What Lessons in Ethics Did Social Scientists Learn from Milgram and Stanford?

Topics: Stanford prison experiment, Milgram experiment, Medical ethics Pages: 6 (2122 words) Published: January 6, 2013
What lessons in ethics did social scientists learn from Milgram and Stanford? In order to produce valuable research that can provide solid and beneficial results we need to carry out experiments in order to achieve this. However over the years multiple experiments that have been carried out have been ethically wrong and have resulted in the contenders of the experiments left mentally and physically damaged, and some even resulting in death, like dying the Nazis experiments when patients suffered all kinds of horrific mutilations (Cohen, 2010). Following this came the Nuremburg code whereby ‘ten points’ were made to define new ethical standards that researchers had to follow for a morally right experiment to take place (Annas, 1992). However these did not stop unethical experiments from taking place after they came into action such as the Milgram experiment and the Stanford prison experiment both have been questionable in terms of their morality and whether or not the researchers actually acknowledged the fact that there are ethical procedures needed to be followed. Both experiments show what can go wrong when ethical standards are disregarded. Following world war two and ruling of the Nazis in Germany were the Nuremburg trials which resulted in the Nuremburg code following the human experiments the Nazi had performed for years during world war two on innocent people who did not consent in such experiments, and lead to many deaths and harmed people. The ten points being; firstly consent is a necessary when conducting experiments because then they know what they are getting into and therefore they are doing on their own agreement. Secondly the experiment must produce rich quality of results whereby it is advantageous for society and not just the researcher themselves. Thirdly, previous to staring the experiments researchers should prepare so when they are creating their experiment they should make sure they can establish the safety of the person and effects it will have on the partakers. Fourthly, the experiments should not be harmful to the participant whether it is physically or mentally. Fifth, if it is believed that the experiment will ether kill or disable the participant it should In no away go ahead. The Sixth point is that the participant’s life is more valuable than getting results on the experiment so always put them first. The seventh point is to organise and plan the experiment properly so that it runs smoothly without problems and doesn’t result in death or Harm to the participant. Number eight is only experts in that area of experimentation should be allowed to perform the experiments as they deem the only capable to do so. Number nine of the Nuremburg code is when and if the participant wants to leave or end the experiment as they feel it is mentally or physically affecting them they can do so. And the final point is that if the experiment does become dangerous and risk the life of people it should be stopped immediately so not to affect the participants in anyway (Freyhofer, 2005). However, despite the Nuremburg codes invention in 1947, the Milgram experiment, which began to take place in the year 1961, and the Stanford prison experiment which took place in the year 1971, both did not harmonise with these ten codes and have been deemed unethical experiments over the years after they took place. The Milgram experiment which began in 1961 was a series of experiments planned in reaction to the experiments that the Nazis had undertook and whom many of the experimenters maintained they ‘were just following orders’ and so in response to this Milgram developed his experiments to find out whether people do obey authoritative figures despite what they are being told to do being immoral (Shuttleworth, 2008). The experiment included 40 participants all aged between 20 and 50 years old all varied levels of education but all were men. One participant would be a teacher who would teach one of the participant’s word...

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