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Ethical Issues with Milgram and Stanford Prison Studies

            There are major ethical issues with Milgram's Obedience Study and the Stanford Prison Study. Stanley Milgram conducted a study in 1963 that tested just how far people would go to obey an order given by a person of authority or power. The Stanford Prison Study was done by Philip Zimbardo and studied the negative effects of prisons. Milgram's study required a person to shock a factitious test subject for answering wrong on a list of questions. For each wrong answer the fact test subject would receive a shock of electricity and would increase this shock with each wrong answer. The Prison study places volunteer test subjects in a mock prison created in a basement on the Stanford University. The volunteers where divided up by who would be a prison guard and who would be a prisoner. These studies tested just how far one could go in each of these experiments. The test started out has harmless but many test subjects in both studies began to feel uncomfortable and even exhibit mental stress or breakdowns. The researchers seem to push the stress on to the test subjects in which, began to harm the test subject mentally and some in a physical manner as well. For Milgram, his study seem to go against informed consent. Informed consent occurred because he didn't explain to the test subjects what was really being tested. He stated that the test was for a learning and memory study. Informed Consent requires a "basic ethical tenet of scientific research on human populations. Sociologists do not involve a human being as a subject in research without the informed consent of the subject." (12.01 a.) The Stanford Study also pushed the consent button as in section 12.02 b. of the ethics code indicates "the research involves no more than minimal risk for research participants." Before the prison study ended, one of the test subjects had a mental breakdown. .
             The test study done by Milgram did provide great information on how we obey and deal with roles in our society.

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