in some situations people act verydifferently than what we like to think. authority. authority is a is a topic of great importance. we won'tfinish it today. we'll finish up on monday but i want to get you started on this because authority is the basis of a lot ofsociety's power, right? look at any political instabilityanywhere in the world and what you see is conflicts between authority. who's in charge of an area
has a lot to do with peace and stabilityin the area. that peace and stability can be broughtabout through brutal crackdowns where nobody can descent and everybody's scared to be themselves or tell the truth or it can be brought about in our country by legitimate authoritybeing elected by the people with lots of disagreements. but agreement on a fundamental principlethat, well, if you don't perform well in the elected duties that were your tasks, we'll
vote somebody else in next time. so there's a little accountability. so authority rests on perceived legitimacy. no legitimacy, you don't really have authority unless it's a brutal type of dictatorship. and with that, y'all have a wonderful, wonderful weekend and i'll see you all on monday, i hope. authority. authority. we obey people when we think they havelegitimate authority, when we think they have legitimate authority or whenwe're compelled
to recognize the power that they wieldfairly or unfairly. most people wouldn't say that dictatorshold legitimate power but they hold actual power in that they cancause the death of human beings or the imprisonment ofhuman beings and therefore because they wield that power, they are in authority by default. so you look at authority as a socialinfluence principle. we were just talking here earlier before class, the difference between cognitive dissonance and consistency.
cognitive dissonance is an internal needto be consistent with your attitude and your behavior. where you can change your attitude and behavior, right, accordingly to reduce the dissonance. consistency is a social influence principle, right? it's this intangible need to beconsistent with one another. there's a pressure. you say you're going to go do something on friday night, friday night you don't feel like doing it anymore but you you do it anyway cause i said i would. there's a pressure, a social pressure. there's pressure in authority that wedon't even really acknowledge.
simply the the accoutrements of authority can be powerful influenceson our behavior. let me give you an example. every christmas time, excuse me, every november, johnson city has achristmas parade. it's always befuddled me why they hold it amonth before christmas but that's fine. they hold it in november. i used to takemy kid to see the parade when he was small enough to care about such things as parades, and as a person that doesn'tparticularly care for them any more than he does anymore,
i would take the kid to see the parade andwe would stand down on the side of the road like everybody else would and johnson city parades, at least when iwas going to them, always start late. now i don't mean a little bit late. i mean like 20, 30, 40 minutes late, and it's interesting. so, i'm finding myself on the road, nobody on state of franklin, the whole thing is shut down. i'm way up there towards the mills, right,and i'm standing there. nobody's on the road but there's somecops circling right down here in the mini-dome. police officers on motorcycles, four of them.
just circling, killing time, right, waiting for the parade to begin because they're the lead people and i'm just bored, personally, so i just kind of walk out into the street. how often can you walk around state of franklin (road) and not get killed, right? so i'm just out there kind of wandering around state of franklin. it's way past time tostart this parade and what do you know, social influence,one person does something and then what do you know, conformity. a few people start wandering out on the street. why not wander out the street? there's no sign that says you can't be in the street.
the street's closed. safe to be there. so now i'm looking down the road and there's now there's four or five or six people outwandering around in the street, just moving their legs a little bit, right? standing around, getting out there a little bit, and then i see the police officers go fromcircle formation to phalanx and they start coming in really slowly upthe up the road in a four, right? in a line, coming up the road. now, they don't have their sirens on, alright, they're not squawking on bullhorns, they'rejust coming this way,
and what do you know. person one gets out of the road well before they get to them. person two and three get out of the road. well i'm just standing there watching the power. they didn't say get out of the road. there's no sign that says you can't be in the road. they're just coming up the road and peopleare clearing off the road and they got closer and closer to me and i got off the road. i just got off the road. it felt like ishould get off the road. why? cause the authority was coming this way. it's not something you're usually able to do. here are people that usually keep youfrom doing those things and the mere
presence changed my behavior but i wasmindful of that change because of the training and the background i have. but there's so many situations. i saw yesterday at warrior's state park, there was a sign that says, notan authorized swimming area, and there was people swimming, right there, and i said to myself, well it doesn't say it's not an unauthorized swimming area either. they didn't say you couldn't swim there. they just said, we didn't say you can swim here. all in the wording of the sign. big red signthat says, not an authorized
swimming area. but it doesn't say it isan unauthorized, can't swim here area either. so this powerful authority makes us feel less individualistic and that's where you getpsychological reactance. you know some people will follow authority. my daughter, she used to walk on it, youknow when you go on the path and you can see the paths that are beaten through the grass, right? people just walk on the grass and thenthey beat a path in it and people are smart will then pave that,
right? go where the people go and thenpave, and she just wouldn't do it. she wouldn't walk on the grass. and i'd always walk on the grass, she's like, don't walk on the grass. if the sign says don't walk on the grass,you know what? i'm twice as likely to walk on thegrass. it's grass. come on, seriously? don't walk on the grass. i get it. you don't want to trample the grass. you don't kill the grass. but there's that sense of wanting to reassert your ownindependence. that's what psychological reactance
is. some people are overt about it andsome people are covert about it. they say, well i'll do it, and then they passively-aggressively what? don't do it, right? they just... why... because it feels like the authority is impinging on our freedom and as soon as the authority seems out ofthe way, we do reassert our freedom. so that's the ideaof psychological reactance. now, i've talked a lot about the power of the situation and how it trumps what we think about as personality,right? attitude, belief, value, aren't we always consistent with our beliefs and our values? no, we're not.
