The Stanford Prison Experiment: A Discussion Of Morality

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It can be argued that one of the main reasons for conducting studies that may seem unethical are necessary to dispel idealistic beliefs such as the just-world phenomenon, we may have about the justice system in this case, as well as the influence psychologists may have in correctional facilities. As observed in the Stanford Prison Experiment - a mere simulation involving completely innocent civilians role playing as prisoners and guards, such an intense result prevailed that the experiment had to be prematurely shut down. Furthermore, the experimenter himself got so taken with the experiment that experimenters with a clear and objective view of the experiment realized the distressing effects the experiment was having on the participants. (Wagner, 2007) The concept of obedience to authority was revolutionized following Milgram’s 1963, 1965 and 1974 studies. The results of 65% of participants willing to administer shocks of 330 volts to participants who may have been fatally injured changed the way psychologists viewed not only the psychology of criminal institutions and major historical events such as the Holocaust; but changed the world’s outlook on morality in reference to obedience. (Milgram 1963, 1965, 1974) “... the haunting images of participants administering electric shocks and the implications of the findings for understandingly…show more content…
Burger proposed four explanations that could have caused the shockingly high levels of obedience Milgram observed. An important factor resulting in the 65% of participants obeying till the end of the shock generator’s range was the level of expertise the authoritative figure posed. Another factor was the process of increase of demand from the experimenter, asking for the participant to slowly increase voltage. This eventual, but consistent increase of voltage was not as shocking as a drastic change or increase would have

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