Analysis of the Ethics of Milgram’s and Burger’s Obedience Studies in Light of Their Experimental Results.

2185 WordsDec 10, 20119 Pages
Stanley Milgram’s (1963) study of behavioral obedience sought to understand the nature that drives humans to submit to destructive obedience. In his study, Milgram deceived his subject volunteers into believing that the experiment they were submitting themselves to involved learning about the effects of punishment on learning. Under this pretext, a subject “teacher” was to administer electric shocks to a confederate “learner” for every wrong answer in a word-pairing exercise. The subject was to administer shocks in increments, even when the learner protested. The experimenter’s role was to pressure the subjects to continue when they wanted to stop (Milgram, 1963). In doing so, Milgram sought to gauge what it is that influences his subjects…show more content…
377). More so, Milgram’s disclosure that the money was theirs to keep regardless of experimental circumstances was ambiguous and presented without context, providing virtually no substance for the subject to make an informed choice. Their lack of full comprehension denies the subjects treatment as an autonomous being, a guideline mandated in the Belmont Report (1979, Section B, 1). The subject’s full right for respect of their deliberation and self-determination was hindered by their lack of full comprehension of the circumstances they were subjecting to. As a human being, they had the right to be exempt from the arbitrary exercise of authority Milgram was practicing, which subjected them to unhealthy levels of stress. 5. In his experiment, Burger addressed the issue of informed consent by ensuring the subject’s full comprehension of their available options. Whereas Milgram simply mentioned to the subjects that the money was theirs to keep regardless of the occurrences during the experiment, Burger made his statements less ambiguous by informing the participants both verbally and in writing that they were able to discontinue the study at any time and still receive their $50 for participating (Burger, 2009, p. 4). Burger paid his subjects prior to commencing his experiment, unlike Milgram who simply told them the

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