The purpose of this assignment is to discuss the ideas of four influential psychologists and the methods they used to develop their ideas. In order to distinguish fact from fiction and to fully understand human behaviour better, psychology sets out to describe, explain, predict and where necessary to control behaviour. The four psychologists I have chosen are Stanley Milgram (1963) whose theories are based on social learning, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) whose theories were based on the psychodynamic model, Asch (1951) focusing on social learning and Bandura (1963) again on the social learning model. Before we go on I would like to mention that the concise definition of psychology as stated in the oxford dictionary is, ‘the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behaviour in a given context.’
One influential psychologist who based his work around the social influence theory is Stanley Milgram (1933-1984). His experiments were on obedience –situational variables- believing in the right situation people will obey. Real life events spurred the infamous studies into obedience by Milgram (1963, 1973)
After the Second World War, German war criminals involved in the holocaust were put on trial for war crimes. Many of them claimed in defence that they were ‘only obeying orders’. Milgram was intrigued by the apparent contradiction between the ordinariness of men involved and the horrific acts they’d carried out. He was interested in how the idea of obeying orders fitted into the picture, and to what extent ordinary people would obey orders to harm an innocent human being. He brought these factors together in a range of different studies the main one is described below;
Participants believed they were taking part in a study on the role of punishment in learning and memory. Forty males aged between 20 and fifty, jobs ranging from unskilled to professional all volunteered for the experiment via an advertisement....