This study highlights ethical issues which are relevant in the present day.
Perhaps Milgram could have tested his ideas on obedience without causing distress to his subjects.
It becomes clear that a great deal can be learnt from past research, Milgram’s study informed the field of social psychology in terms of theories on obedience and authority (Benjamin and Simpson, 2009).
In addition to this, in response to what would now be seen as unethical methods, a change in the way in which Psychologist’s work emerged as new guidelines regarding the treatment of research participants were developed. “Some thoughts on the ethics of research: After reading Milgram’s ‘Behavioral Study of Obedience.’” [Online].
What, if any, relevance does it have to the present day?
Stanley Milgram’s obedience study (1963) has been extremely influential in psychology.The researcher told them that this was not something to worry about but they did inform them that the shocks could be extremely painful.During the learning session the teacher and learner were in different rooms and they communicated via intercom.Stanley Milgram’s Obedience experiment (1963) is thought of as a ‘classic’ experiment in the history of psychology.It was conducted in response to the Nazi war trials where individuals claimed that they were ‘just following orders’.The researcher told the teacher to increase the shock each time an incorrect answer was given.Regardless of uncertainty on behalf of the teacher, protests from the learner and latterly no sound at all from the learner, the researcher still instructed the teacher to administer the highest voltage possible.This lead to the consideration of what is ethically acceptable and guidelines which protect participants being developed.These guidelines are in place today and therefore have an impact on the way in which current psychological research is conducted.It is thought that under these conditions no hurt can be caused to the participant. It may be argued that Milgram’s study influenced the way that Psychologist’s conduct their current research as it changed research ethics and design, whilst contributing greatly to theory in psychology.