Ethics in Psychology - Obedience to Authority

Essay by BobbyYoUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, November 2014

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Module 31112

Psychology of Learning and Working

Student number: 200911428

Name: Darobie Simpson

Ethics in Psychology - The case of authority

Ethics in Psychology - The case of authority

Ethicsare an important aspect of psychology research, study and experimentation. Performing an experiment on unsuspecting participants can have on-going side effects which may cause psychological harm, especially if the participants are not fully and effectively debriefed on why they were selected, and why they should not feel negative emotions towards the results they showed. This is especially true if the behaviour a participant showed may have been an unsuspected or even shocking set of results. One particular study that had participants heavily distressed, with shocking results was Milgram's study in 1963 (Milgram, S. 1963), carried out by Stanley Milgram.

Milgram, S. (1963) Explains that Milgram's study was carried out at Yale University to discover what made humans inherently able to carry out heinous acts based on authoritative figures and their expectations.

The experiment consisted of a learner (a confederate of Milgram) and a teacher (a participant of the experiment). The participant was told the experiment they were taking part in was to study how punishment affects our ability to answer questions correctly. However the experiment was really to examine how obedient a person would be to an authority figure, even when committing acts of atrocity.

The participants were found through local newspaper advertising, and recruited based on specific characteristics. The participants were recruited based on their gender and age. All 40 participants were male, between the ages of 20 and 50 years old, and their careers ranged from professional to unskilled. The learner (confederateof Milgram) was detained to a room, strapped in a chair and wired with electrodes. These electrodes were linked to...