Select your language

Suggested languages for you:
Log In Start studying!
StudySmarter - The all-in-one study app.
4.8 • +11k Ratings
More than 3 Million Downloads
Free
|
|

All-in-one learning app

  • Flashcards
  • NotesNotes
  • ExplanationsExplanations
  • Study Planner
  • Textbook solutions
Start studying

Developmental Psychology in Obedience/Prejudice

Save Save
Print Print
Edit Edit
Sign up to use all features for free. Sign up now
Developmental Psychology in Obedience/Prejudice

Children change and develop rapidly, bounding through the stages of development till they reach adulthood. Naturally, psychologists were interested in studying the stages of development, in particular, how children obey and experience/understand prejudice. From this came developmental psychology.

Theories of developmental psychology

So, what is the definition of developmental psychology?

Developmental psychology is the study of humans and how they change over time.

From infancy to death, humans change in several ways, e.g., their attitudes, behaviour, brain functions, etc. This behaviour change can explain why some people develop prejudiced views or are highly obedient and how the levels of both of these change throughout their life. Environmental factors change and shape our views and behaviour through our upbringing, culture, and other environmental factors.

There are multiple theories in developmental psychology, but we are currently focusing on those surrounding obedience and prejudice, specifically:

  1. Culture
  2. Parenting
  3. Gender, as well as the subcategories within these areas of study.

Factors affecting prejudice in psychology

Let us cover some significant facts about prejudice in developmental psychology by considering the factors affecting prejudice in psychology.

Culture

We learn culture as we grow up. Humans are exposed to cultural norms as they develop and learn (and, for the most part, adopt) the behaviours and attitudes of their society and culture as a result. If a country is mono-cultural, they are more likely to develop attitudes and behaviours that preserve the nation’s culture by excluding external influences.

On the other hand, if a country is multicultural, it affects members of the society to develop pro-diversity norms. They are exposed to different walks of life, and these experiences naturally begin to shape behaviours and personal views.

Issues with early research in psychology consist of their lack of generalisability and ethnocentrism. Many studies were conducted in one country, on a particular set of participants (be that children or adults), and the results were then applied to the world. They were generalised to all people when in reality, a study on British children in the 1970s is not going to reflect the behaviours of American children in the 1970s accurately. Ssimilarly, it will not reflect Spanish children, nor will it apply to Japanese children.

Guimond et al. (2013)

Guimond et al. (2013) investigated the effect multiculturalism and assimilation had on multiple countries, which increases its generalisability, compared to previous research, which had mostly investigated these effects in only one country. The study aimed to find what effect multiculturalism and assimilation had on a country and how this effect was different for each country based on their diversity policy.

Assimilation is how a minority group integrates into a culture socially, culturally, and politically.

They expected to find that cultures with assimilation or multiculturalism in their social norms would be less prejudiced than cultures without them. The researchers tested inter-group attitudes and behaviours in low, medium, or high countries with the pro-diversity policy. They found that when diversity policy was high, anti-Muslim prejudice significantly decreased.

Researchers also found that prejudice could be accounted for by multiculturalism and assimilation norms:

  • Multiculturalism was seen as high in pro-diversity and was more positive about group interactions.
  • Assimilation was seen as low in pro-diversity and was linked to discriminatory attitudes.
  • Canada had the lowest prejudice, and Germany had the highest.

Developmental Psychology in Obedience/Prejudice factors affecting prejudice psychology diversity and multiculturalism StudySmarterDiversity and multiculturalism, Freepik

The results show that countries with multicultural norms were less prejudiced. They also asked about society’s norms and how they’d be learned from the environment (e.g. media outlets). It suggests that prejudice and discrimination can be learned from one’s environment, especially whilst growing up. Therefore, it follows the narrative of developmental psychology since it’s the environments that cause us to develop such attitudes and behaviours.

Pettigrew (1998) also conducted a study with four different countries and found similar findings. He concluded that prejudice could be found in all cultures at varying degrees.

Situational factors affecting obedience

Different factors affect how obedient we are and where this behaviour stems from. Our environment as we grow up can shape these attitudes and behaviours, so how our parents approach a problem and address the concerns can influence how children deal with issues in the future.

Parenting

One theory by Adorno et al. (1950) is that personality traits developed in childhood affect a person's approach to prejudice. The authoritarian personality develops in childhood. Children who had harsh parenting developed a love-hate relationship with their parent(s). The 'love' aspect of this relationship develops into respect for authority figures as one grows older, which results in obedience to authority figures. The 'hate' aspect originates from being repressed whilst growing up, and is displaced onto minorities and weaker members of society as one grows older.

