After completing the assigned readings and watching the provided video links, review the following classic psychological experiments: After you have become familiar with these five classic studies, select one. Using headers to organize your paper, answer the following questions: Be sure to incorporate information from the Fisher text as well as include information from at least two academic journals discussing the ethics of the experiment. Length: 3-5 pages
Classic Psychological Experiments and Ethical Analysis
Psychological experiments have played a significant role in advancing our understanding of human behavior and the inner workings of the mind. Several classic experiments conducted in the field of psychology have provided valuable insights into various aspects of human cognition, emotions, and behavior. However, it is essential to critically examine the ethical implications of these studies to ensure the well-being and dignity of participants.
In this paper, we will review five classic psychological experiments: the Stanford Prison Experiment, Milgram’s Obedience Study, Watson and Rayner’s Little Albert Experiment, Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment, and Harlow’s Monkey Experiment. These experiments have been chosen for their historical significance and their impact on the field of psychology.
Ethical Analysis of the Stanford Prison Experiment:
The Stanford Prison Experiment, conducted by Philip Zimbardo in 1971, aimed to investigate the psychological effects of perceived power and authority in a simulated prison environment. Participants were assigned to either the role of prisoners or guards and were placed in a mock prison setting. The experiment was expected to run for two weeks but was terminated after only six days due to severe psychological distress experienced by the participants.
Ethical concerns arise in this experiment regarding the lack of informed consent, the potential for psychological harm, and the absence of clear guidelines for terminating the study. Participants were not adequately informed about the nature and potential risks of the experiment, and the power dynamics between the guards and prisoners led to severe emotional distress and even humiliation.
According to Fisher (2017), the experiment lacked proper guidelines for participant withdrawal, which raises concerns about the potential for long-lasting psychological consequences. Furthermore, the study’s lack of clear protocols for protecting the participants, combined with the intense emotional and psychological stress experienced, highlights significant ethical concerns.
Two academic journals, Zimbardo’s own analysis and critique of the experiment (Zimbardo, 2007), and an article by Griggs and Whitehead (2015) provide a detailed discussion on the ethical issues inherent in the Stanford Prison Experiment. These sources highlight the absence of adequate safeguards for participants’ well-being, the lack of informed consent, and the questionable scientific merit of the study.
Ethical Analysis of Milgram’s Obedience Study:
Stanley Milgram’s Obedience Study, conducted in the early 1960s, aimed to understand the conflict between obedience to authority and personal conscience. Participants were instructed to administer electric shocks to a purportedly unwilling participant in another room whenever they answered questions incorrectly. The study revealed that a significant majority of participants were willing to deliver potentially lethal shocks.
Ethical concerns surrounding Milgram’s study primarily revolve around the psychological distress and potential harm inflicted upon the participants. The study involved a high level of deception, as participants were misled about the true purpose of the experiment. They believed they were delivering real electric shocks, potentially causing emotional and psychological damage.
Fisher (2017) highlights the issue of psychological harm, arguing that participants experienced significant stress and conflict between their obedience to authority and their internal moral compass. Two academic articles, one by Mandel and others (2015) and another by Baumrind (1964), discuss the ethical implications of Milgram’s study. They raise concerns about the lack of fully informed consent and the potential for long-term psychological harm caused by the study’s intense emotional manipulation.
In conclusion, classic psychological experiments have contributed significantly to our understanding of human behavior. However, it is essential to critically analyze the ethical implications of these studies. The Stanford Prison Experiment and Milgram’s Obedience Study both raised serious ethical concerns in terms of informed consent, potential for psychological harm, and the absence of clear guidelines for participant protection. Further research and ongoing discussions are necessary to continuously improve ethical guidelines in psychological experiments and ensure the well-being and dignity of participants.