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"Some of the Procedures Used by Social Physiatrists Such as Asch, Zimbardo and Milgram are Ethically Questionable".

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Introduction

"Some of the Procedures Used by Social Physiatrists Such as Asch, Zimbardo and Milgram are Ethically Questionable" It is an undisputable fact that ethics will always be an important issue in any psychological experiment. However, some experiments can be perceived to have "crossed the line" much further than others. Is psychological scaring worth the results in the end or should psychological experiments be subject to serious scrutiny before even being attempted? While this debate could last forever, there are some experiments that undeniably over stepped some bounds to a point where no result could have been worth it. Such a scenario could be arguably seen in the experiment that Zimbardo carried out. Zimbardo's participants were randomly assigned the position of "guard" and "prisoner" then made to act out their given roles in a basement of a university. The "prisoners" were arrested in full view of the public, stripped, disinfected, assigned a number that they were to be referred to rather than their name and from then on were subjugated to the wrath of the "guards." ...read more.

Middle

Within the participants were a number of stooges who were there to purposely give the incorrect answer. Asch wanted to see if people would conform to the wrong answer, and they did. After using varied numbers of stooges Asch found that the more stooges giving the wrong answer, the higher the conformity but if the participants couldn't see each other, conformity dropped. The only thing that could be considered unethical is that the participants were no fully informed and didn't know that there would be stooges in place but in giving them this information Asch would have defeated the point of the experiment. Asch's simple but effective experiment showed that people generally preferred to conform rather than go against other people and in interviews people revealed that they were worried that there was something they hadn't spotted or understood correctly and they were afraid of looking silly. Asch's experiment had no ill effects, but still didn't reveal anything that an educated guess couldn't have. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, no lasting damage was done to any of the participants and only 1.3% of all participants had negative feelings about it afterwards while nearly all others were glad they took part. Milgram's experiments opened doors to the mind that had never been touched before and got the Germans (or more specifically, the Nazis) off the hook over the whole World War Two mass pogrom issues. These factors lean most people to see Milgram's experiment as acceptable, but he wouldn't have been allowed to do the same thing today and there were surely better ways to gain the same results, which make many people feel that Milgram should never have performed his experiments. Many of the social experiments performed do have many ethical issues and many of them have crossed lines as far as morality is concerned. However, very few of these experiments taught us nothing about the mind and conformity. Still, one experiment that crosses the line is one too many and some procedures should be seriously considered before being deemed ethically acceptable. Scott Sinfield ...read more.

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