ETYM Old Fren. obedient, Latin obediens, oboediens, -entis. p. pr. of obedire, oboedire, to obey. Related to Obey.
Dutifully complying with the commands or instructions of those in authority.
1. Inclined or willing to submit to orders or wishes of others or showing such inclination
2. Willing to submit without resistance to authority; deferent.
In an obedient manner; SYN. yieldingly.
Meekly, in a compliant manner, humbly, obediently
ETYM French obédience, Latin obedientia, oboedientia. Related to Obedient, Obeisance.
1. Behavior intended to please one's parents; SYN. respect.
2. Dutiful or submissive behavior.
3. The trait of being willing to obey.
Carrying out instructions or commands; submitting to authority. Obedience became an important topic in social psychology in the 1960s and 1970s as a result of extensive research by us psychologist Stanley Milgram (1933–1984), which appeared to show that a high proportion of ordinary individuals would obey instructions that involved inflicting severe pain on others.
Obeying orders when disobedience results in punishment is understandable (even if not always morally justifiable), but Milgram claimed that many people would willingly obey orders, even if not threatened with punishment. The subjects in his experiments were required to act as “teachers” for a “learner” who, unknown to them, was a confederate of the experimenter. Using a simulated shock generator, they were told to administer electric shocks, of increasing strengths, every time the “learner” made a mistake. In some experiments as many as 60% of the subjects, when the experimenter told them to continue, administered shocks that they believed would seriously harm the “learner”. Although distressed by their actions, the subjects felt the experimenter was responsible. Milgram’s work has not been accepted uncritically, but it has generated much discussion and stimulated further research.