Bocchiaro, P. & Zimbardo, P. G. (2010). Defying unjust authority: An exploratory study. Current Psychology, 29(2), 155-170. doi: 10.1007/s12144-010-9080-z
This study examined disobedience in the face of unjust authority. Participants were asked to give increasingly hostile comments to a participant/victim whenever he failed a trial. In order to better understand some of the cognitive and affective processes that may predict such defiant behavior, we utilized a variety of measures, among them, behavioral observations, individual difference assessments, and in-depth post-experimental interviews. Although 30% of the sample followed commands to insult the other participant (confederate), the majority refused to do so at some point in the escalating hostility sequence. The procedure utilized conditions known from prior research to increase the ratio of disobedience to obedience such as proximity of teacher to learner.