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A form of social influence in which a person yields to explicit instructions or orders from an authority figure. Experimental research into this phenomenon was pioneered by the US psychologist Stanley Milgram (1933–84) who conducted a series of experiments, the first of which was published in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology in 1963, in which approximately two-thirds of participants administered what they believed to be extremely painful and possibly lethal electric shocks to an innocent victim when instructed to do so by an authoritative experimenter. See also law of social impact, Stanford prison experiment. Compare compliance, conformity.

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