The British Psychological society put many guidelines in place when experiments are taking place. These guidelines are to protect participants and guide research with help from the code of ethics and conduct.
How different would the outcome of research and experiments be if the BPS had never been founded in 1901 and set up it’s guidelines and ethics for researchers in the future.
Milgram’s work on conformity and obedience is a very well known study. The BPS was in it’s early years when Milgram did his experiment in It shows the influence an authoritative figure has on a person who is taking the orders.
Some of the strengths of experimental studies of obedience are that it gives psychologists a better understanding of the human behavior. Although Stanley Milgrams experiments of conformity and obedience came in for considerable criticism with some saying its claims are wildly overblown. Would this experiment be allowed to take place in society today?
In 1971 Zimbardo conducted a prison experiment where he recruted volunteers to act as either prisoners or prison gaurds. 12 were chosen to play prisoners the other 12 were chosen to play the prison gurads. This experiment had taken place to study of the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or a prison guards and was funded by the US offfice of navel research.
However the experiment only lasted 6 days as the prisoners were becoming stressed and abused as the acting prison gaurds started to take their role much to seriously. The experiment was initially cleared by the American Psychological Society, but was later criticized for being unethical. This research would not be allowed to be carried out today as it would violate the ethics code of both America and UK.
These results from these studies show that YES the BPS guidelines DO make a differnece to the results of experiments.
Experiments have been changed or not even happened in the past as they were seen as unethical. Some experiments and research has not been allowed to take place which means we will never be able to find out the answers to some questions. FOr example if we were to remake Milgram’s experiment today to see if authority has changed in society over the past few years. We will never know the answer as it would be classed as unethical to conduct this study again.