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Social Influence Research - Do the Ends Justify the Means?

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Social Influence Research - Do the Ends Justify the Means?

To what extent does the importance of social influence research,
justify the methods used in its investigation?

The debate about ethics in psychology focuses on two areas: protection
of participants and benefiting society. This is a double obligation
dilemma as if some psychologists are not allowed to do certain
experiments because of ethical restraints; this can cause problems
with validity. In social psychology, these psychologists have an
obligation to use their research skills to advance our knowledge of
human behaviour, for the ultimate aim of human betterment.

Milgram’s study into obedience involved participants becoming a
‘teacher’ and applying an electric shock to the ‘learner’ (who was a
confederate) when they answered a word association question
incorrectly. The participant was not aware that the shocks they
administered were false and some believed they may have killed a man.

In this instance therefore, the code of conduct and ethical guidelines ...

... middle of paper ...

...ety was also the impression this
experiment left on the prison system in America at the time, and some
aspects of this were changed as a result.

Therefore in conclusion, in these two experiments alone, the unethical
methods used can be justified as they have helped to profit humanity
by providing insight into how humans behave when put into certain
social situations. Without these ethical guidelines being broken, both
experiments would have lacked ecological validity and the results
would not be legitimate.

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