However, that has even been greatly encouragedHowever, that has even been greatly encouraged

However, this has not always been true. From the beginning
of time, children have been taught to obey, listen to their parents, and to
always follow directions. This is a rule that has even been greatly encouraged
and emphasized during school. This simple rule follows many people throughout
life all the way to adulthood. Obedience is when you follow or comply with the
directions or commands that someone, usually an authority figure, gives you in
order to satisfy their requests.  In
other words, Schater asserts that it is the tendency to do what powerful people
tell us to do (2014). This is something that has been taught for many
generations and is useful in order to keep us safe and to influence good
behavior. But what happens when one’s obedience is taken too far or to great
extremes? These are the questions that Stanley Milgram thrives to answer. He
does this by studying how people respond to authority in an experiment called
the “Milgram Experiment”. This essay will discuss the non- ethical implications
used and the emotional harm of the participants within the experiment.

Milgram Experiment 

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The Milgram Obedience Experiment is a highly controversial
and influential study in the field of psychology. Milgram’s examination had a significant
impact on the key presumptions and thoughts concerning human instinct. Milgram
performed this examination in the year of 1963. This study was created in
response to the German and Nazi killings occurring in World War II. He was
investigating how people responded to authority during that time. Milgram
wanted to determine how people would react when they are put into situations
where they may have to harm someone just because they are given orders to do
so. The experiment took place at Yale University, where the recipients gathered
to participate in the investigation. It was conducted by separating the two
participants into two roles: one being the “teacher” and the other the
“learner”. The experimenter then revealed the shocking device that the
“teacher” would be using to administer shocks to the “learner” if he/she failed
to answer a question correctly. For every question answered incorrectly, the
strength of the shock dispensed increases until it reached the maximum number
of volts, with a range containing about 15 to 450 volts.


The first ethical issue that is greatly incorporated in the study is
deception. Deception is the act of lying to someone. Schater states “Psychologists may only use deception when it is
justified by the study’s scientific, educational, or applied value and when
alternative procedures are not feasible. They may never deceive participants
about any aspect of a study that could cause them physical or psychological harm or pain” (2014). Milgram’s
experiment deceived many of its participants. They were lied to about the fact
that the “learner” was not actually hurt nor was he being shocked by the
device. They were also lied to about the true meaning of the experiment. He
told the participants that they were a part of a learning experiment based on
the punishments of learning but that was not the case. In actuality, Milgram only
desired to examine how obedience and authority affect someone’s emotional
response. “Milgram had no interest in memory; instead he
wanted to know how far the participants would go in carrying out the Experimenters’
lethal instructions” (Haslam, 2015).


I believe that deception
allows you to lose credibility because you have broken the trust of the recipient
and lost some respect. How would you feel if you found out someone took
advantage of your trust and has been lying to you? This is wrong because this
is something that you shouldn’t do to anyone and specifically in this case, it
shows how improper and unbecoming the experiment was. Milgram violated the
code of ethics by not taking into consideration the ………..

from Harm.

 The second ethical issue that is significantly
integrated in the investigation is the security and protection of harm of
participants. Protection of harm is, as protested by Schater, when “Psychologists
must take every possible precaution to protect their research participants from
physical or psychological harm. If there are two equally effective ways to
study something, the psychologist must use the safer method. If no safe method
is available, the psychologist must not perform the study” (2014). These words
themselves display how truly wrong and unprofessional this study was. During
this investigation, the “teachers” were told to administer shocks for every question
the “learner” answered incorrectly. In doing this the strength of each shock dispersed
would increase each time. The “learner” was an actor of Milgram’s who sat in a separate
room pretending to be shocked, with the help of an audio recording, to frighten
the participant acting as the “teacher”. There were even instances where the
actor would cry for help and then audio recording would become completely silent
in order to emphasize the amount of suffering the “learner” is being put under.
The way that these individuals believed that they had caused someone else a
great deal of pain and distress, could have prompted serious emotional anguish
because of these actions. Recipients of the experiment were presented to a
great degree of unpleasant circumstances and conditions that could possibly
cause psychological harm. A large number of the recipients were unmistakably
troubled as they were seen to be shaking, trembling, nail biting and
stuttering. “Whilst the Milgram
experiment appeared to have no long-term effects on the participants, it is
essential that psychological studies do have strict guidelines” (Shuttleworth,
2008). Milgram should have tested his theories and ideas about the effects of
obedience in a more appropriate manner that did not cause any type of distress
to the participants. The investigation should have been concluded immediately when these
signals of distress were shown, Nonetheless, the study should not have been
done to begin with.

Freedom from Coercion. The third
issue that affects ethics in the Milgram Experiment is freedom from coercion. Schater
declares “Psychologists may not coerce participation. Coercion not only means
physical and psychological coercion but monetary coercion as well. It is
unethical to offer people large amounts of money to persuade them to do
something that they might otherwise decline to do.” (2014). Coercion was used
in the experiment when the participant acting as the “teacher” became hesitant
about administering the shocks to the other participant acting as the “learner”.
During this time, the experimenter began to say many declarations that discouraged
the participants from leaving and/or stopping the experiment. Some of the
statements said include “you have no other choice, you must go on”, “the
experiment requires that you continue”, “no, it is absolutely essential that
you continue” (McLeod, 2007). The experimenter in the study had no right to say
those things to the participant especially after they have expressed their
distress with continuing. Milgram argues “The critic feels that the experimenter made the
subject shock the victim. This conception is alien to my view . . . I started
with the belief that every person who came to the laboratory was free to accept
or to reject the dictates of authority” (Miller, 2014). Although this is true,
the experimenter still doesn’t have the right to decline the participants
wishes and order them to stay and continue anyways. They may have felt
threatened or pressured to continue because they were being told repeatedly by
their commanding voice.