Developmental Psychology in Obedience/PrejudiceSituational harsh parenting factors affecting obedience StudySmarterHarsh parenting, Pixabay

Personality: introverts vs extroverts

Continuing from the idea of personality traits, a study by Miranda et al. (1981) demonstrated that, in participants in Spain, there was no significant difference between obedience in extroverts and introverts. Most might expect an introvert personality style to be more obedient, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Gender

There are theories about what role gender plays in obedience and how obedience rates differ for each gender, if at all.

Gender roles and schema theory

Whilst we grow up, we are exposed to different norms based on which groups we are a part of, including gender. In society, different attitudes and behaviours are taught and learnt based on a person’s gender, and this is how gender roles are formed.

Males are stereotypically perceived as aggressive, assertive, and strong, while females are perceived to be compliant and obedient.

Gender can thus affect obedient behaviour, which can develop in multiple ways. Girls growing up will be expected to obey more and may be expected to mature faster than boys (you may have heard the phrase ‘girls mature faster than boys’, which is not entirely true). Boys may be freer to exert their control over their behaviours, and while this wasn’t an inherent trait in either gender, it has been taught to both genders. As a result, it seems like it was innate.

Gender differences

Kilham and Mann (1974) conducted a study in Australia similar to Milgram’s study on obedience. They wanted to investigate obedience rates in males and females to see if there was a difference between the genders. They had an authority figure order a participant to administer shocks to a confederate. Only 16% of females obeyed and administered the maximum voltage, while 40% of the males obeyed and administered the shocks.

These results demonstrate a gender difference in levels of obedience, and it does not necessarily follow the narrative previously held about genders. However, the female participants were administrating shocks to a female confederate. At the same time, the authority figure was male, which may have led to the behaviour being driven by in-group favouritism, which was perhaps more powerful than obedience to authority.

No gender difference

Whilst the above study’s results show quite a significant difference between the obedience rates of males and females, there have not been many other studies that have shown similar findings. Blass (1991) conducted a meta-analysis that analysed nine studies, including Kilham and Mann (1974). They found that there was no significant difference between males and females across multiple studies in obedience rates.

Developmental Psychology in Obedience/Prejudice Situational factors affecting obedience gender balance StudySmarterGender balance, Pixabay

Culture

Culture can also affect obedience. We know that societies differ in their approaches to many different aspects of life (Western societies tend to be individualistic, prioritising competition, whereas Eastern societies tend to be collectivists, prioritising the group). This can then influence how they approach obedience and prejudice. However, some cross-cultural obedience research suggests it may not be that different across cultures.

Universality of obedience

There have been studies worldwide, in different cultures, investigating Milgram’s paradigm using close replications of his study. Consider the power distance (the difference between equality in individuals in a society, and how the culture views these differences) established by Hofstede (2017) in India: A score of 77 was reported in power distance (high).

This finding suggests a general acceptance of hierarchal systems in India and a dependence on authority figures for guidance. The boss is in charge, and the difference between the bottom and top is mainly accepted. This would insinuate that there is a high rate of obedience in Indian culture. However, Gupta (1983) found that India’s actual rate of obedience was 42.5%, considerably lower than first thought.

Blass (2012) did a meta-analysis of 9 Milgram replication studies in multiple countries. They found that high obedience rates tend to be a universal trait rather than an American one, as foreign obedience rates were 65.94%, close to the American rate of 60.94%.

Cross-cultural differences in obedience

While many replications of Milgram’s study have found similar obedience rates, most of these studies have taken place in individualistic countries, e.g. Spain (Miranda et al., 1981). Smith and Bond (1998) did a meta-analysis and found that people in individualistic cultures behaved more independently and did what they wanted compared to those in collectivist cultures. Collectivist cultures were significantly more obedient.

Individualistic cultures value independent success and being competent to do things on their own, whilst collectivist cultures value group decision-making and doing what is best for the community, including following orders from an authority figure.

Developmental Psychology in Obedience/Prejudice - Key takeaways

  • Developmental Psychology is the study of humans and how they change over time. From infancy to death, humans change in several ways, e.g. their attitudes, behaviour, brain functions, etc.
  • This behaviour change can explain why some people develop prejudiced views or are highly obedient and how the levels of both of them change throughout their life.
  • Culture can affect obedience and prejudice rates. Prejudice and discrimination can be learned from one’s environment, especially whilst growing up.
  • Factors affecting obedience include parenting, gender, and culture.
  • Gender roles play a part in what behaviours and attitudes (e.g. of obedience) we expect from each gender and how people conform to these roles.

Frequently Asked Questions about Developmental Psychology in Obedience/Prejudice

Different environmental factors are looked at when learning about what affects the development of obedient attitudes and behaviours. These include gender, culture and harsh parenting (which causes the authoritarian personality to develop)

Personality may determine how a person responds to being told to obey. For example, authoritarian personality develops in childhood through harsh parenting. A love-hate relationship develops with the parent(s), translating into displaced hate for the weak members of society and respect for authority after growing up. This respect causes a person to be obedient to authority figures.

