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Document Type

Article

Abstract

Participants repeatedly chose between 25 s of cartoon video followed by 5 s of time-out and 5 s of cartoon video followed by 25 s of time-out. In the first 15 min, participants chose the former schedule on 80% of trials. In the second 15 min, they were instructed to choose only the latter. When informed that leaving would not be a problem for the researcher because enough data were already collected, approximately 20% quit. When participants were additionally instructed that most participants withdrew, approximately 50% of them quit, a result supporting Milgram’s (1965a) hypothesis that disobedience increases when it appears to be normative. As in Milgram’s experiments, participants were more likely to withdraw on early trials than on later trials. Operant procedures involving instructions to choose a mildly aversive schedule offer an alternative to simulations as a way of investigating the conflicts and escape processes characteristic of the Milgram obedience paradigm.

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