5 Controversial Psychology Experiments

5 Controversial Psychology Experiments

1. Milgram’s “Shocking” Obedience Experiments

The Milgram Experiment – Obedience to Authority Experiment.

Psychology: Electric Shock Experiment (Milgram Experiment) HD

Milgram Obedience Study

2. Harlow’s “Pit of Despair”

Cloth Mother: A Psychopathic Study into the Obvious

Harry Harlow Pt1: “attachment, animals can love”

Harlow Dead, Bioethicists Outraged

Manic Monday: Harlow’s Pit of Despair, the Rape Rack and Iron Maidens

Pit of despair
“Harlow’s first experiments involved isolating a monkey in a cage surrounded by steel walls with a small one-way mirror, so the experimenters could look in, but the monkey could not look out. The only connection the monkey had with the world was when the experimenters’ hands changed his bedding or delivered fresh water and food. Baby monkeys were placed in these boxes soon after birth; four were left for 30 days, four for six months, and four for a year.”


3. Zimbardo’s Simulated Prison Experiment

The Stanford Prison Experiment

Zimbardo prison experiment (shortened clip)

Stanford Prison Experimen
“A Simulation Study of the Psychology of Imprisonment Conducted at Stanford University”

Ted talk: The psychology of evil – Philip Zimbardo
“dispositional: internal: inside of individuals, i.e: bad apples
situational: external: depending on the environment, conditions, and situation. i.e: the bad barrel
systemic: broad influences: political, economic, legal power. i.e: the bad barrel makers.”

The Lucifer Effect Understanding How Good People Turn Evil ( ISBN 978 1 4000 6411 3)

the book: the lucifer effect philip zimbardo


4. Watson and Rayner’s Little Albert Experiment

Baby Albert Experiments

John Watson – Little Albert

5. Seligman’s Look Into Learned Helplessness

Learned Helplessness

How Seligman’s Learned Helplessness Theory Applies to Human Depression and Stress

DN! Torture Psychologist Seligman U Penn Awarded Huge Military Contract




3.7 Learned Helplessness vs. Learned Optimism

Learned optimism
“Learned optimism is the idea in positive psychology that a talent for joy, like any other, can be cultivated. It is contrasted with learned helplessness. Learning optimism is done by consciously challenging any negative self talk.”


Obedience (human behavior)
“Obedience, in human behavior, is a form of “social influence in which a person yields to explicit instructions or orders from an authority figure”.[1] Obedience is generally distinguished from compliance, which is behavior influenced by peers, and from conformity, which is behavior intended to match that of the majority. Obedience can be seen as immoral, amoral and moral. For example, in a situation when one orders a person to kill another innocent person and he or she does so willingly, it is generally considered to be immoral. However, when one orders a person to kill an enemy who will end many innocent lives and he or she does so willingly, it can be deemed moral.
Humans have been shown to be obedient in the presence of perceived legitimate authority figures, as shown by the Milgram experiment in the 1960s, which was carried out by Stanley Milgram to find out how the Nazis managed to get ordinary people to take part in the mass murders of the Holocaust. The experiment showed that obedience to authority was the norm, not the exception. Regarding obedience, Milgram said that “Obedience is as basic an element in the structure of social life as one can point to; Some system of authority is a requirement of all communal living, and it is only the man dwelling in isolation who is not forced to respond, through defiance or submission, to the commands of others.”[2] A similar conclusion was reached in the Stanford prison experiment.”


Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research in Psychology

5 Psychology Experiments You Couldn’t Do Today

Belmont Report

The Belmont Report
“Office of the Secretary
Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research
The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research
April 18, 1979”


Nuremberg Code
“The Nuremberg Code (German: Nürnberger Kodex) is a set of research ethics principles for human experimentation set as a result of the subsequent Nuremberg trials at the end of the Second World War.”


Tuskegee syphilis experiment
“The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, also known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study or Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (/tʌsˈkiːɡiː/ tus-KEE-ghee)[1] was an infamous clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service. The purpose of this study was to observe the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural African-American men in Alabama under the guise of receiving free health care from the United States government.”