Category Archives: Social Psychology

Bocchiaro et al., (2012) – Disobedience & Whistle-blowing

Bocchiaro, P., Zimbardo, P. G., & Van Lange, P. A. (2012). To defy or not to defy: An experimental study of the dynamics of disobedience and whistle-blowing. Social Influence, 7(1), 35-50.

This is the contemporary social psychology study which you will look at for your H167 AS OCR Psychology exam. You will also need this study for your OCR H567 A Level Psychology core studies exam.


You might find it useful to read the following books in order to gain a deeper understanding of whistleblowing:

In order to best understand this study, it is highly recommended that you first learn Milgram’s (1963) study. 

From Milgram’s (1963) we learned that people are highly obedient to authority figures, even when they know what they are being asked to do is unethical. From this Bocchiaro et al., (2012) attempted to study the extent to which individuals disobey authority and even whistle-blow.


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Milgram (1963) - Imfamous Social Psychology Experiment

Milgram (1963) – Obedience to Authority

Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral study of obedience. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67, 371-378.

This study was published in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology in 1963.


Obedience is common element found in everyday life. From obeying teachers in school, policemen on the roads, to safety signs. We obey all the time, often blindly.

It is highly recommended that you read Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View  in order to get a better understanding of the material.

Milgram was interested in understanding how Nazi SS Officers and soldiers could commit the atrocities they did in the Holocaust. Milgram reasoned that there wasn’t a group of people who shared a common goal through free will, but a group of people who obeyed a common goal through successive obedience: Hitler sends his orders, his subordinates obey, their subordinates obey and so on. Milgram theorised that it was the social situation that caused ‘normal’ people to kill millions of innocent people.

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