Ethical Issues

There are many aspects that you can take with the Milgram study. One way that you could think about it is, Milgram did this to show that people will do things if they are given the tools to do so. In my opinion, Milgram’s study was unethical. I come to this conclusion because he put people to the brink of no return, in a mentality sense. If I had to go through that, I would pretty much be scarred, because I would believe that I had inflicted that much pain on someone. Also, Milgram didn’t tell the participants what the purpose was, or what was actually happening. Now, if you think about Zimbardo’s study, this one isn’t half as bad.

Zimbardo’s study was to see what people would do in a certain situation, if given the authority to do so. I believe that Zimbardo’s study was also unethical, because he and his students took the situation to a whole other level. One key thing for me, is that he allowed himself, the researcher, to get wrapped up into the situation. This could have allowed his students to feel that they could do more as the authoritative person, or it could have made the prisoners feel that they were being miss treated. He also allowed the students to go through a mental breakdown without any type of help. “Participants playing the role of prisoners were not protected from psychological harm.”( This would have damaged a person’s mind and the way that they perceive their fellow classmates. “Sociologists must ensure the safety of participants and immediately stop work if a subject becomes potentially endangered on any level.” (Openstax, pg. 43) This quote demonstrates how, if a study gets too crazy, then it must be put down. This is something that Zimbardo didn’t do.

I feel that Zimbardo and Milgram’s studies, though unethical, were important to have. I say this because without them, we wouldn’t have a code of ethics. Their studies showed that when doing studies, the participants are the most important thing to consider, not the end result. In Zimbardo’s case, he noticed that his study was going too far, so he decided that instead of subjecting his students to more mental anguish, he would stop the whole experiment all together.

If I were a sociologist, I would want to study the way parents treat their children based on their age. For example, if you treat your kid like a golden child at 5, then how do you treat them as they get to say 15? Would you still treat them the same, or would you reprimand them more because they are older? I find this interesting, because as you get older some parents treat you like you are still little, while others try to reprimand you more because you are older. I want to know what causes this change in the interaction process.