Ethics Discussion Ethics is a system of rules and principles of conduct. Responses to a
questionnaire being publicly discussed or two people being watched
without their knowledge or permission would be two examples of
breached ethics. The British Psychological Society (BPS) has issued
guidelines of conduct, along with their American counterparts the
American Psychological Association (APA). Although regulations have
been implemented for the first hand participant, neither of these two
institutions provide for extended groups associated to the
participants, for example friends or family. The principles outlined
by these two bodies must be adhered to when conducting psychological
research to avoid inflicting physical or psychological consequences on
investigators or participants. All participants fall into some type of
category, for instance they could be young, old, male, and female or
from an ethnic group. All of whom need protection. One such study that
aroused controversy and was heavily criticised on ethics was Phillip
Zimbardo's prison experiment. Zimbardo aimed to establish "What
happens when you put good people in an evil place? Does humanity win
over evil or will evil triumph?"
In 1973 Stanford University, California transformed their basement
into a fully functional prison. For authenticity cells were created
with CCTV, no windows or clocks were permitted. Zimbardo was to
participate by assuming the position of 'Prison Superintendent'. The
volunteers were recruited through an advert in a newspaper offering
$15.00 per day. The 24 successful candidates were young male students
which were given preliminary personality tests to judge their
emotional stability. This was an attempt to predict how the individual
would conduct his behaviour while partaking in the experiment. They
were then divided equally into two groups, guards and prisoners.
Guards were advised to administer their own punishments on condition
that it was not physical abuse. They were also under the guidance of
Warden David Jaffe. Their attire consisted of a khaki style uniform,
clubs, whistles, cuffs, keys and sunglasses. The sunglasses were a
compulsory item to be worn at all times, ensuring that eye contact was
impossible therefore unable to 'read' a persons emotions effectively.
As for the prisoners they were arrested at their homes and driven
directly to the Stanford County Jail. They were shackled at all times
a reminder of their oppressive environment. Hairstyles were hidden by
stockings, instead of being shaved. Names were replaced with numbers.
All these effects were to eliminate evidence of any...