The Pros And Cons Of The Monster Study

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In 1939, Mary Tudor, graduate student at the University of Iowa, conducted a stuttering experiment under the supervision of psychologist Dr. Wendell Johnson. Johnson wanted to prove his hypothesis that stammering is a learned behaviour rather than the effect of a psychological defect. Performed on 22 orphan children from Davenport, this experiment would later be labelled as the Monster Study, for being one of the most highly unethical studies in history. This paper will outline the details of how the Monster Study was conducted, the ethical issues concerning the experiment and the possible disadvantages and benefits that arose from conducting it. Description of the study Mary Tudor collected 22 orphan children between the age of 5-15 years old, including 10 children who were identified as stutterers and 12 who had no problem with their speech. All of them were only…show more content…
He was also warned by fellow professors that publishing the details of such an unethical experiment might put his reputation and career in jeopardy. This violated the ethical obligation towards the participating children in the study, since this could reduce the benefits from conducting the experiment if its results were not used in appropriate cases where it would be useful. This also violated the principle of beneficence. The process of how the experiment was conducted may also have been unreliable, since Johnson may have had a biased opinion about it, as he himself was a stutterer. There was no extensive debriefing of the children after the study was complete to ensure that there were no lasting negative impacts on them. Although Mary Tudor revisited the orphanage thrice afterwards, these short meetings were not able to undo the psychological harm that the children had been subjected to during the experiment. Benefits of the
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