the situation can be very powerful and change our behaviors in the same way that i'm talking about being changed myself and being mindful of that change. stanley milgram did an experiment thatis classic. and he did it because he couldn't believewhat he saw. the holocaust is not a myth. the holocaust occurred. if you want ample evidence ofit go to the holocaust museum in dc. it's not a hoax. nazis
took over. they committed massive atrocities and we lost massive numbers of people inthis country trying to stop it, no question about it. if you know yourhistory, there's no question about it. if you're easily swayed cause you don't like to read details, then god only knows what you might think. but knowing this, the nuremberg trials were where they brought the surviving captured officers to trial for the atrocitiesthey committed. they were televised. one of our supreme court justices was involved in the trial set,
and what you saw, time and time again,were not people going, you know what, i hated jews, or i hated gypsies, or i hatedthe mentally retarded, or i hated homosexuals and i wanted to killthem myself. you didn't see that. what you saw was, i was just following orders. i just following orders. what kind ofexplanation is that? i was just following orders. well, if you understand military hierarchy, you best follow orders. in fact, milgram was so taken by this seemingly non-explanation explanation
after world war i having beenoriginated in that very area by very similar groupsof people and seeing world war ii, he started wondering, well maybe germans are just obedient. maybe they're just hardwired to say okay to any order. and he wanted to develop an experiment to show that americans would never do this.americans would never blindly follow orders, right? they would never engage inridiculously immoral behavior on a mass scale. you couldn't get them to do it individually
and then he would go over and demonstrate by taking the test elsewhere that those people have higher then average or normal levels of obedience to authority. so he set up an experimentthat's really creative and really unethical and you really can't do it again withoutlots of lots of participant protection. we talk about informed consent, we talk aboutinstitutional review boards making sure research is ethical, thisis always held up as a gleaming example of what you shouldn't do to participants
because they had no idea what was aboutto happen to them. now, if i asked you if you would go into alaboratory and kill a person, because some guy in a lab coat told you you should, i think probably everybody in here would go, no i wouldn't. why would i do that? of course, i wouldn't do that. who would do that? milgram didn't think anybody would dothat either. he set up this experiment to where you would, as a participant, come in and administer a shock to a person for
getting an answer wrong on a memory test. but it was a setup. you come in as thereal participant and you see another participant, youthink it's a participant, but it's not, it's a confederate, an actor. they rig the drawing so that you're the teacherand the other person is the learner. and then you go around the wall and strap the learner in. you strap the learner in and their hand is on a shock plate thatyou as the teacher are going to operate. this is... this is high... this is yale. high levelstuff
in the fifties, right? y'all know yale, right? it's got a reputation. good reputation. so here we are in a laboratory at yalewith a doctor in a lab coat, a willing participantbecoming a learner, volunteered to do it. you're a willing participant, volunteered to become a teacher and they show you the shock plate works. they give you a little zzzzz to show it works. i think it was 45 volts they tested. now, volts get transferred in different ways, and i don't know if you ever had your hand shocked by a 110 outlet
but if you have, you know it. it's a presenceyou don't ignore. i once had braces and i'm just that kind of guy that had a curiosity. i wondered what happens when you take a 9 volt battery and apply it to braces. i did it onetime. it was sufficient to say, i don't want to do that again. i saw a bright white light and that wasthe last time i did it. so there is some power in this. now they see that the shock plate is real. they strap the learner in so that hecan't get out. he mentions, oh, i've got a heart condition. the researcher goes, that's okay.
we go back around and we're going to teach the learner pairs, associations, and the learner is going to simply learn them. but it's under this auspice of, we're doing research on conditions of punishment. we all have behaviorism going on, right? reinforcement, punishment, we wonder if people learn better if they are punished. so if you get it wrong, you deliver a 15volt shock. the next time you get it wrong, it's 30 volts.
