Obedience and Disobedience to Authority Table Learning Aid
Classic and Modern Study Questions Citation for studies in APA style What is the research question or hypothesis in this study? Name two studies referenced in this article that greatly contributed to the main theme of this article. What type of research method was used in this study? Correlation? Experiment? Were the measures used in your study reliable and valid? Explain. What were the main results/conclusions in this study? Did this study have ethical problems? If so, name them. Responses for Classic Study Responses for Modern Study Similarities and Differences Between Your Two Responses How does this research help improve people’s social wellbeing/social welfare? What influence did this study have on the everyday lives of people in society? How has this study changed the way you view the world? Did this study affect you personally? Notes and Further Discussion: Article Coercion Changes the Sense of Agency in the Human Brain Highlights d Responsibility for action is a key feature of human societies d It depends on association between actions and outcomes in the brain d d Authors Emilie A. Caspar, Julia F. Christensen, Axel Cleeremans, Patrick Haggard Correspondence Claims of reduced responsibility are sometimes based on ‘‘only obeying orders’’ email@example.com Two experiments suggest coercion can reduce implicit measures of sense of agency Acting under coercion modifies the subjective experience of being the author of an action, reducing the perceived temporal association between actions and outcomes. Caspar et al. show that the neural processing of action outcomes under coercion more closely resembles situations of passive movement than actions carried out intentionally. Caspar et al., 2016, Current Biology 26, 585–592 March 7, 2016 ª2016 The Authors http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2015.12.067 In Brief Current Biology Article Coercion Changes the Sense of Agency in the Human Brain Emilie A. Caspar,1,2 Julia F. Christensen,2 Axel Cleeremans,1 and Patrick Haggard2,* 1Consciousness, Cognition, and Computation Group (CO3), Center for Research in Cognition and Neurosciences (CRCN), ULB Neuroscience Institute (UNI), Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Avenue F.D. Roosevelt 50, CP191, 1050 Brussels, Belgium 2Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London (UCL), Queen Square 17, London WC1N 3AR, UK *Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2015.12.067 This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). SUMMARY People may deny responsibility for negative consequences of their actions by claiming that they were ‘‘only obeying orders.’’ The ‘‘Nuremberg defense’’ offers one extreme example, though it is often dismissed as merely an attempt to avoid responsibility. Milgram’s classic laboratory studies reported widespread obedience to an instruction to harm, suggesting that social coercion may alter mechanisms of voluntary agency, and hence abolish the normal experience of being in control of one’s own actions. However, Milgram’s and other studies relied on dissembling and on explicit measures of agency, which are known to be biased by social norms. Here, we combined coercive instructions to administer harm to a co-participant, with implicit measures of sense of agency, based on perceived compression of time intervals between voluntary actions and their outcomes, and with electrophysiological recordings. In two experiments, an experimenter ordered a volunteer to make a key-press action that caused either financial penalty or demonstrably painful electric shock to their co-participant, thereby increasing their own financial gain. Coercion increased the perceived interval between action and outcome, relative to a situation where participants freely chose to inflict the same harms. Interestingly, coercion also reduced the neural processing of the outcomes of one’s own action. Thus, people who obey orders may subjectively experience their actions as closer to passive movements than fully voluntary actions. Our results highlight the complex relation between the brain mechanisms that generate the subjective experience of voluntary actions and social constructs, such as responsibility. INTRODUCTION In Milgram’s classic experiments on obedience [1, 2], an experimenter ordered volunteer participants to inflict allegedly painful shocks to a third party. These studies focused on participants’ readiness to conform to authority and obey coercive instructions to perform harmful actions. Interestingly, participants’ subjective experience in such situations has not been systematically investigated, even though the legal defense of ‘‘only obeying orders’’ implies a loss of voluntary agency with coercion. Sense of agency refers to the subjective experience of controlling one’s actions, and, through them, external events. Explicit reports of perceived agency are modulated by numerous biases , notably social desirability and cognitive dissonance effects . For example, individuals coerced into harmful actions might report reduced sense of agency for secondary gain, such as avoiding blame or punishment. Implicit measures may provide more direct access to the cognitive mechanisms underlying sense of agency, since these measures are less affected by task demands and social factors such as desirability.