Ethical vs. Unethical

In my opinion the Milgram Experiment was not ethical. The Milgram Experiment was used to test obedience by making the teacher give the learner an electric shock to see if the teacher would continue doing so even after the learner would beg them to stop. Although there was no electric shock given, this study is still unethical to me because the teachers were being lied to. The teachers thought they were really harming another person when in reality they weren’t. This could cause the teachers to be really emotionally distressed and make them question their morals. “Sociologists must ensure the safety of participants and immediately stop work if a subject becomes potentially endangered on any level” (Openstax, 2016, p. 43). This study didn’t follow this guideline because the teachers were emotionally distressed and were forced to stay and administer the shocks to the learners even if they didn’t want to. The experimenter told the teachers that the experiment requires that they continue as well as that the teacher has no choice except to continue.

In my opinion the Zimbardo experiment was also unethical. The Zimbardo Experiment was used to test the effects of someone becoming a prisoner or a guard, the experiment was also used to show the relationship between the prisoners and guards. This experiment was unethical because it put the subjects in harm. The prisoners were treated horribly and were humiliated by the prison guards thus causing psychological and emotional distress. The guards made the prisoners wear bags over their heads, do pushups, and much more. In fact, a few of the prisoners went through such extreme emotional and psychological distress that they had to be released early. There is no question about if this study was even close to being ethical in my opinion.

Personally I don’t believe the findings of these two experiments were worth it. Both of these experiments caused a lot of emotional and psychological distress to the subjects. I feel like there are better ways to test obedience and the effects of power on an individual. You could still test these two ideas without causing harm to the subjects. Instead of Milgram’s experiment, an observation of obedience would be much more ethical. An observational study in real life prisons would be better than Zimbardo’s experiment. In addition to be unethical, Zimbardo’s experiment was not valid, “Professor Zimbardo acknowledges that he was not merely an observer in the experiment but an active participant and in some cases it is clear he was influencing the direction the experiment went” (source). Zimbardo’s experiment put people in terrible situations to unvalid results.

If I were a professional sociologist I would want to study the effects that cell phones have on relationships. Growing up in an age where technology started becoming huge I never experienced my teenage years without a cell phone. I think it would be really interesting to see if cell phones are harming our relationships with one another. I would see if cell phones are harming or helping communication between one another. I would also see if people feel lonelier when they have a cell phone in their hand and are surrounded by a group of people or feel more involved and like they fit in without a cell phone.