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Example Answer for Question 7 Paper 1: A Level Psychology, June 2017 (AQA)

A Level

Section A – Social: Q7 [3 Marks]

Another explanation for obedience is the agentic state explanation. Agency theory suggests that we are socialised from a very young age to follow the rules of society. But, in order for this to happen a person needs to surrender some of their free will. When a person is acting independently this is called the autonomous state. The opposite of this is being in an agentic state, which occurs when an individual carries out the orders of an authority figure and acts as their ‘agent’, with little personal responsibility and reduced moral strain for their actions. To shift from autonomy to ‘agency’ is referred to as the ‘agentic shift’ and is where a person experiences a diffusion of responsibility.

Please Note: These answers have been produced without the knowledge of the mark scheme and merely reflect my attempt at producing a model answer on the day of the exam.

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