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

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2 Milgram’s study and ethics

At the beginning of Section 1 you were asked to put yourself in the shoes of one of the participants in Milgram’s research. How do you think being a participant in the study felt? As you already read, many of the participants were visibly uncomfortable during the procedure. This is one of the reasons why the study created a storm, starting with a hostile review of the research in a newspaper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The newspaper criticised Milgram and Yale University for putting the participants in such a stressful situation. It claimed that Milgram violated the rules of ethics which guide psychological research. The charge was repeated in academic circles, and led to Milgram’s application to join the American Psychological Association being put on hold for a year. Milgram made a robust rebuttal of the charges and the debate about the issues led to the introduction of new codes of good practice for psychologists.