Current Commentary On Classic Research In Social Psychology Research Paper Samples

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Community, Children, Family, Experiment, Education, People, Dialogue, Discussion

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/11/06

Milgram (1963) investigated destructive obedience to determine how harmful people would be to other people because they were told to. This study was largely inspired by the Nazi’s crimes against humanity, and Milgram (1963) referenced the millions of people killed and the acts committed as a result of obeying orders. Milgram’s (1963) experiment required men to deliver what they thought were dangerous, high voltage shocks to another man. Subjects were told that they were participating in an experiment about punishment and memory, and each subject was told to deliver a higher voltage for every wrong answer given. The responses of the accomplice learner and the prompts of the experimenter were standardized, and the dependent variable was how high of voltage each subject would administer before refusing to participate anymore. There were 40 participants, all male, between the ages of 20 and 50 from a range of occupations and educational levels (Milgram, 1963).
Milgram (1963) asked colleagues and psychology seniors at Yale for their predictions of the results, and they thought that only a couple, if any, would continue to the highest level of shock. However, 26 participants obeyed to the very end, and the first five participants to stop did not do so until the learner kicked the wall and stopped answering the questions. Milgram (1963) noted the unexpected amount of extreme tension the participants showed with behavior such as shaking, stuttering, and nervous fits of laughter. The results of this experiment are extremely important because they showed that regular people would ignore moral values of humanity because someone in authority told them to. The experimenter did not hold a gun to their heads, but they chose to follow instructions regardless of the harm they thought it was causing. If the same research were conducted today participants would likely not be so obedient because over the last few decades a general feeling of distrust toward authority figures has developed, but there would probably still be people who would obey to the end.
Aronson and Mills’ (1959) study investigated the questions of whether people value things more if they put forth more effort to attain it, and if it was true what caused it. They performed an experiment in which participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions. Participants either had to read something very embarrassing, not very embarrassing, or not anything at all before joining a group. Each participant joined a discussion group about sex and was told that the group had been meeting for a while and they were replacing someone who could not come. Each participant listened to the same group discussion on headphones without knowing it was a recording so that they would all have the same group experience. Afterwards, each participant filled out a questionnaire about their reactions to the discussion and group members. The results showed that participants who had undergone the embarrassing experience in order to join the group enjoyed the discussion, and liked the group members, significantly more than participants in the other two conditions (Aronson, & Mills, 1959).
Aronson and Mills (1959) had expected the participants who had to read something very embarrassing to give higher ratings to the discussion group and enjoy the experience more because they had invested more to be a part of the group. This research was important because it confirmed a common belief through scientific methods and validated the concept for applicable uses. For example, companies can use this concept when hiring new employees with the knowledge that a more intensive and difficult hiring process will make new employees enjoy and appreciate their employment positions more. If this research was conducted today with the same methods, the results would likely not be the same because the embarrassing words that had to be read were vulgar and sexually explicit, and many people today are desensitized to this and would not be very embarrassed. However, if the embarrassing material was modernized to have the same embarrassing effect than the results would be the same.
Rosenthal and Jacobson (1966) investigated whether teacher expectations can significantly influence children’s learning. In their experiment, Rosenthal and Jacobson (1966) had all children at an entire elementary school take an intelligence test. Twenty percent of each class was randomly assigned to the experimental condition, and their names were given to their teachers as students who would show remarkable intellectual advancement during the school year. Therefore, the only difference between the experimental and control conditions was what the teacher was told about students in the experimental condition. Eight months later all of the children took the same intelligence test, and the children in the experimental condition had significantly higher increases in their scores than the children in the control condition (Rosenthal, & Jacobson, 1966).
Rosenthal and Jacobson (1966) had expected the results of their study because of similar experiments that had previously been done with animals and their trainers. However, they concluded that the important question was how the teacher’s expectations affected their behaviors toward the children and brought about the expected behavior (Rosenthal, & Jacobson, 1966). This research is very important because of its implications for stereotypes in the classroom. For example, the common belief that boys are better at math than girls could be affecting teachers’ behavior in a way that does not give girls a fair chance at learning and math achievement. Also, this concept could be used to help children who have not been academically successful in previous years to advance their performance. If this research was done today it would have the same results because the teachers would still treat children differently if they knew the children had higher potential than the rest; encouraging, giving more attention to, and having more confidence in the children they know will profit most from their attention.


Aronson, E., & Mills, J. (1959). The effect of severity of initiation on liking for a group. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 59(2), 177-181.
Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral study of obedience. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67(4), 371-378.
Rosenthal, R., & Jacobson, L. (1966). Teachers’ expectancies: Determinants of pupils’ IQ gains. Psychological Reports, 19(1), 115-118.

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Current Commentary On Classic Research In Social Psychology Research Paper Samples. Free Essay Examples - Published Nov 06, 2020. Accessed June 27, 2022.

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