Authority bias is the tendency to attribute greater accuracy to the opinion of an authority figure (unrelated to its content) and be more influenced by that opinion. The Milgram experiment in 1961 was the classic experiment that established its existence.
In any society, a diverse and widely accepted system of authority allows the development of sophisticated structures for the production of resources, trade, expansion and social control. Since the opposite is anarchy, we are all trained from birth to believe that obedience to authority is right. Notions of submission and loyalty to legitimate rule of others are accorded values in schools, the law, the military and in political systems. The strength of the bias to obey a legitimate authority figure comes from systemic socialization practices designed to instill in people the perception that such obedience constitutes correct behavior. Different societies vary the terms of this dimension. As we grow up, we learn that it benefits us to obey the dictates of genuine authority figures because such individuals usually possess higher degrees of knowledge, wisdom and power. Consequently, deference to authority can occur in a mindless fashion as a kind of decision-making short cut.
- Milgram, Stanley (1963). "Behavioral Study of obedience.". The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. 67 (4). Jul 1963
- Ellis RM (2015). Middle Way Philosophy: Omnibus Edition. Lulu Press, Inc.
- Milgram S Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View (1974)
- Hinnosaar, Marit; Hinnosaar, Toomas (August 31, 2012). "Authority Bias".
- Huczynski, Andrzej (2004). Influencing within organizations. Routledge.