Ethical Experiments?

The Milgram experiment was one with an intended purpose of seeing how far someone would go before they would go in obeying orders if they knew they were hurting someone. “Stanley Milgram was interested in how easily ordinary people could be influenced into committing atrocities for example, Germans in WWII” (simplypsychology.org). I do not see this as unethical because no one was truly harmed, while the “teacher” may have been emotionally hurt, this is not significant. The way that would make it unethical in my eyes would be if the experimenter didn’t tell the teacher that the experiments intended purpose.

Zimbardo’s Sanford Prison experiment looked at how prisoners and prison guards would act after randomly put into these roles. Zimbardo wanted to see if people acted as they did in prison based off of their personalities or if it was a situational reaction (simplypsychology.org). I do not believe that this was by any means ethical. In theory it could have been better if there were more rules in used but even that may not make it ethical. The prisoners were humiliated and abused which then lead to mental breakdowns and trauma. The result did not justify the means.

I believe the Milgram’s experiment was worth the risk for the result while Zimbardo’s faced the participants with much more danger than the results could prove worth. Milgram’s experiment never really put people in any physical danger and all the participants where debriefed showing them that no real harm was going to the learner. Zimbardo’s experiment crossed the line by knowingly causing pain to those involved and let the experiment continue. The emotional harm caused by that experiment had lasting effects and possible PTSD caused by the experiment, which could have been avoided and thus not letting the experiment justify the results.

If I was a professional sociologist I would want to study how what events lead people to choose political parties and how age correlates with political affiliation. This interests me because it may not something that everyone expresses interest in but effect everyone. People must make a choice on what party to join when 18 and they are not required to stay in that party; I would want to know what would happen in life to have them change parties.