What causes us to obey to authority figures such as police, teachers and politicians
and why do people conform to social norms? A number of psychologists have tries
to explain obedience and social influence, and in this section of Psychologist World we
look at studies, theories and explanations of the influences we succumb to in
every day life.
The events of World War II and the Holocaust, in which millions were sacrificed
by soldiers' willingness to obey to authority figues in Nazi Germany raise questions
as to why people are willing to bypass their own values and morals in favour
of another person's.
The first form of influence in our lives comes from the roles we see ourselves
as fulfilling, explaining why some groups of society behave in a similar way
en mass. For example, a student in school will usually treat their teacher with
more respect than, say, another child. When they leave school, they will act
differently towards different people depending on their role in a situation.
Psychologist Zimbardo looked at the influence of role-playing in his controversial
How Role-Playing Influences People:
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