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Outline of Tyrant: Saddam Hussein's oppressive regime

A) Tyrant outline – Give brief introductory background on Saddam Hussein(from Iraq) on why he is considered a tyrant, and explain which type of social power he was showing from the following:

  • Coercive
  • Reward
  • Legitimate
  • Referent
  • Informational or expert power

B) Compliance, Identification and internalisation – Explain each, and give examples of individual responses to the influence of others.


C) Types of conformity and theoretical models- Describe majority and minority compliance; also discuss two models of conformity (informational and normative) explaining why and when they occur.


D) Increasing conformity and resisting pressures to conform – Describe factors increasing or decreasing conformity and evaluate Asch’s variations on his (1951) line experiment.


E) Social power and obedience – Evaluate Milgram, Zimbardo and Hofling experiments; on practical and ethical issues (make sure you outline the ethical issues).


F) Increasing obedience and resisting pressure to obey- Describe and evaluate factors that make obedience to an authority figure more and less likely using Milgram’s variations of his (1963) electric shocks experiment (you have to explain what happens when he changed the setting and also when the uniform changed).



This assignment deals with the psychological tendency of Saddam Hussein, a ruler of Iraq. However, this assignment has dealt with different models and theories of internationalization. Proper models of conformity have been described with detail explanation within this assignment.

Saddam Hussein is called one of the most brutal oppressive presidents among world. He was the president of Iraq during the era of 1994 to 2003. Previously, he had joined Baath party and become the leader of this party. During his regime, mass of Iraq had faced immense problems and issues regarding social as well as human rights. Saddam’s main target was abolishing the people of Shiite Muslims and ethnic Kurds. Iraqi people had faced immense troubles during the regime of Saddam. Different types of civil and religious war happened during this era.

As discussed by Baker (2002), human rights was very much trouble some during the era of Saddam Hussein. There was lack of women safety or any types of human rights within the society. The people of Iraq had to face difficulties in order to acquire education and other necessities of life. Iraqi government that was ruled by Saddam had conducted pervasive repression as well as oppression. This oppression and suppression had led to the success of widespread terror within the society.

During the regime of Saddam, level of violence against the women had been increased a lot. Women within this regime had suffered from psychological trauma. Incidents of rape had been increased among lots of women within this society.  However, different political units have done sexual harassment and rape towards the women as a political instrument. They had used this violence as a political instrument.

Concepts of Compliance, Internalization and Identification

On the other hand, Bocchiaro and Zamperini (2012),  argued that, Saddam did illegal experiment on biological weapons. Saddam targeted ethnic Kurds to oppress them. During his regime, Saddam took different brutal techniques of punishments. Electric shocks, pulling out nail from finger, beating, burning, dripping acid on face, denial of water and food to the inhabitants were very common phenomenon of Saddam while ruling Iraq.

According to the report of United Nations, Iraq had executed 1500 people for different political reasons. On the other hand, Saddam had started giving training of weapon use among the scool children of Iraq. Saddam had forced more or less every family to take training of guns and other weapons. These camps were called ‘Saddam Cubs’ those were included 10-15 years children who had to initiate hand to hand fighting and other types of brutal behaviors. There were immense levels of child labors within the society. There was lack of proper medicine, food within the society. Basic freedoms of speech, press and information were in danger.

However, Brownlee (2002) discussed that, Saddam Hussein had shown coercive power to the people of the society. Saddam Hussein had done a dictatorship towards his people. The feature of coercive power is involved in giving punishment to the people who have non-compliance with the ruler. Therefore, it can be seen that Saddam had provided punishment to the people of his choice. Saddam Hussein had abused the people of society by providing coercive power towards them.


As discussed by Bruno et al.(2011), social influence refers to the process of affecting behavior, opinion and emotion of a person through individual person or organization as well as society. However, social influence can occur with many forms of conformity, peer pressure, socialization, leadership and persuasion. On the other hand, noted psychologist Herbert Kelman had identified three distinct ranges of social influence. These ranges are as follows:

Compliance: It happens when individual agree with other people within the group by keeping their private opinion safe. As discussed by Gordon (2003), compliance can be an act of response towards implicit or explicit requests those are given by other members of the particular group.

Internalization: It happens when people starts to accept behavior or belief and values both private and public level of the society. In this process, individual people accept set of norms those are guided by some other people of the society. People can be influenced by some norms of other influential people in this process. Individual like to accept the influences as because the influential people are influence to every individual within the society.

Types of theoretical models and conformity

Identification: In this process, people are influenced by some famous as well as respected personality within the society. This process mainly happens within the aspect of providing advertisement with celebrity while attracting the people about the brand or product. Celebrity endorsement is involved within this process.

