Ethics: Two Studies- Milgram 1963 and Holfing 1966

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  • Created by: Issy H
  • Created on: 13-06-12 21:38

Milgram- 1963

Aim: to see if Germans were different. How far would someone obey an authority figure (administer shocks) despite it going against their moral code (agentic state)

Procedure: 40 male participants, willing to take part. Took place at Yale university. Room with a generator with levels and levers. Voltage was labelled as dangerous levels. In another room was a chair which was wired up. The implication was that shocks were given, and the chair recipient received the shocks. The stooge always got wired up to the chair. Whilst shocks were administered (to an individual who wasn't wired up at all) false screams of pain were given out. There was a point where the man went silent. The participants gave shocks every time the individual got an answer of a memory test incorrect. The Shock increased 15 volts at a time. When the participants wanted to give up, they were given verbal prods to continue. After the fourth prod, the experiment stopped. 

Findings: All participants went up to 300volts. 65% went all the way to 450volts. Many participants during the procedure seemed very distressed. One had a full blown seizure. 

Conclusions: Milgram concluded that an ordinary person would obey orders from an authority figure to an extreme extent even when they were very uncomfortable about doing so. 

Ethical Strengths:

- Deception: Study wouldn't have been so successful without it.

- Informed Consent: Study wouldn't have been successful with it. 

- Protection: Milgram did a follow up questionnaire to ensure sanity of particiapants. 

- Right to Withdraw: Agency theory wouldn't have been shown as strongly. 

- Debrief: Full debrief was carried out after the experiment- the stooge was shown, plus follow up information and questionnaire. 

- Competence: Milgram checked with his colleges to check the study was ethical, and they agreed it was, thinking…


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