Who is more Unethical: Milgram or Zimbardo

Arguments Between Ethics:

Zimbardo and Milgram are both thought to have had unethical experiments on people. Well, which of the two experiments was more unethical? Zimbardo’s experiment is more unethical than Milgram’s experiment. Zimbardo’s is more unethical because his experiment caused psychological damage, physical damage, his experiment also did not have the full consent, and during his study he did not go by all general principles.

One reason that Zimbardo’s experiment is unethical is due to the fact that his experiment had caused great psychological damage to the participants. The guards were abusive, dehumanizing, and the guards caused extreme levels of stress, anxiety and depression to the prisoners. One participant had to be released within 36 hours because of uncontrollable bursts of screaming, crying, and anger. Now people who think Milgram is more unethical would say that Zimbardo conducted debriefing and that no long lasting effects are present. Since Zimbardo was apart of the experiment as the warden how does he know if the people that were the prisoners were just saying things so they could get away from him faster, he should of had a different psychologist conduct the debriefing for more accurate information.

Not only did Zimbardo’s experiment cause psychological harm it also had physical harm as well. Zimbardo’s experiment was almost like the Abu Ghraib in Iraq. What happened was Iraqi troops were sent to this place and there the american guards would put them through unbelievable humiliation. This can be related to Zimbardo’s study because in his study the guards in the prison would humiliate the prisoners and they also would also beat them just like how the guards in Iraq would act towards the prisoners there. Zimbardo even describes this in his Ted Talk.

Another way that Zimbardo’s experiment is more unethical than Milgram’s is that Zimbardo did not have the full consent. The part that he had left out was the results that he was expecting to get out of this experiment because he thought that it was unpredictable. This is unethical because Zimbardo could have done more research about psychological effects at prisons before he started the experiment. With that data he could have predicted something that showed the participants what might have happened. Counter arguments say that Milgram is more unethical because Milgram deceived his participants and told them he was testing trial and error but he was not. Lying to the participants was indeed unethical but you have to look at why he did that. If Milgram did not deceive his participants he would have gotten inaccurate information making his experiment not worth the time.

During Zimbardo’s experiment there was a lot of general principles that were violated. One thing that was violated by the experiment was the right to withdraw. This was violated because during the experiment the prisoners were kept by the guards and the prisoners seemed like they were unaware of the fact that they could leave. Counterclaims say that Milgram is more unethical because when the participants wanted to stop and leave they were told that they had to keep going for the experiment. This did happen because if they did not do that to the participants they would not have gotten as strong information from the study.

Well now you know who is by far more unethical than the other. Milgram had done things like lying to his participants. He also did find ways to convince people to stay at the experiment. Those things were done just to get good accurate information. Zimbardo on the other hand, his experiment had given people major psychological harm which is a lot worse than what happened in Milgram’s experiment. No matter how you look at it, Zimbardo has the more unethical experiment.

Human Behavior and Ethics in Psychology:

Human behavior is what had caused these experiments to be viewed as unethical. For Zimbardo’s experiment if the guards did not get violent towards the prisoners maybe less people would have been concerned about the experiment being so unethical. Same with Milgram’s experiment if people did not find out that they were lied to maybe others would not view his experiment unethical.

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