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The person who, with inner conviction, loathes stealing, killing, and

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The person who, with inner conviction, loathes stealing, killing, and  [#permalink]

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The person who, with inner conviction, loathes stealing, killing, and assault, may find himself performing these acts with relative ease when commanded by authority. Behaviour that is unthinkable in an individual who is acting of his own volition may be executed without hesitation when carried out under orders. An act carried out under command is, psychologically, of a profoundly different character than spontaneous action.

The important task, from the standpoint of a psychological study of obedience, is to be able to take conceptions of authority and translate them into personal experience. It is one thing to talk in abstract terms about the respective rights of the individual and of authority; it is quite another to examine a moral choice in a real situation. We all know about the philosophic problems of freedom and authority. But in every case where the problem is not merely academic there is a real person who must obey or disobey authority. All musing prior to this moment is mere speculation, and all acts of disobedience are characterized by such a moment of decisive action.

When we move to the laboratory, the problem narrows: if an experimenter tells a subject to act with increasing severity against another person, under what conditions will the subject comply, and under what conditions will he disobey? The laboratory problem is vivid, intense, and real. It is not something apart from life, but carries to an extreme and very logical conclusion certain trends inherent in the ordinary functioning of the social world. The question arises as to whether there is any connection between what we have studied in the laboratory and the forms of obedience we have so often deplored throughout history. The differences in the two situations are, of course, enormous, yet the difference in scale, numbers, and political context may be relatively unimportant as long as certain essential features are retained.

To the degree that an absence of compulsion is present, obedience is coloured by a cooperative mood; to the degree that the threat of force or punishment against the person is intimated, obedience is compelled by fear. The major problem for the individual is to recapture control of his own regnant processes once he has committed them to the purposes of others. The difficulty this entails represents the poignant and in some degree tragic element in the situation, for nothing is bleaker than the sight of a person striving yet not fully able to control his own behaviour in a situation of consequence to him.

The essence of obedience is the fact that a person comes to view himself as the instrument for carrying out another‘s wishes, and he therefore no longer regards himself as culpable for his actions. Once this critical shift of viewpoint has occurred, all of the essential features of obedience—the adjustment of thought, the freedom to engage in cruel behaviour, and the types of justification experienced by the person (essentially similar whether they occur in a psychological laboratory or on the battlefield)—follow. The question of generality, therefore, is not resolved by enumerating all of the manifest differences between the psychological laboratory and other situations, but by carefully constructing a situation that captures the essence of obedience—a situation in which a person gives himself over to authority and no longer views himself as the cause of his own actions.

1. According to the passage, which of the following statements is NOT false?

A. People will never commit acts that they judge to be wrong.
B. People will always obey those who are in positions of authority over them.
C. Obedience is not an important subject because it affects only a very limited number of acts.
D. It is possible to study obedience through a laboratory experiment.
E. Obedience is not impacted by a cooperative mood


2. In the context of the points being made by the author in the passage, the phrase ―absence of compulsion‖ (line 30) refers to:

A. the lack of punishment in psychological experiments.
B. obedience that is willingly given to one‘s superior.
C. the freedom to disobey the orders of those in authority.
D. one‘s ability to consider the moral implications of an act.
E. having the free will to do what one wants


3. Which of the following findings would serve to most WEAKEN the author‘s claim in the passage about obedience to authority?

A. A study that concludes that most obedience to authority is motivated by fear
B. A study that demonstrates that most authority figures in government behave immorally
C. A study that shows that most people do not have strongly held ethical values
D. A study that asserts that people with a college education are less likely to obey authority figures than those with only a high school education
E. A study that proves that fear is an overriding emotion for most human beings


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Re: The person who, with inner conviction, loathes stealing, killing, and  [#permalink]

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Re: The person who, with inner conviction, loathes stealing, killing, and  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Oct 2018, 00:58

Topic and Scope

- The psychological ramifications of obedience to authority versus
control over one's one actions.

Mapping the Passage


¶1 states that people do things they otherwise wouldn‘t when so ordered by authority.
¶2 argues that psychological studies have to take into account the practical aspects of
obedience in addition to theoretical ideas.
¶3 suggests that laboratory-tested obedience effectively highlights these practical
aspects.
¶4 says that obedience is influenced by fear and the desire to cooperate, and that the
individual obeying has trouble controlling his own behaviour.
¶5 expands on the point in ¶4: the laboratory can effectively simulate real-world
conditions that lead to obedience.
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The person who, with inner conviction, loathes stealing, killing, and  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Oct 2018, 01:00
1

Answers and Explanations


1)

Review the main points in the map, and read the stem carefully: you‘re looking for something that‘s not false, i.e., that is true. While three choices don‘t follow from the passage, (D) summarizes the point made in ¶3 that the lab is a good place to study obedience.
(A): Opposite. One of the author‘s main points, most clearly expressed in ¶1, is that people will do things that they‘d normally consider wrong when obeying authority.
(B): Distortion. While the author argues that people often do this, there‘s no indication in the passage that authority is always obeyed.
(C): Opposite. The author surely thinks that the study of obedience is important, or the passage wouldn‘t be written.
(D): The correct answer
(E): Opposite. This is mentioned in para 4.
Strategy Point:
Read question stems carefully. In this case, even though the stem includes the word “false,” you’re looking for an answer choice that’s true.

2)

Review the lines in context. The author argues that this ―absence of compulsion‖ goes hand in hand with a ―cooperative mood,‖ which suggests that the phrase means the person is obeying on their own free will. (B) says the same.
(A): Out of Scope. While fear is mentioned as a factor later in the passage, it doesn‘t tie into this phrase, nor is there any indication that psychological experiments do lack punishment.
(B): The correct answer
(C): Distortion. While the person who has an absence of compulsion presumably is free to disobey, the phrase is more concerned with those who do obey, though free to refuse.
(D): Out of Scope. Moral implications aren‘t discussed or hinted at anywhere in the vicinity of this phrase.
(E): Incorrect as explained above

3)

What is the author‘s main argument about obedience? People do things they don‘t want to do because they feel compelled to by authority. Look for something that challenges this point: If (C) is true, the author‘s point about not wanting to do things, most clearly expressed in ¶1, makes no sense. If people have no strong ethical values, then bad actions wouldn't necessarily be against their will.
(A): Opposite. This would support the author‘s point about fear made in the last paragraph.
(B): Opposite. This would support the author‘s idea that authority is often used to advance immoral aims.
(C): The correct answer
(D): Out of Scope. This is an irrelevant distinction; the author doesn‘t say anything about which segments of society would be more or less willing to obey authority
(E): Opposite. This would support the author‘s point about fear made in the fourth paragraph.
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The person who, with inner conviction, loathes stealing, killing, and &nbs [#permalink] 25 Oct 2018, 01:00
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