Poice Officer Obedience

Public Obedience to Trainee Police Officers
Report aims:
• Outline Milgram’s obedience study work.
• Explain how the findings can help prepare trainee police officers for working within the community.
• Explain why the work of Milgram relates to trainee police officers working with the public in the community.
Stanley Milgram was a psychologist. After the Second World War he sought to find out how ordinary people could commit extraordinary acts of violence. He conducted obedience studies to see how far participants would go in obeying commands if it resulted in the harm of another person.
Study Set Up
The study involved 40 male volunteers who believed they were involved in a memory test. There were 3 roles.
• The learner who was always an actor, but the volunteer believes this person is also a volunteer and has randomly been selected to be the learner.
• An experimenter, who is always in a white coat.
• A teacher, which is always the volunteer.
The learner was observed to be strapped into a chair, if he failed to answer the question correctly, the teacher would have to shock him. The teacher was in the same room as the experimenter but the learner was in a different room, the teacher could only hear the learner.
The electric shock intensity started at 15 volts, every time an incorrect answer was given a more intense shock was given, up to 450 volts.
The experimenter encourages the teacher to continue even when the teacher feels uncomfortable and it is heard that the learner is in pain.
Milgram also explored variations to the study to discover what it was about the situation that made participants administer potentially lethal shocks (Banyard 2012 pg.74).
Variations included
• Proximity to learner
• Presence of experimenter
• Number of experimenter
• Number of teachers
Although Milgram’s studies would be unethical today, they were at the time accepted. However replications of the studies have shown similar high levels of obedience,...