Social Experiments

The Milgram Experiment

I found the Milgram experiment to be very fascinating in the way it was conducted. I can also see as to why it could be seen as controversial ethically. I believe the experiment was ethical only because the ‘student’ was not receiving actual shocks. The student mentioned earlier in the experiment that he had heart problems, yet the experiment runner chose to proceed anyway. Under no circumstances would I recommend continuing with this shock based experiment as it could have negatively affected the student’s health. I’m also struggling with the emotional toll that was put on the ‘teachers’ of the experiment as the level of stress they experienced could lead to anxiety problems, and other negative effects, though the strain was also necessary for the experiment to work properly. Overall, yes I believe it was ethical as no one was harmed permanently.

The Zimbardo Experiment

The experiment was interesting in concept, but I do not believe the experiment was ethical. The participants of the experiment were injured physically and mentally. I would have seen the experiment as ethical if the experiment runner would have included rules so the guards knew how far they could go without harming the prisoners of the project. I feel like the experiment could have been performed in a safer manner.

Were the Risks Worth It?

The risks were worth the possible damage to the participants regarding the Milgram experiment. No one was harmed and even though the participants were uncomfortable and anxious, the anxiety dispersed after they saw the ‘student’ was unharmed. The risks during the Zimbardo experiment were not worth it. The experiment caused psychological damage to several of its participants, along with some physical damage.

Research

If I were a professional sociologist, I would want to research emotions, and how they affect our behavior. I do not know where emotions come from or what they are exactly, but they affect people’s actions regularly, and I would want to know how and why. Basically I want to know things like why people tend to say more damaging things when they are angry, or why when someone asks if a person is ok when they are sad, they are more likely to cry as an answer.