  1. Proximity
  2. Uniform
  3. Location
  4. Isolation

People with authoritarian personalities have respect for authorities and are obedient to them. They are rigid thinkers who firmly adhere to social values, show servility to authority figures, and hostility to weak members of society, e.g. minorities.

Final Developmental Psychology in Obedience/Prejudice Quiz

Question

What is the definition of developmental psychology?

Show answer

Answer

Developmental psychology is the study of humans and how they change over time. From infancy, all the way to old age, humans change in several ways, e.g. in their behaviour, brain functions, etc. 

Show question

Question

Which factor(s) affect the development of obedience?

Show answer

Answer

Parenting, gender, and culture.

Show question

Question

Which factor(s) affect the development of prejudice?

Show answer

Answer

Culture.

Show question

Question

What did Guimond et al. (2013) do differently from previous research when investigating the factors affecting prejudice?

Show answer

Answer

They researched with multiple countries instead of just one.

Show question

Question

What is the definition of assimilation?

Show answer

Answer

Assimilation is how a minority group integrates into a culture socially, culturally and politically. 

Show question

Question

What was the aim of the study conducted by Guimond et al. (2013)?

Show answer

Answer

They aimed to find the effect of multiculturalism and assimilation on a country, and how it differed for each country based on their diversity policy. 

Show question

Question

What was the main conclusion of the results of the study by Guimond et al. (2013)?

Show answer

Answer

Countries with multicultural norms were less discriminatory.

Show question

Question

Who conducted a study on the effects of culture on prejudice and found similar results to Guimond et al. (2013)?

Show answer

Answer

Pettigrew (1998).

Show question

Question

How does parenting affect the development of obedience, according to Adorno et al.?

Show answer

Answer

Adorno et al. suggested the authoritarian personality develops in childhood because of harsh parenting. A love-hate relationship thus develops, which after growing up, translates into displaced hate for the weak members of society and respect for authority (which results in obedience).

Show question

Question

What was the aim of the study by Kilham and Mann (1974)?

Show answer

Answer

They wanted to investigate obedience rates in males and females to see if there was a difference between the genders.

Show question

Question

What did Kilham and Mann (1974) find?

Show answer

Answer

Only 16% of females obeyed and administered the maximum voltage whilst 40% of males did.

Show question

Question

What were the findings of the meta-analysis of obedience studies by Blass (1991) in terms of gender differences?

Show answer

Answer

They found no significant difference between males and females in obedience rates across multiple studies.

Show question

Question

What were Blass’ meta-analysis’s findings and conclusions of obedience studies in terms of cultural differences?

Show answer

Answer

Blass did a meta-analysis of replication studies conducted in many different countries and found that obedience rates in the US were 60.94% and obedience rates in other countries were 65.94%. 

These rates are not significantly different and, therefore, support the notion that obedience is universal and there are no cultural differences.

Show question

Question

What did Smith and Bond (1998) find in their meta-analysis of obedience studies?

Show answer

Answer

Smith and Bond (1998) did a meta-analysis and found that people in individualistic cultures behaved more independently and did what they wanted compared to those in collectivist cultures. 

Show question

Question

According to Smith and Bond, what was the problem with previous research that reported similar obedience rates in multiple countries, and how did they fix it?

Show answer

Answer

Most of those studies had taken place in individualistic countries, e.g., Spain (Miranda et al., 1981). Smith and Bond (1998) compared obedience rates in both individualistic and collectivist cultures.

Show question

Question

Why are obedience rates different in individualistic and collectivist cultures?

Show answer

Answer

Individualistic cultures value independent success and being competent to do things on your own, while collectivist cultures value group decision-making and doing what is best for the community, including following orders from an authority figure.

Show question

More about Developmental Psychology in Obedience/Prejudice
60%

of the users don't pass the Developmental Psychology in Obedience/Prejudice quiz! Will you pass the quiz?

Start Quiz

Discover the right content for your subjects

No need to cheat if you have everything you need to succeed! Packed into one app!

Study Plan

Be perfectly prepared on time with an individual plan.

Quizzes

Test your knowledge with gamified quizzes.

Flashcards

Create and find flashcards in record time.

Notes

Create beautiful notes faster than ever before.

Study Sets

Have all your study materials in one place.

Documents

Upload unlimited documents and save them online.

Study Analytics

Identify your study strength and weaknesses.

Weekly Goals

Set individual study goals and earn points reaching them.

Smart Reminders

Stop procrastinating with our study reminders.

Rewards

Earn points, unlock badges and level up while studying.

Magic Marker

Create flashcards in notes completely automatically.

Smart Formatting

Create the most beautiful study materials using our templates.

Just Signed up?

Yes
No, I'll do it now

Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.