the next time you get it wrong, 45, and it goes on and on and on up until 450 volts and there's labels across thisthing, labels that say danger, intense, severe, and ultimately a label with xxx which back then did not mean pornography. it meant death. it meant poison. it meant you kill somebody at this. the question is who would punish somebody all
the way up to 450 volts and, of course, milgram thought nobody will really do this. very few people would do this. he asked students and colleagues and the estimates ranged from like 0 to 3percent. well, somebody might do it, but you knowthey're psychotic, right? there's some people that are cruel in this world thatmight do that. but most people would discontinue that kind of experiment, they would never go all the way to the end where hypothetically you can kill a humanbeing. is that casper glass? hell, yeah!
good to see you sir. you was hiding out back there. you didn't think i'd notice. but here is thereal answer. wow! of forty, twenty-six went all the way! all the way to the end and the other people didn't stop off early.they went on, too. the confederate learner responded in thefollowing way. now, it was a recorded thing, an acting was occurring, right? they weren't reallybeing shocked,
but the shock generator looked real. it had lights on it. it had dials on it. when youclicked the button, it went, eeeeennnnnn (shock sound) and you had an intercom and you could hear the person on the other side cause you would tell them what the word pair was andthey were supposed to push the button for the correct answer, right, one of the four is correct. you push the wrong one, you go eeennnn (shock sound), and the little dial goes way up, light goes on, you'vealready felt that it gives a real shock. this is what you heard when you were doing this voltage (grunt of pain) at seventy-five, (howl of pain
at 120. ow, i won't do it, i refuse, i won't go on. you have to let meout of here. you have to let me out of here. i won't do that one. at 300, a heart condition and at 330, nothing. dead silence. theoretically, the guy is either passed out unconscious or he's dead and they don't they don't think this isn't real. theythink it's real, and here's what's happening. the teacher
is not some horrifying monster. the teacher is a human being and they aren't comfortable with this atall, at all, at all. they are upset by it. they protest. they say, i can't go on. he says he wants to be let out. he has a right to be let out if he wants to be let out, and the experimenter in the lab coatjust stays stoic and says, you must continue.you have to continue. you must continue. the experimentrequires that you continue. he's fine. go on. the experiment requires you to go on.
it's absolutely essential to go on. you haveno choice. you must go on. do you have to go on? no. the pressure. the social pressure is what's operating here. until you see that, you can't possiblywrap your mind around people doing this, and yet,experimentally, they can make it happen. they can make ithappen reliably. now, authority has to beperceived as legitimate. you're at yale with a doctor, with a learner who said they would do it. you're a teacher who said you would do it.
you get compliance, a little bit, a little bit, a little bit, a little bit. you just gave 75. why not give 90, right? just gave 300, why not 315? at what point do you cross the line that people are protesting? they said i don't want to do this. they're doing weird things. i observed a mature and initially poisedbusinessman in a laboratory smiling and confident. within 20 minutes, he was reduced to a twittering, stuttering wreck, rapidly approaching nervous collapse. he constantly pulled on his ear lobe, twisted his hands. at
one point he pushed his fist into his forehead and muttered, "oh god, let's stop it." and yet he continued to respond to everyword of the experimenter and obeyed until the end. these are people like youand me. these are a bunch of gullible sheep thatdo whatever. some people quit, but look how far theywent before they quit. the vast majority went all the way causethe social pressure was so so salient, and then afterward, their cognitive dissonance, you can't imagine, right? who sees themselves as a killer? nobody. nobody sane. and i see...
i won't show these videos but you can get them. they're on youtube. they show one guy goes all the way through it and the guy who's not dead, who's the actor, comesaround and he's like, whoa, man, i'm so glad to see you. i was about to leave. a little late but that's how hesalved his conscience, right? i'm not a killer. i just did this andwhat do you think they all said as the explanation? just obeying orders. they all said, who's responsible for this?
the person in the labcoat says, i'm responsible for this, right? who's going to take responsibility? somebody else. i'm just doing what he told... he told meto do it. they would say, i'll give the money back and they're like, the money's yours to keep whether you do anything or not, and they sat there and did it. now guess what? he didn't have to go to germany to test thegermans because what he found was a humanprinciple. now, up the social situation. would you liketo become a member of the nazi party? hell no! click, would you like to become amember of the nazi party?
alright. alright, or maybe you're one of those people goes, you know what, no, hell no. oh! family members. would you like tobecome a member of the nazi party? pretty soon the pressure is so severe you'll go along and there's a lot ofincentives of going along. the punishment for not going alongliterally is death. the pressure, the social pressure. why don't the north koreans just rise up and overthrow their dictator? because the pressure. you die if you tryto do that. you will die. your family will be torturedand killed
while you watch if you don't do it. so, it's now no longer a mystery. it's notsomething wrong fundamentally with the germans. it's what was wrong with the socialsystem that was happening at the time and that is pretty amazing. sad and strange as it is.