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Experiment on Disobedience: The Ethical Violations
I watched a video on Youtube that explained an experiment of obedience. As a student and reasearcher, I heard and conceptualized that there are ethical violations in the said experiment. If you are curious about what was the experiment all about, it is from a famous school but I won't going to mention it. So, they made an advertisement in a newspaper looking for participants for their experiment, but they did not mention what will these participants do. Also, they only looked for men.
The experiment is about measuring the obedience of a person. When participants are coming to the said school, they explained to them the scenario and experiment they will be doing. Two people will have to be a Teacher and a Learner. The school already set up that the participants will automatically be the Teacher, and he has no idea that the another participant who will be the Learner, is an accomplice from school. The scenario would be, the admins will tell the Teacher (participant) to ask questions to the Learner (accomplice), and when the answer is wrong, the Teacher needs to push the button for the electric shock. But, the electric shock is not true as well. The Learner (accomplice) will just need to pretend that he is in pain. So, the experiment was about the obedience of the participant. Whether he will follow his conscience or the authority.
Here are the Ethical Violations in the Experiment:
It has a violation of not being ethically approved and deception because it put people into a situation where they think they are really hurting another person. In this matter, it might psychologically affect the participant. The experiment had proven something and have successfully answered the questions in their research. Apparently, it will not change the fact that in the seconds and minutes of doing the experiment, someone is being tortured by his conscience. The violation will fall under Deception.
Maybe the experiment is about obedience of whether the participant will obey orders from a person who told him to do that, but it should be done only with men. On the procedure of getting participants, they already focused on men. It violated Gender-biased ethical violation. It should be conducted in both genders, and not only to men. To prove this, the experiment will only be generalizable for men, and not for everyone.
As I can see and hear in the video, participants are affected by their conscience. They even asked to stop the procedure. This only means that they were put in a situation where the pressure and stress were on their shoulders. This violated the protection of the people who participated. The ethical violation of setting aside the protection of your respondents is a big deal in conducting an experimental research, since we have rights as human.
The participants wanted to stop the procedure as they saw the person in front of them in pain because of the shock. But they did not let the withdrawal even though they asked for it so many times. In conducting researches or experiments, researchers should know the limitation of what they are doing. If they observed that their participants are distressed because of the procedure, might as well stop it. Apparently, in the experiment done by Milgram, they violated this one.
Even though Milgram explained the true nature and purpose of the experiment, they will not erase the distress that the participants felt during the procedure. Because of this, they violated the conflict of interest, since they needed to get through person’s psychological reactions and emotions just to successfully conduct the experiment. The conflict arises just because their interest is much more needed. Therefore, researchers should learn that even though the experiment should get through that limit to be successfully done, consider every ethical issue before doing so. A research or experiment that has ethical violations should not be repeated.