Ethics in Psychology

Ethicsin Psychology

What is it about each of these studies that make them unethical?

The Milgram Experiment is unethical because of the way thatthe researchers deceived the participants. The participants shouldhave been aware of the consequences that would have arisen from theentire research. In fact, the newspaper advert that sought theservices of the 40 male subjects lied that they were participating inan experiment that will test their memory and learning. Theparticipants also thought that the learner was receiving the electricshock, yet, that was not true.

The Little Albert Experiment showed some unethical standardsin terms of the inability to protect Little Albert from anypsychological harm. In this case, they induced fear intentionally anddid not place any measures to avoid any emotional instability aswell. Exposure to such harm might even have affected thepsychological well-being of the Little Albert as he grew up.

The Blue Eyes and Brown Eyes Experiment saw Ms. Elliot usingdeception into tricking the participants since they were not aware ofthe results of the experiment. Apart from that, the lack of informedconsent also undermined the ethical aspects of the experiment aswell. Evidently, the participants did not know the results or eventhe aim of the experiment right from the start (Sieber, 2012). Ms.Elliot simply manipulated them, and that was wrong in terms of theAPA ethical guidelines.

Does the benefit oflearning the results of these studies outweigh the potential harm ofconducting the studies? Why or why not?

Evidently, the benefit of learning the results of these studies doesnot outweigh the potential harm it might have on the participants.First, the studies risked the safety and mental abilities of theparticipants. For instance, the Milgram Experiment deceivedthe participants and even did not give them a chance to withdraw fromthe experiment. That was unethical and more likely to have adverseeffects on their psychological status. Besides that, the LittleAlbert Experiment also risked the psychological well-being of thechild, and the induced fear would have even affected the child as anadult instead (Sieber, 2012). Lastly, the Blue Eyes and Brown EyesExperiment did not consider the informed consent from thechildren’s parents before commencing with the study. It would havemore likely undermined the self-esteem of these children as well.Hence, the benefit of learning the results does not outweigh thepotential harm.

If you wanted toreplicate these studies, what (if anything) could you do in order tomeet the APA`s Code of Conduct and ethical standards?

If I wanted to replicate the studies, I could have ignored deception,seek informed consent and avoided scenarios where I will expose theparticipants to psychological harm. First, in terms of the MilgramExperiment, I could have restrained from deceiving theparticipants and revealing all the required details about theresearch to meet the APA ethical standards. Before commencing, I willundertake a debriefing session where I will inform the participantsof the role they will undertake, the aim of the research and theconsequences of the research too. I will ensure that the LittleAlbert Experiment does not expose the child to psychologicalharm, and I will seek informed consent from her mother and ensure sheis right there before proceeding with the research. Such an approachwill ensure that I do not violate any of the APA ethical standards aswell. Lastly, I will also restructure the Blue Eyes and Brown EyesExperiment and ensure that the children fully understand theconsequences of the research (Sieber, 2012). Seeking informed consentfrom their parents will be another crucial step to undertake thatwill ensure the children are willing to participate in the study.


Sieber, J. E. (Ed.). (2012). The ethics of social research:Fieldwork, regulation, and publication. Berlin: Springer Science&amp Business Media.