Psychological research, obedience and ethics
Psychological research, obedience and ethics

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Psychological research, obedience and ethics

Psychological research, obedience and ethics


One of the best known studies in the history of psychology is the research on obedience carried out by Stanley Milgram in the 1960s. In his research Milgram demonstrated the lengths to which people are willing to go just because someone in authority tells them to do something. The studies Milgram conducted also raised the issue of ethics in research, as some critics argued that he failed to take sufficient precautions to protect the integrity and wellbeing of his participants. At the same time, more than any other study in psychology, the findings of Milgram’s research demonstrate why ethics are important.

As well as reading about Milgram's work and ethics, you will engage in an online activity to learn about the code of ethics concerning the psychological research that is conducted with human participants. You will also gain an understanding of the guidelines that govern the use of non-human animals in psychological research in a second online activity, and why psychologists conduct such research. You will have the opportunity of viewing two short films which will introduce you to the research of Alex Thornton who studies meerkats, and of Tetsuro Matsuzawa who works with chimpanzees.

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course DE100 Investigating psychology 1 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus