Social-Psychological Factors (Legitimacy Of Authority (Destructive…
A mental state where we feel no personal responsibility for our actions because we believe to be acting for an authority figure.
A person who is free to behave according to their own principles and therefore feel a sense of responsibility for their actions.
The shift from autonomy to 'agency' is called the
Milgram (1974) suggested this occurs when a person perceives someone else as a figure of authority,
This other person has greater power because of their position in a
Why do individuals remain in this 'agentic state'?
Milgram observed that many of his participants spoke as if they wanted to quit but seemed unable to do so.
The answer is
- aspects of the situation that allow the person to ignore or minimise the damaging effect of their behaviours.
Milgram proposed a number of strategies that the individual uses, such as shifting responsibility to the victim or denying the damage that they are doing.
Legitimacy Of Authority
An explanation for obedience which suggests we are more likely to obey people we perceive have an authority over us.
Most of us accept that authority figures have to be allowed to exercise social power over others as this allows society to function smoothly
One of the consequences of
legitimacy of authority
is that some people are granted power to punish others.
Problems arise when legitimate authority becomes destructive.
History has shown that charismatic and powerful leaders can use their legitimate powers for destructive purposes
Destructive authority was clearly shown in Milgram's study when the experimenter used prods to order participants to behave in ways that went against their consciences