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154

PSYCHOLOGY AS: THE TEACHERS COMPANION FOR AQA A published by Folens 2009 Michael Griffin, Rosalind Geillis and Cara Flanagan 237

This information will be useful for completing the evaluation exercise on Handout 155. Please bear in mind that the order of the points does NOT correspond to the order of the explanations or the evidence. You need to match them up!

EXPLANATIONS: POINTS:
Lacks internal validity. Unethical as it failed to protect participants
from psychological harm.

The study was lab-based, quite contrived,


and participants knew they were taking part in a psychology experiment. It is unclear whether obedience rates can be generalised to other more naturally occurring and real-life situations. Used only American and male participants, so the extent to which obedience occurs may not be representative of other cultures or the female gender. Participants may not have been fooled by the setup because they have come to learn that the true aim of psychology experiments is often disguised. So they didnt really think they were harming the learner. Placed the participants under great emotional strain and distress by deceiving them into thinking they might be administering lethal shocks to a fellow participant.

Population validity is low. Not generalisable outside of the research


setting (ecological validity).

EVIDENCE:
Orne and Holland (1968) argued that the only reason participants appeared distressed
in Milgrams study was not because they believed they were harming the learner, but they were strained by playing along with the experimental setup.

Rank and Jacobson (1977) conducted a study in a hospital. Nurses were telephoned
by a doctor (confederate) who asked that they give a dosage of a drug called Valium to a patient. This order contravened hospital regulations in that nurses were not supposed to take orders from unknown doctors over the phone, and the dosage stated was higher than that advised by the bottle - 89% of the nurses refused to carry out the order.

Darley (1992) suggests that the experience of administering shocks (even if not real)
may activate a previously dormant aspect of an individuals personality such that they feel more able and more motivated to repeat those actions. Their personalities may alter as a consequence of the actions they are asked to perform.

Using the Milgram experimental procedure, Kilham and Mann (1974) found that 40%
of Australian male students would administer the maximum shock voltage, whereas only 16% of Australian female students did so.

Lesson notes p.67