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From the evidence, not only the guards lost their way but the experimenter also lost the ability to be impartial as the next problem that arose was an intended escape plot. Apparently, the recently released prisoner was going to rally up some of his friends and free the other inmates. If the experimenters were to remain unbiased and act like experimental social psychologists, they would have let the escape plot unfold, simply witnessing and recording the events, but their ability to be impartial was gone and they worried for the security of their prison and began to strategise on how to foil the impending prison break.Clearly the experimenter was deep into his role and the experiment itself was failing from a lack of neutrality.

The second plan was to dismantle the prison, move the prisoners, so when the liberators arrived they would find the experimenter sitting there alone and would explain that the experiment was over, that everyone had gone home. After this they would bring the prisoners back and double the guards.As the experimenter waited anxiously for the intruders to break in, a colleague and former Yale graduate student roommate approached and asked the experimenter what the situation was and what the independent variable was. This question enraged the experimenter, outlining how involved and blinkered he had become, acting more like a prison warden than a research psychologist. Ethically the experiment was a psychological minefield. Even after being debriefed it is impossible to say whether any lasting damage his been done psychologically to all those who participated, especially the prisoners.Though the subjects were taking part in a paid experiment, the issue of obedience to uniform as well as the behaviour of those in uniform exceeded the expectations of the experimenter. The human response to those in authority or uniform is also displayed in Hofling’s experiment, where a doctor’s instruction to nurses would override the nurse’s own common sense, or the impulse to question a superior’s instruction.

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In the Hofling’s experiment nurses were telephoned by a doctor and instructed to administer a drug to twenty patients.The drug was a placebo, not that the nurses knew this. The drugs were clearly labelled with a warning not to exceed the dosage of ten milligrams however the doctor had instructed the nurses on the telephone to give each patient twenty milligrams. Twenty one out of twenty two nurses complied without question. Ethically this could lead to the nurses questioning their ability to care for others and that if they had made this mistake what had they done in the past.The positive’s are that the nurses have been confronted with their issues over blind trust and that an important lesson has been learnt.

In the case of Milgram, ethics are down to him as an individual as he was a pioneer in social psychological experimentation and free from restrictions as ethical guidelines had yet to be established. Zimbardos theory was sound unfortunately human nature got in the way and his role was lost, making a mockery of the experiment, not that positives can not be drawn from this.Ethically, though guidelines had started to be implemented into psychological experiments ethics were not taken into consideration enough. In Hoflings experiment the ethical practice is flawed but considerably better on the participants, but in comparison to Zimbardos study conformity to authoritative figure is shown yet again. All three experiments were necessary to the psychological community as ethics were highlighted and conditions for participants would only get better.

References http://prisonexp.org/.

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