Week 1.2 discussion responses (Rey Writer only)
Write a response for each discussion.
The Milgram’s study is an interesting, in the way that “ordinary” people would inflict pain on innocent people without justification. This is not my first paper on the study, but I have not seen the replication of the study before. I have several questions about both studies. First I wonder why they would continue in shocking the participant when they have asked to stop? Maybe, it was because they thought if they stopped they would not be. Milgram had placed an ad stating $4.50 per participant in a study (Cherry, 2017). I know $4.50 doesn’t sound like much, but today that would roughly be $40.00. I would guess that this ad was probably placed in the employment section of the paper too. If so, that would appeal to people who were desperate for money. My point being it would had been nice if there would have been two groups, paid and unpaid participants.
The ethics that surround the Milgram study are definitely questionable, but ethics in experiments were not heavily enforced in the early 60s. It wasn’t until 1966 that the U.S. Surgeon General mandated approval from The Human Subjects Review Committee when using human subjects. Today, A.2.a of the ACA Code of Ethics would had been violated in the Milgram study. It states that consent must be on going in order to continue, but that was the part of the study. The study was to see how far you could push a person. Furthermore, A.1.a was violated as well. A.1.a regards client’s welfare, it states that counselors are to respect and promote the welfare of the client. Obviously, they were not looking out for their welfare while pressuring them to continue the experiment.
For replicate study there were violations too. Code B.6.d of the ACA states that client permission is to be given before allowing any observers. There was a woman that was being interviewed after the study and she wasn’t aware that observers were in another room taping her. The replicate study would had been in violation of C.7.c, this code refers to harm being done to the client. C.7.c notes that no practices or techniques that could harm the client be done, even if asked by client. Additionally, they took it to another level when having the “teacher” inflict pain on another person against their wishes.
I do not find experiments like these ethical, but my stances on are they necessary would fluctuate depending on the experiment. Apparently, there was value to the Milgram study, even after 50 years. Now look at the Stanford prison experiment that defiantly violated both ethics and laws. I would not stand behind those experiments, but you do have to admit there was value in the Stanford prison experiment too. In short, both experiments could have been done in good ethical taste, but they would have been short experiments with inconclusive results in my opinion.
My view on scientific experiments is that they all can be done in ethically. A lot of researchers trade morals for success, fame or money. Some convince themselves that it is in the name of science, but a lot of researchers realize what they are doing. This is exactly why we agencies to keep these experiments from happening again.
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As appropriatley stated in Dr. Daubenspeck’s assignment statement, “Milgram’s study has significantly contributed to the understanding of how people respond to authority, and become willing to engage in behavior most initially would tell us they would not do these things.” Milgram’s study (1963) was aptly described as, ‘blind obedience to authority versus personal conscience or convictions.’ While Milgram’s study was scrutinized for ethical reasons, I found his research fascinating and the results frightening.
Honestly, I was impressed by the way Milgram was able to sustain a consistent standard in the variables. For example, the script the “clinical authority figure” calmly repeated to each “participant”, (first) “Please continue.”, (second) “The experiment requires you to continue.” and (third) “It is imperative you continue for the sake of the study.” As well as, the taped response from the supposed other participant receiving the electric shock from behind the wall. In this way, Milgram was able to gather empirical data in a fairly controlled setting.
I appreciated both the courage it took Milgram to examine such an ugly truth within humanity, and the intelligence it took to design such a study.
Not withstanding, Milgram’s research was indeed controversial, in part because of the stress or potential trauma it caused the study participants. The textbook Psychology: An Introduction, (2007), Russell A. Dewey, PhD, Ch15-Social Psychology, states, “Many psychologists raised the issue of research ethics in connection with Milgram’s research, arguing that it was not acceptable to put subjects through this kind of experience. Milgram’s experiment, and that possibility that it could have traumatized some of the participants, stimulated the discussion about the need to protect the rights of research subjects.” Now proposals for research must be submitted to institutional review boards (IRBs) before the research is ever conducted.
Also, the American Counseling Association (ACA) clearly has in place today the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics, Section G – Research Ethics and Responsibilities. Milgram’s study would be called into question today under Section G.1.d. “Deviation From Standard Practice” which states, “Counselors seek consultation and observe stringent safegaurds to protect the rights of research participants when research indicates that a deviation from standard or accepatable practices may be necessary.” As well as, Section G.1.e. “Precautions to Avoid Injury” which states, “Counselors who conduct research are responsible for their participants’ welfare throughout the research process and should take reasonable precautions to avoid causing emotional, physical, or social harm to participants.”
To Milgram’s credit, he did debrief his participants upon completion of the study, revealing the true nature of the experiment. Milgram also arranged a kind of reconciliation with a hand shake between the participant who administered the shock and the actor who played the part of “shock obsorber”. I found the responses of the participants following the study encouraging, as most were glad they participated and learned this rather frightening part of themselves and others. I was ‘shocked’, no pun intended, that only 3 of the participants had the courage to adamantly refuse to go on!
I believe the truths learned through Milgram’s study could directly correlate with the research of ‘anonymity online, as it relates to bullying’ and the psychology behind ‘gang affiliation, as it relates to leadership and violence’. While Milgram’s study may have posed ethical considerations, it certainly caused this student to pause and hope I would be the one with the courage to “adamantly refuse to go on.”