The Milgram Obedience Study

What do you think about the ethics of the Milgram obedience study?

What do you think you would have done if you had been a subject (a “teacher”) in Milgram’s original shock/obedience study?

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Was the knowledge gained worth the stress on participants or was the stress more than should be induced in a laboratory for the understanding of social processes?

Consider the following quotes to illustrate both sides of the debate:

“. . . the discomfort caused the victim is momentary, while the scientific gains resulting from the experiment are enduring.” (Milgram, as cited in Baumrind, p. 422).

“It is important that, as research psychologists, we protect our ethical responsibilities rather than adapt our personal standards to include as appropriate the kind of indignities to which Milgram’s subjects were exposed.” (Baumrind, p. 423)

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