Zimbardo Prison Study & Ethics Codes of Today

Topics: Ethics, Stanford prison experiment, Psychology Pages: 2 (446 words) Published: October 15, 2014
Zimbardo’s Prison Study was a highly controversial experiment, infamous for its questionable ethics. This type of study would not be able to be recreated again mainly due to current APA standards. It can be argued as well that this experiment violated ethics standards of its time as well. The APA’s Ethical Principles includes five basic principles (“Ethical Principles”). Principle A, Beneficence and Nonmaleficence, states that psychologists seek to “be aware of the possible effect of their own physical and mental health”. Obviously, Zimbardo could not have been completely aware of the possible effect and it is clear in the experiment that he was not thinking far into the future. Principle B, Fidelity and Responsibility, describes the importance of colleagues working together and establishing relationships with each other. This principle emphasizes the importance of being aware of conflicts of interest. Although Zimbardo may have been unbiased in the beginning, he ended up losing sight of the situation and overlooking abusive behavior (“Zimbardo”). Considering the experiment went on for much longer than it should have, Zimbardo’s colleagues clearly did not work together well. Principle C, Integrity, seeks to have psychologists strive to “keep their promise and to avoid unwise or unclear commitments”. Although prisoners and prison guards were aware that they were taking part in a mock prison experiment, they did not truly understand what they were getting themselves into. Zimbardo failed to respect the rights of his participants by omitting this information. Principle D, Justice, is perhaps the standard that was violated the most. Essentially, participants legally should have been able to leave at any time. All of the participants’ rights were taken away during the experiment, and that was certainly illegal. The fifth and final principle, Respect for Peoples’ Rights and Dignity, is related to

Psychologists respect the dignity and worth of all people, and the...
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