Video Labs: Chapter #7-Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience

Asch Conformity Experiment


This video shows Asch's classic conformity experiment. The real participants in the experiment believed they were participating in an experiment on visual perception. The participants judged the length of lines in a group of what he believed were other participants. Judgments were given out loud and the task was very easy. On "critical trials" the other people in the room (who were working for Asch) gave an obviously incorrect answer. Asch found that the real participants conformed on 37% of the critical trials. Run Time: 5:47

Milgram Obedience Study


This video shows footage from Milgram's original obedience experiment done in 1962. Some commentary is provided by Milgram himself. Milgram's experiments, while controversial, taught us an important lesson about human behavior: You can take an ordinary person and place him/her into an extraordinary situation and observe behavior that is far beyond what we would expect from a normal person. It helped answer the question of whether the German people were uniquely susceptible to orders from authority or were responding to the situation they were in. Milgram found, contrary to what experts believed before the experiment, that ordinary people would obey an experimenter and administer electric shocks of 450 volts to an innocent person. Milgram's experiment places a real participant in the role of the "teacher" in a learning experiment. He or she would have to administer an electric shock to the "learner" (actually working with Milgram, no shocks were administered) each time the learner made a mistake on a learning test. The catch was that for each error the intensity of the shock had to be increased by 15 volts. If the participant balked, the experimenter prodded him or her to continue (e.g., The experiment requires you to continue, please go on). Run Time: 9:54

ABC News Primetime Milgram


This video presents a replication of Milgram's obedience experiment done in 1962. As you will see, the results were pretty much the same demonstrating that Milgram's results stand the test of time. There were a couple of differences between Milgram's original studies and this replication. The most notable is that the experiment was ended at 150 volts (no participants were allowed to go all the way to 450 volts). This was done because Milgram and later researchers found that if participants got to 150 volts they were likely to go all the way to 450 volts. One difference found in this replication was that women were more obedient than they were in Milgram's original experiment. Run Time: 5:50

Philip Zimbardo: Why ordinary people do evil ... or do good


Traditionally, the idea of "evil" has been the province of philosophy and theology. This is changing as social psychologists become interested in the roots of evil behavior. We have seen the term evil used quite often in the post-9/11 era to characterize terrorists. What exactly does the term “evil” mean and what are its origins? Is a person born evil and as a consequence be likely to behave in an evil way? Or, is evil behavior dependent upon the situation suggesting that a normal person placed in a given situation can behave in an evil way? After World War II many Nazi war criminals attributed their evil acts to the situation (e.g., following orders). Adolph Eichmann, for example, who was the architect of the Holocaust claimed that he had no particular animus toward Jews and that his actions were the result of his following orders from his superiors. In this video, Philip Zimbardo presents a lecture on the social psychology of evil. His "Lucifer Project" has gone a long way to bringing the concept of evil into the scientific realm.Run Time: 23:11