Research in Sociology

1262 words 6 pages
1. If you were the experimenter in charge, would you have done this study? Would you have terminated it earlier? Would you have conducted a follow-up study? Why or why not?
If I were the experimenter in charge, I would not have done this study. While the initial question posed in both cases is intriguing, (if given specific orders, would a person follow them when under normal circumstances they would not) it is not a humane experiment. All of the people in this study could have potential lasting emotional and/or physical scars that may never heal. For instance, when Prisoner 8612 “began suffering from an acute emotional disturbance, disorganized thinking, uncontrollable crying, and rage” after only 36 hours into the experiment. How can
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4. How do the ethical dilemmas in this research compare with the ethical issues raised by Stanley Milgram's obedience experiments? Would it be better if these studies had never been done? Was it right to trade the suffering experienced by participants for the knowledge gained by the research?
The ethical dilemmas presented in both of these experiments is that of the humane treatment of human subjects during an experiment. As stated in the Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research, Section B.2, “Two general rules have been formulated as complementary expressions of beneficent actions in this sense: (1) do not harm and (2) maximize possible benefits and minimize possible harms.” I do not see how either experimenter can honestly say that their experiments accomplished either of these. The questions they posed are without a doubt intriguing, but never should have been approved for human testing. I feel it would have been better for the participants if the study was never done. I do not feel that there was any real “knowledge” gained. Yes the question was answered that normal, everyday people would do things they would never normally do if told to, but I think that answer could have been figured out in a much less abusive manner. As I watched the video of the Stanford Prison Experiment, I was shocked to see the follow up interviews two months later. Especially when Prisoner 416 was talking with one of the guards.

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