Throughout our lives we are faced with choices to make in difficult situations. These situations are forced upon us by others. Denial in these situations is often met with resentment by those who have complied and attraction by those who are not involved. Why would someone be disliked for doing good?
Social psychology was popularized in the past by a series of groundbreaking studies deemed unethical by today’s standards. Specifically the Milgram shock experiment and the Zimbardo prison study. Milgram showed that authority and obedience can have detrimental effects on the way average people treat someone who is clearly in need. Zimbardo provided similar observations that emphasize the way normal people treat others in situations calling for obedience and respect for authority. This theory is nestled within the same branch of social psychology as those studies. That is, research on authority, conformity, and obedience. Rejection of Moral Rebels: Resenting Those Who Do the Right Thing by Monin et al. (2008) shows that people who take a stand against a morally problematic situation are rejected by those who followed through with the problematic situation. At the same time, uninvolved observers will admire the strength of character presented by the rebel. Obedient others claim to want to preserve the experiment and respect the researcher, thus they show deference to the authority figures. Much like high-shockers in the Milgram experiment. The obedient others also conform to what is expected of them by the same researchers. This is similar to the authority context I just mentioned as well thus showing more relation to previous lines of thinking. However, the rebels in the Monin et al. study do not conform, much like the low/none-shockers in the Milgram experiment. Finally, obedience is drawn from the obedient others while it is not drawn from the rebels.