram’s!
 Experimenter sat in on interview
 If the participants refused, they were
given a series of four prods similar to
those in the Milgram experiment
 A participant who made all the stress
remarks was seen as obedient and those
who refused to make all the stress
remarks disobedient

To sum up…..
The applicant was not real! He was an
actor!
 He was not really stressed!
 The machine was not real – the applicant
did not really get stressed and make
mistakes – it was all a cunning plan to see
how obedient the participant was!

What did they find???
Do you think more or less people obeyed
in this study compared to Milgram’s???
RESULTS

The Dutch participants 20 years later were
MORE obedient than Milgram’s were!

Milgram found 65% of participants were
obedient up to 450 volts.

Meeus found 92% of participants were fully
obedient and made all 15 harassing remarks.

In control condition – NO participants made all
15 remarks
They also did variations on the
study
and they found similar results………….
When
the experimenter left the room
obedience dropped to 23% in Milgram’s study
and 36% In Meeus’
With
disobedient peers (two present who
refused to say remarks) obedience dropped to
10% in Milgram’s study and 16% In Meeus’
CONCLUSION…

People in an everyday situation like a job
interview will generally obey orders to
abuse a stranger psychologically

Rates of obedience were higher than in
the Milgram study, as might be expected,
as people believed they were upsetting
rather than physically hurting someone
CONCLUSION…

Meeus and Raaijmaker’s provide evidence for
agency theory!

When the experimenter left the room the
participants had to take responsibility for their
actions and obedience dropped.

When the experimenter was present the
participants acted as their agent and most felt it
was the experimenter's responsibility not
theirs!

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