Ethical Concerns Arising from Milgram’s Study of Obedience- a Plan Begin with deception-note it is one of the most prominent and highly debated ethical issues from Milgram’s study. Present argument against Milgram’s use of deception in his study: put participants under a lot of distress, believing they were harming another individual. Then present counter-argument: experiment would not have been effective if teachers new of the confederation between experimenter and learner, the experiment would not have worked, participants were debriefed afterwards. Lead on with the distress and psychological harm potentially caused to participants in the experiment. Give evidence of film footage that show participants in extreme distress and that the majority believed that they were administering lethal shocks to another person. State that this would have seriously harmed their self esteem and may have caused other permanent, stress related damage. Give Milgram’s defence; say how participants felt pleased to have taken part and that they learned something from the experiment. Lastly, discuss informed consent and the right to withdraw- note that participants could not have given informed consent because they were deceived, so they didn’t know what they were actually going to be doing, this can be countered by referring back to the point about the experiment not being able to work without the deception to justify this. Continue into the point that the pressure from having the experimenter in the room with the learner, constantly pushing and encouraging the participant to continue made it almost impossible to back out of the experiment, pretty much removing their right to withdraw. There isn’t much of a counter argument for this, but it could be mentioned that there was a reason for the experimenters presence and the experiment was intended to be about authority influence so this could be taken as a finding of the experiment.
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