Psychology and Social Control: Milgram Experiment during Covid-19 Pandemic
As preventive measures have been applied by authorities to reduce exposure to, and the spread of, COVID-19 pandemic, it would be extremely important to understand how individuals respond to these new rules, especially the extent to which they are likely to follow or violate them. The exploration of social obedience is extremely important nowadays, due to the severity of the pandemic and the intense concern for the future, bringing to light one of the most famous experiments in the history of psychology, the Milgram experiment. The purpose of the experiment was to explore individuals’ behavior, when they were requested to obey authorities/experts’ orders/instructions, considering that these orders were opposed to their will, personal values, or conscience. Following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the conditions of social reality have tested individuals’ limits of endurance and tolerance in terms of social obedience to power. Thoughts and reflections related to factors that could possibly affect social compliance and obedience are recorded in the present article. When do people choose not to comply with guidelines or regulations? Which could have been the effects of stressful situations, such as pandemics, on human behavior? Undoubtedly, the conflict between personal autonomy and protection of others always arises in periods of great threat to public health. Many people may disagree with some of the measures taken by authorities. Voluntary obedience to power and social compliance for the sake of the society may impose restrictions to individuals’ freedoms, especially in the case of a pandemic.