Majority and minority compliance:

As discussed by Jarman et al. (2015),  mainly there are two types of social influences in terms of psychological processes. There are also differences within the minority and majority influence. Majority influence refers to the desire of people in order to fit in within particular group. However, this includes acquiring different attributes as well as behavior or different attitudes within the group. As consequence of majority compliance people within the group have to face pressure of the particular group.

On the other hand, Jue et al. (2012) argued that, minority compliance refers to certain influences those can be exerted by minority over the majority. In this regard, majority starts to accept beliefs, values, and behavior of the minority.

However, Klose and Lasser (2012) stated that, one important psychological process of majority influence underlies through direct compliance of public. In this regard, Deutsch and Gerard had proposed dual process dependency model of majority and minority compliance. Therefore, two motives of conformity are informational social influence and normative social influence.


As discussed by Asch, group sizes, unanimity, confidence, and self-esteem are the factors for influencing conformity. However, in order to increase conformity self-esteem should be challenged. However, size of group should be increased for increasing conformity and vice versa for decreasing the level of conformity. Increasing factors of conformity always are linked with the authority. However, decreasing level of conformity is closer to victim.

Normative social influence is referred to the process of need acceptance and approval by the society. Normative influence refers to the process of updating the behaviors to adopt new association among the particular group. The people need to change the behavior as per the particular group as they have fear of reject by the group. However, in this case of conformity, every individual member can secure his or her individual opinion within the group. 

Informational social influence:

On the other hand, Łukasik et al. (2013) explains about the informational social influence as a type of uncertain association with a particular group. In this case, individual people are very much uncertain about the behavior within a situation. Individual people are not sure and confident about their beliefs, values and behaviors as well as opinions. Major difference within majority and minority influence is involved within compliance, high demand of support within majority influence. On the other hand, and minority influence relies on change, lower need for approval.

Influencing factors for conformity

There are different experiments regarding conformity or social influences upon individual people. Asch’s Conformity Experiment is very popular as well as important in order to research with this particular area of social influence. Popular psychologist Solomon Asch asked different participants for completing their belief through simple perceptual task. Asch told the participants to choose a line that always matched the length of three lines. However, Asch asked one participant the individual would choose correct line. However, in this regard, Solomon Asch asked individual in the presence of confederates who were on the experiment and intentionally selected the wrong line. However, 75 % participants have conformed to the group. In this regard, Asch’s Conformity Experiment can be one of the best examples of normative influence within the participants. The participants of this research has changed their respective answer and conformed to the particular group in order to fit within this group.  

However, Perle (2001) discussed that, many researchers have properly utilized Asch’s methodology. The paradigm of Asch has been remained very influential for the individual within the aspects of social psychology. Many researchers within the field of psychology can utilize this paradigm of social influence. This experiment can be utilized in order to examine effective relationship between task importance and conformity, gender, age and culture within the society. On the other hand, Pillar (2006) argued that, many researcher has interpreted the conformity experiment of Asch as an evidence of normative social influence and power of conformity.

The main limitation of this study is that Asch was biased in taking sample for the experiment. Every participant was male and had belonged to the same group of age. According to Klose and Lasser (2012), this indicates that sample has lacked from effective validity. This study had not included female participants as well as elder people therefore; result cannot be called as proper and accurate result.  

On the other hand, Russell (2011) argued that, this task also can be considered as artificial technique of measuring conformity among people. This study has low level of ecological validity. The results of this study cannot be generalized with other types of situation within the human life of individual.  

This study has also faced different ethical issues regarding the participants. The participants of the study had to face immense pressures of psychology after participating in this experiment.


Milgram’s Experiment:

Psychologist Stanley Milgram conducted a series of experiments to measure the willingness of the participants for obeying an authoritative figure. This authoritative figure has instructed them to provide effective performance regarding the particular process. This authority instructs the people to act like them that are very conflicting with the personal conscience and beliefs of those persons. This experiment took place at the era of Nazi war in German. This experiment is involved within the experiment of shock.

Social power and obedience

However, Milgram’ study has effective practical value as because the application of this study have shown that the people have a tendency to the destructive obedience.

However, this experiment has raised the questions about research ethics of different scientific experiments. However, this experiment was conducted within the era of brutal tyranny of Nazi in Germany. Milgram wanted to experiment the behavior of general people in accordance with the cruel behavior of the oppressor within the society. This experiment broke several guidelines of ethics.

As discussed by Schmitter et al. (2015), psychologist Zimbardo had conducted an experiment to investigate the process of conformation of people to the brutal guards of the prison in an exercise of role-playing. Zimbardo had conducted this experiment in order to find the brutality of guards of prison of America. Zimbardo had conducted this experiment in order to study the level of conformity among the prisoners of America. This psychologist had conducted this study to assess the effective role of people within the situation of prison. This experiment can be called as prison simulation process.

Regarding the practical issues virtual prison cannot be made like realistic structure of model. Some real conditions of prisons were missing at the time of the study, like racism, practice of homosexuality, unnecessary beatings etc.

