Have you heard of Stanley Milgram? I find his studies interesting when viewed from the lens of a mother who surrendered to authority (parents, church, agency, society at large) when my internal instincts were screaming something totally against that surrender.
The Psychologist has dedicated their entire August (open access) issue to Milgram and his experiments, his life, etc. A highlight of the topic below.
“…in the popular imagination, Obedience and the ‘obedience to authority’ trials have become conflated and are now one and the same, despite the fact that the film only provides substantial documentation of one condition out of more than 20 that were investigated. Milgram’s documentaries and thoughtful writings on film, television and photography point to the value of narrative and audio-visual methods of research. The Obedience footage, however, does not support his claim that people ‘mindlessly follow authority’. On the contrary, it provides detailed audio-visual evidence that people experience considerable strain and anguish in following orders that conflict with their own consciences.”
More on Milgram at The Psychologist page.
P.S. If you like this kind of stuff, you might also want to check out Dr. Phil Zimbardo (another favorite of mine) and his Stanford Prison Experiment. Also interesting to ponder when bumped up against expectant mothers, maternity homes and adoption surrender.