Unit 2 Blog Post

Was the Milgram Experiment ethical? Why or why not?

The Milgram Experiment, first performed in 1961, was one of great controversy. Though the results of said study were extremely interesting, many ethical questions arose not only from the nature of how the experiment was conducted, but also the comparison that was drawn to it and those behind the workings of the Final Solution during the Holocaust in WWII; these experiments went on during the same time as the trial of high ranking Nazi Party member Adolf Eichmann. The main ethical concern of the study itself may center around the fact that the “Teacher” was not aware that he was actually not at all delivering shocks to the “Learner” involved in the experiment. Ethical questions arose, and still arise, from this aspect of the study because the subject was not aware he was doing no harm to the “Learner” which, though necessary to collect accurate responses, was deceiving to the “Teacher”.

Was the Zimbardo Experiment ethical? Why or why not?

The Zimbardo experiment was performed in the basement of Stanford University in August of 1971. Phillip Zimbardo created a mock prison in multiple small rooms in said basement to test the effects of a prison-like environment on subjects, who had been psychologically evaluated and given $15 a day for their work. Though the experiment began normally, the guards quickly grew into their roles a bit too adamantly, and began doing torturous and unethical things to the prisoners. This experiment was objectively ethical, as all subjects consented to the experiment and could leave at any time, but drew criticism from those that said Zimbardo had let too many unethical acts occur while he held the complete the authority to shut the experiment down, which he did after only six days.

Were the findings of the Milgram and Zimbardo experiments worth the risk/damage to the participants? Why or why not?

I believe that yes, it was worth the risk/damage simply because there was no lasting psychological or physical injury to the subjects involved. Data was collected and the responses of many people within certain curious situations was studied extensively. They both shed interesting light on human behavior and minimized lasting injury to their respected participants.

If you were a professional sociologist, what would you be interested in researching? Why?

If I were a professional sociologist, I would be interesting in researching the way that people of different political affiliations act. Pew Research conducted a study and found that those who are conservative prefer open spaces, and those who are liberal tend to prefer living in a city. A concrete difference such as this is extremely interesting to me, and further study could lead to interesting data on how the opposite ends of the political spectrum react to certain situations or solve certain problems.