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On the dynamics of disobedience: experimental investigations of defying unjust authority

Authors Bocchiaro P, Zimbardo P

Received 8 March 2017

Accepted for publication 17 June 2017

Published 13 July 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 219—229

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PRBM.S135094

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Akshita Wason

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Igor Elman

Video abstract presented by Philip Zimbardo.

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Piero Bocchiaro,1 Philip Zimbardo2

1Department of Psychology, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy; 2Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

Abstract: Across six Experimental conditions with university student participants (N=600), we examined some of the dynamics underlying expressed defiance to unjust authority. Results revealed disobedience was best enacted by participants low in right-wing authoritarianism and was more likely to occur when: 1) in physical proximity of other rebels, 2) the authority made two demanding requests instead of one, and 3) there had been an earlier opposition to injustice. Results are discussed within the theoretical framework of bounded rationality.

Keywords: defiance, unjust authority, obedience, disobedience

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