Review Argosy’s IRB Checklist. Gather information on Stanley Milgram’s study on obedience and authority.

Assignment 2: Discussion Question


Review Argosy’s IRB Checklist. Gather information on Stanley Milgram’s study on obedience and authority.  Using the IRB checklist as a guideline, what were some major concerns you had regarding the Milgram study? How would you redesign Milgram’s study to have it pass IRB standards?


Milgram Study


   In my most humble opinion, I would like to do my best to discuss and give my opinions on what Milgram did to get the conclusions of his study and the areas that I felt were inappropriate. However, I would like to add that I do feel that  he did what he had to do to get a specific reaction from human beings, and it is crucial to get a specific response from an experiment in order to learn about curtain human behavior. According to Shanks (2012), “We tend to think that we have now learned in dept what Milgram’s “Obedience Experiments” have to teach us. It is of course a highly manipulative experiment which would certainly be deemed unacceptable by today’s requirements for ethical transparency in research.

In addition, by Milgram trying and obtain data from his subjects while giving them false information to access a person’s reaction to authority. An Individual’s acts are  based on what they feel. Many individuals need for people to think they are great individuals, so if someone asks them how they would act if they received an electrically shock from an authority, they would probably answer that by saying that they would have to simply oppose the authority figure in question and ask not to be shocked anymore. Despite the fact that individuals believed that how they responded was unbelievable, a considerable lot of these individuals followed the description of giving a strong shock, which was driven by an authority figure. This demonstrates that an individual cannot foresee what they really would do under a specific situations.

 Some people may say that although he had a goal to get precise result from the experiment, the study has a problem of ethics. Certainly, Milgram manipulated subjects and gave stress. It is also obvious that the experimenter harmed their feelings. However, they did not harm participants physically, and 84% of the participants were happy about being involved in the experiment which changed their way of thinking towards authority figures.

Certainly, Milgram manipulated the participants and gave stress to them, but without this method, it was impossible to get a real reaction from people towards authorities. Besides, after the experiment, Milgram debriefed real purpose of this experiment, and the participants agreed to support the experiment. Finally, since most participants did not complain about the experiment and said they were glad to be able to participate the experiment, I think Milgram’s obedience for authority study does not have an ethics problem.

By today’s high integrity standards of research conduct, Milgram’s study never would have obtained IRB approval. This is true because it violated the rights of the subjects without informed consent and did so in a unilateral unethical way. The experiment was to observe individuals under instruction to deliver painful shocks to individuals to determine whether research subjects would comply. The individuals receiving the shocks were visibly in pain and this was not previously divulged to them. The following characteristics should be modified to make this study more ethical.-informed consent of subjects-right of subjects to opt out at any time-mild shocks could be delivered but not to the threshold that would actually cause pain or discomfort-subjects should be screened out if they are more likely to have a negative reaction, I.e. History of anxiety disorder.

“Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority” (Milgram, 1974).

Milgram’s experiment has become a classic in psychology, demonstrating the dangers of obedience. While this experiment suggests that situational variables have a stronger sway than personality factors in determining obedience, other psychologists argue that obedience is heavily influenced by both external and internal factors, such as personal beliefs and overall temperament.

I think the labeling of the “instrument” delivering the shock is NEAR irrelevant. How many people do you think actually know what Voltage really means when relating to dangerous levels? And in regards to another post, how many people do we think really know about this experiment? I learned about it when I was in High School due to an elective Intro to Psychology class, even then I didn’t really pay attention because I had no interest. My curiosity was sparked when I heard about Burger’s “replication” and it was on TV…sadly I admitted that…TV is successful because of Psychology, it plays into our very lives now!! I see people going through what could be described as withdraws from not getting to watch their shows. It is disgusting in my opinion.



Baumrind, D. (1964). Some thoughts on ethics of research: After reading Milgram’s “Behavioral study of obedience.” American Psychologist, 19, 421-423. BaumrindCommentsonMilgram.pdf 

Milgram, S. (1974). Obedience to authority: An experimental view. Harpercollins

Shamoo, Adil E., and David B. Resnik. Responsible conduct of research. London: Oxford University Press, 2003. Print.HelpfulHomework40809.4498293634

Shanks, M. (2012). Milgram revisited. Journal of Global Responsibility, 3(1), 66-82. Doi:


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