Baumrind, Diana, "Some Thoughts on Ethics of Research: After Reading
Milgram's "Behavioral Study of Obedience", American Psychologist,
1964, 19: 421-423
Given the experimenter's gratitude to the subject, and the ethical need
to treat subjects well, is Milgram's study unethical?
Did he really provide enough counseling after the experience to remove any
trauma the subjects felt?
What kind of counseling does it require to be certain there are not lasting
Did he take advantage of the volunteerism and innocent willingness by the
subjects? Does the volunteer have an implicit assumption of trust and obedience
that can be violated?
The laboratory is not a good place to study obedience, because the unfamiliarity
causes more obedience in the face of uncertainty.
It is harmful because it may cause permanent psychological damage and cause
people to be less trusting in the future.
"From the subject's point of view, procedures which involve loss of
dignity, self-esteem, and trust in rational authority are probably most
harmful in the long run and require the most thoughtfully planned reparations,
if engaged at all".