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Raj Persaud in conversation - the podcasts

Apr 11, 2020

You can also listen to this interview on a free app on iTunes and Google Play Store entitled 'Raj Persaud in conversation', which includes a lot of free information on the latest research findings in psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience and mental health, plus interviews with top experts from around the world. Download it free from these links. Don't forget to check out the bonus content button on the app.


Introduction quoted from:

Annual Review of Law and Social Science 50 Years of “Obedience to Authority”: From Blind Conformity to Engaged

Alexander Haslam and Stephen D. Reicher
School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Australia and School of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom

In early 1961, residents of New Haven, Connecticut, were targeted via newspaper advertisements to take part in a psychology experiment at Yale University. Having been recruited, they arrived at a laboratory where they were asked by an experimenter to administer shocks to a learner whenever he made errors on a word-recall task. These shocks were administered via a shock generator and increased from 0 to 450 volts in 15-V intervals. The study was introduced as an investigation of the effects of punishment on learning, but in fact the researchers were interested in how far participants would be willing to follow their instructions. Would they be willing to give any shocks at all? Or would they stop at 150 V when the learner cried out, “Get me out of here, please. My
heart’s starting to bother me. I refuse to go on. Let me out”? Or at 300 V when he let out an agonized scream and shouted, “I absolutely refuse to answer any more. Get me out of here. You can’t hold me here. Get me out. Get me out of here”? Or would they continue to a maximum of 450 V (long after the learner had stopped responding)—a point labeled XXX on the generator? The answer was that of 40 participants, only 7 (17.5%) stopped at 150 V or lower, whereas 26
(65%) went all the way to 450 V. This finding suggested that most normal, well-adjusted people would be prepared to kill an innocent stranger if they were asked to do so by a person in authority. And in this finding the results appeared to bear testimony to the destructive and ineluctable power
of blind obedience (e.g., Benjamin & Simpson 2009, Lutsky 1995).

Stephen David Reicher

School of Psychology & Neuroscience
St Andrews
United Kingdom

Overview of Stephen Reicher's research interests from St Andrews University website

Broadly - the issues of group behaviour and the individual-social relationship. More specifically, my recent research can be grouped into three areas. The first is an attempt to develop a model of crowd action that accounts for both social determination and social change. The second concerns the construction of social categories through language and action. The third concerns political rhetoric and mass mobilisation - especially around the issue of national identity. Currently, I am starting work on a Leverhulme funded project (jointly with Nick Hopkins of Lancaster University) looking at the impact of devolution on Scottish identity and social action in Scotland.