Stanford Prison Experiment - Essay Example

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One of the most blatant ethical violations was the creating of conditions that prevented a participant from withdrawing from the study at…
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Download file to see previous pages Another significant violation in this study was the lack of impartiality and distance of the researcher from the experiment. He became so much a part of the study that his personal bias and role took over his obligation to maintain the required impartiality. Thirdly, there was an inadequate establishment of appropriate boundaries and limitations on how far the prison environment could be replicated in an experiment.
The experiment also did not respect the individual rights of the participants who took on the role of the prisoners. There were significant violations of human rights of the prisoners which are untenable in the atmosphere of a scientific experiment. The privacy of the prisoner participants was violated to an unacceptable degree, for example by making them repeatedly clean out their toilets by hand. Such acts were not strictly necessary in replicating a prison environment and violated accepted norms of fairness and decency. The response to prisoner Number 6419 who was genuinely traumatized by the experiment was not appropriate, because he was expected to accept continued torture rather than his fears and discomfort being acknowledged and his release arranged. The experiment on the whole, overstepped the ethical boundaries of impartial scientific research in its replication of the prison environment.
Zimbardo’s reaction to the experiment was not that of an impartial researcher. When it first started going out of control with the prisoners resorting to rebellion, he in effect, allowed the guards free rein on controlling the rebellion, permitting them to use means that should have been unacceptable within the constraints of a research environment. As the experiment progressed, he began to react more like a prison authority and less like a researcher and an impartial observer. It appears likely that part of the reason for the experiment going out of control in the first place was the lack of establishment of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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