Discussion: Exploring Social Psychology in Science and Scripture
PSYC312: Social Psychology (B09)
Professor Tim Bouman
Stanley Milgram’s studies reflected on the behavior of people killed by subordinate individuals being obedient to an authority figure. Milgram wanted to understand this type of blind obedience as it related to the fatality of others. Milgram like many others wondered, how can a person commit to the massacre and torture of millions of people? This question and many like it qualify Milgram’s studies to align with the definition of social psychology. Social psychologists study views and beliefs, traditionalism, and freedom, even good and bad. Milgram’s study hypnotized how conformity and order influenced the attitude of murdering others because a higher power told them to do so. People are social creatures; we act and think in ideas we learned from others. Many desire to connect with others no matter the cost or loss of others. It was not shocking that during Milligram’s experiment nearly two-thirds of the people willingly complied to inflict harm on other people when given orders to do so (Myers & Twenge, 2019). We are pliable as social beings and sometimes this can be toxic. In the military not following orders was equal to treason by superiors. We consistently operated in blind obedience. Our views and behavior were shaped by a plethora of external forces good and bad. There is hope in Jesus Christ if we let him become our primary external force and shape our lives through his behavior and attitude. In a Christian worldview the bible reveals the heart of mankind, we study people knowing the truth of God’s word along with science, and research. Hebrews 4:12 proclaims, the Word of God is living and active. It judges all thoughts and intentions of the heart. It illuminates issues of the spirit, body, and soul of a person good or bad (King James Bible, 2017). The word of God is our world view and guides us in our studies.
King James Bible. (2017). King James Bible Online. https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/ (Original work published 1769)
Myers, D., Twenge, J.M. (2019). Social Psychology (14th ed). McGraw-Hill Education