However, this study has also received criticisms regarding different ethical issues. Participants of the experiment did this study without taking full consent. However, the people who acted as prisoners had been experienced from distress and mental pressure. The participants of prisoners had to suffer from physical and psychological harm.    

According to Wedgwood (2003), Hofling had conducted a realistic experience of obedience through a naturalistic field study within the setting of hospital. Hofling conducted this study by involving 22 real nurses and a doctor for completing the experiment. Hofling demonstrated that, people in front of their authority become very unwilling in order to question to the authority. If those people have good reason, still they do not disclose true answers to the authority. On the other hand, Woods et al. (2006) argued that, this experimental study have shown a wide level of ecological validity as this experiment had conducted within real environment. This study was more real than other two studies of this particular field.

The group after meeting each of the individual has faced some issues in private level. Such burning of flag can be considered as practical issue of the people.

Increasing Obedience and Resisting Pressure to Obey

Like other experiments, Hofling’s experiment also broke ethical guidelines of conducting experiment or research. The doctor was not real. He was supposed to act like doctor. However, this experiment had less ethical issues rather those two experiments. 


As discussed by Zakaria (2001), shock experiment of Milgram has raised different questions regarding ethics of research or data collection. This experiment has been conducted with three distinct roles; those are experimenter who played an authoritative role within this experiment. Apart from this, teacher, learner is involved within this experiment.  However, the experiment of Milgram had been conducted for assessing the human obedience within the period of Nazi German.

On the other hand, Klose and Lasser (2012) stated that, Milgram did an experiment on the effect of authority upon obedience. Milgram has provided that, people obey the authority out of fear. Milgram has discussed people’s behavior against the power holder in his experiment.

In this experiment, the learner had been taken to a room with the attachment of electric shock. The teacher is asked to provide electric shock at the time of making mistakes by the leaner. The learner gave wrong answer. In this experiment, Milgram had concluded that, general people always follow orders of authority.


This assignment has dealt with some psychological experiments. This assignment has also provided different ethical issues while dealing with psychological experiments.


Reference lists

Baker III, J. A. (2002). The right way to change a regime. New York Times, 25, 9

Bocchiaro, P., and Zamperini, A. (2012). Conformity, obedience, disobedience: The power of the situation. INTECH Open Access Publisher

Brownlee, J. (2002). … And yet they persist: Explaining survival and transition in neopatrimonial regimes. Studies in Comparative International Development,37(3), 35-63.

Bruno, M. A., Bernheim, J. L., Ledoux, D., Pellas, F., Demertzi, A., and Laureys, S. (2011). A survey on self-assessed well-being in a cohort of chronic locked-in syndrome patients: happy majority, miserable minority. BMJ open, 1(1), e000039

Gordon, P. H. (2003). Bush's middle east vision. Survival, 45(1), 155-165

Jarman, M., Nowak, A., Borkowski, W., Serfass, D., Wong, A., and Vallacher, R. (2015). The Critical Few: Anticonformists at the Crossroads of Minority Opinion Survival and Collapse. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation,18(1), 6.

Jue, J. J. S., Press, M. J., McDonald, D., Volpp, K. G., Asch, D. A., Mitra, N., ... and Loewenstein, G. (2012). The impact of price discounts and calorie messaging on beverage consumption: a multi-site field study. Preventive medicine, 55(6), 629-633.

Klose, L. M., and Lasser, J. S. (2012). Selected Social Psychological Phenomena's Effect on Educational Team Decision Making. INTECH Open Access Publisher

Łukasik, P., van Asch, M., Guo, H., Ferrari, J., and Godfray, C. J. (2013). Unrelated facultative endosymbionts protect aphids against a fungal pathogen.Ecology letters, 16(2), 214-218.

Perle, R. (2001). The US Must Strike at Saddam Hussein. New York Times,28

Pillar, P. R. (2006). Intelligence, policy, and the war in Iraq. Foreign Affairs, 15-27

Russell, N. J. C. (2011). Milgram's obedience to authority experiments: Origins and early evolution. British Journal of Social Psychology, 50(1), 140-162.

Schmitter, P., Zwart, S. J., Danvi, A., and Gbaguidi, F. (2015). Contributions of lateral flow and groundwater to the spatio-temporal variation of irrigated rice yields and water productivity in a West-African inland valley. Agricultural Water Management, 152, 286-298.

Wedgwood, R. (2003). The fall of Saddam Hussein: Security Council mandates and preemptive self-defense. American Journal of International Law, 576-585

Woods, K. M., Pease, M. R., Stout, M. E., Murray, W., and Lacey, J. G. (2006).Iraqi perspectives project. A view of operation Iraqi freedom from Saddam's senior leadership. United States Joint Forces Command Norfolk Va.

Zakaria, F. (2001). The politics of rage: Why do they hate us?. Newsweek Magazine, 14

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