Is it ethical to torment and trick subjects into potentially obeying an authority figure in the name of science?
Stanley Milgram’s obedience studies are some of the most controversial in the history of psychology. The results were shocking (no pun intended!), but they also prompted a heated debate about the ethics of subjecting participants to a potentially very upsetting research experience. After reading the article ”Torture at Yale: Experimental subjects, laboratory torment and the rehabilitation of Milgram’s Obedience to Authority” and the book chapter coverage about these experiments, tell us what you think. According to the article, Milgram’s practices were not as ethical as he claimed. Did you change your opinion about the validity of Milgram’s findings after reading the article? Do you think that his findings can be applied to draw conclusions about the Holocaust and other horrific events?
Is it ethical to torment and trick subjects into potentially obeying an authority figure in the name of science? Are the findings from these studies so valuable to our understanding of obedience (especially for the understanding of such events as the Abu Ghraib incident) that the ends justify the means? Have we gone so far in protecting research subjects from any harm that this protection prevents us from making important findings in psychology research?
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