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Is Milgrams study on obedience more or less ethical than Hoflings?

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Is Milgrams study on obedience more or less ethical than Hoflings? In order to answer this question as fully as possible, I must first be sure to fully understand the meaning of 'ethical'. The Oxford English dictionary, define ethics to be, 'the moral principles governing or influencing conduct. The branch of knowledge concerned with moral principles'. With this in mind, I can now begin to compare the studies, and decide whether Hoflings study breeched as many moral principles as Milgrams. Milgram could not tell his participants that they were to be involved in an experiment testing their readiness to obey an authority figure, as a typical person would then deliberately resist any pressure put on them to obey, and it is unlikely they would have perceived the authority figure to be legitimate. ...read more.


Modern ethical standards assert that participants in any experiment must not be deceived, and that they must be made aware of any consequences. In the interest of fairness, follow up research, performed after the experiment, indicated that there were no long term psychological effects on the participants. However, the fact that these people thought that they had caused suffering to another human being, could have caused severe emotional distress. In both Milgram and Hoflings study, the protection of the participant's feelings was not taken into consideration during the study, (although they were debriefed afterwards). Protection of participants from psychological harm is the act of doing the best to ensure that participants do not come to psychological harm during or after the study. Whether this be stress or long term, it is important that studies avoid this in every way possible. ...read more.


The difference is the Hoflings nurses did not know they were involved in an experiment, in their role as nurses; it is the norm to accept orders from the higher authority of a doctor. A further ethical concern with Milgrams study was that the participants were filmed, without consent, which breeches confidentiality. However, they were aware they were involved in an experiment, and therefore knew that they were being observed. They offered themselves for the experiment when they responded in an advert in the paper looking for participants. Hoflings nurse were unaware of any involvement in an experiment. In conclusion, both experiments breeched ethics, and the experiments would not be acceptable today. The ethics breached were very similar, and to answer the question posed is Hoflings more or less ethical? I am of the opinion that Hoflings although more ecologically valid, was less ethical, on the grounds of there being no consent whatsoever to the study. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jennifer Pinch Humanities access, evening 2011203 ...read more.

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