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Behavioral Study of Obedience Essay

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Updated: Jul 8th, 2020


It is imperative to note that obedience is the way an individual acts in particular situations, and it is mostly caused by social influence. Moreover, it can be seen in almost all the spheres of modern society, and it is an aspect that can be taken advantage of most of the time. It is understandable that this behavior is reasonable most of the time, but history has shown that it may lead to numerous issues and complications.

My Experience

I have learned from my personal experience that obedience can be recognized in the life of every single individual if one pays attention to his or her actions and thoughts and behaviors of other people. It is imperative to mention that I have learned from my personal experience that the level of influence of the authority over others is enormous. The fact that legal and moral aspects also play a vital role should not be overlooked. Moreover, it is important to understand that the need to respect the authority is thought to every single individual from their birth and such behavior is learned from everyday situations.

For instance, it is important in school and the workplace, and one may not doubt the orders if they do not seem too questionable. Another aspect that is worth noting is that prestige is a critical factor that affects the behavior of a person. The issue that I have recognized is that negative aspects of obedience are also present. For instance, people blame the authority most of the time and do not think that they are responsible for their actions.

Moreover, I have noticed that it leads to unfair treatment of employees in the workplace because some individuals take advantage of their position. The problem is that many individuals do not doubt the information presented to them and do not ask for evidence, and such behavior is not acceptable. It is necessary to understand that numerous incidents and catastrophes could have been prevented if people would be more careful and did not blindly follow the orders.


Moreover, many scholars have devoted attention to this topic and have conducted numerous studies to identify possible causes. An experiment by Milgram is one of the most well-known ones, and its results are truly fascinating. Its primary objective was to determine what percentage of participants would go against their values and would comply with the orders from the authority. It is necessary to note that the results of the study were not expected, and close to two-thirds of subjects have demonstrated this behavior (Milgram, 1963). One of the most important factors that must be mentioned is that their reactions were not expected, and it was evident that they did not have an understanding of what course of action needs to be taken in such situations.

Also, it is necessary to mention the study may be interpreted in numerous ways. For instance, some scholars suggest that many individuals are not capable of making decisions in stressful situations and are willing to accept orders from others based on the hierarchy. Another perspective also should be mentioned, and it is focused on the idea that an individual does not think that he or she is responsible for the actions, and the authority is in control of the situation.

It is understandable that it may be hard to believe that an individual would torture others if it approved by the authority, but the results of the study should not be disregarded. Moreover, it is important to understand that such situations would be incredibly rare, but similar behavior may be demonstrated in other cases. Another aspect that is worth mentioning is that there would be no punishment if subjects made a decision to disobey (Milgram, 1963).

However, the desire to get approval from the authority should not be disregarded. Also, many individuals are too worried about the opinions of others, and they are afraid to look weak or indecisive. The problem is that an enormous percentage of people are willing to comply with orders of the authority even if it is not reasonable. Moreover, the situation is especially problematic in countries that are less developed.

For instance, leaders of terrorist groups may take advantage of this aspect and force individuals to be violent and participate in criminal activities. The problem is that obedience is associated with a particular shift in perception, and it may be hard to predict in some cases. Also, the personality of an individual is also critical, and many individuals willingly submit to the authority. Furthermore, it is necessary to mention that this is an area that is relatively unexplored, and future research may be required to get a better understanding of all the factors that influence the decision-making of an individual in modern society.


In conclusion, it is evident that the results of Milgram’s study were accurate because experiments that are similar have taken place over the years. Many may think that it is not possible to repeat such an experiment, and the situation has changed, and it is believed that most individuals no longer have so much trust in authority and would question their decisions. However, it is not true, and similar results are received most of the time. It is paramount to understand how obedience affects modern society and when it may become problematic. Overall, it is a fascinating topic that needs to be researched much more because some of the aspects are not yet fully understood.


Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral study of obedience. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67(1), 371-378. Web.

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