Milgram and Zimbardo - Ethics and Usefulness

Decent Essays
Read the material on Milgram & Zimbardo and explain which study is the most useful in understanding human behaviour in a social situation (focusing on the methods used and findings obtained) and which study is the most unethical. The study of social psychology, particularly conformity, is very difficult to conduct both ethically and accurately in order to be able to obtain useful results. In the studies done by Milgram and Zimbardo, ethics were definitely breached but to what extent were these experiments useful, and which one offered the most insight into human behaviour? While both Milgram and Zimbardo’s methods were flawed and unethical towards the participants I believe that the ends of the Milgram experiment justified the means…show more content…
How much different were the results Zimbardo found compared to those that Milgram had found prior? Milgram’s results showed that people would follow orders while violating their deepest beliefs, and in fact this was more common the view that most people held. While Zimbardo’s experiment was still useful I believe that Milgram’s experiment was most useful in understanding human behaviour when it comes to conformity. When speaking of ethics, I believe that both experiments were very much against the standards of ethics that we now hold true today, however, I believe Zimbardo’s experiment was a larger violation of ethics. The protection of participants is very important having to do with humiliation, embarrassment and loss of dignity of the participants. In social situations in bigger groups it is more humiliating for humans to do something morally incorrect then in front of only one person. Similarly the fact that the participants were in larger groups can create more social stress and anxiety. While both experiments had implications of violence, Zimbardo’s experiment also caused participants to abuse each other while Milgram’s participants were only believing they were electrocuting someone when in debrief they were assured no one was harmed. Both studies are highly criticized for the deception of the participants however, it is
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