Participant asked to play the “teacher” role, giving a “student” shocks for incorrect
Both the “student” and the shocks were part of the cover story
In compliance with the experimenter, most of the participants gave painful shocks to the
Milgram wanted to test how far people would follow instructions, based on the
obedience that Nazi officers showed during WWII. Back then, they claimed to be only
Nuremberg War Crime Trials (1946) – Nazi doctors experimented on prisoners for
Tuskegee syphilis study (1930s) – low-income African American men were used as
subjects to study the effects of syphilis. The participants weren‟t told of their illness and
were denied the treatment until 1972, even though the cure (penicillin) was found in the
These lead to the creation of the Belmont Report (1979).
Respect for persons: treating persons as autonomous agents and protecting
those with diminished autonomy
Beneficence: minimizing possible harms and maximizing benefits
Justice: distributing benefits and risks of research fairly
Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects (1991)
Federal regulation requires that every institution that wants federal funding for
research on human beings have an institutional review board (IRB) that reviews
The most recent version of the APA Ethics Code (2002), contains 151 enforceable
Ethical Standards as well as five General Principles. Violating these rules can result in
legal consequences and expulsion.
Principle A: Beneficence and Nonmaleficence
Psychologists have to try to benefit those that they work with and to do no harm.
Professionally, psychologists have to safeguard the welfare and rights of those with whom they interact professionally and other affected person. (This includes animal
subjects of research).
Psychologists also have to be careful of personal, financial, social, organizational, or
political factors that might lead to misuse of influence.
Principle B: Fidelity and Responsibility
Psychologists establish trust with those with whom they work. They need to work in the
best interests of their patients. This includes ethical compliance of their colleagues‟
scientific and professional conduct.
Principle C: Integrity
Psychologists need to promote accuracy, truthfulness, and honesty in the
science/teaching/practice of psychology. They cannot steal/cheat or engage in
fraud/subterfuge/international misinterpretation of fact. They must try to keep promises
and to avoid unwise or unclear commitments.
In times when deception may be necessary, there needs to be considerations for the
consequences and the responsibility to correct any resulting mistrust or other harmful
effects that arise from the use of the techniques.
Principle D: Justice
Fairness and justice entitle all persons to access and benefit from the contributions of
psychology and to equal quality in the processes, procedures, and services being
conducted by psychologists.
Psychologists must make sure that their potential biases, boundaries of competence,
and the limitations of their expertise do not lead to or condone unjust practices.
Principle E: Respect for People‟s Rights and Dignities
Need to be aware that special safeguards may be necessary to protect the rights and
welfare of persons or communities whose vulnerabilities impair autonomous welfare of
persons or communities whose vulnerabilities impair autonomous decision making.
Considerations can be based on:
Race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion