Another factor that contributed to the limited

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external validity of the Stanford Prison Experiment highly questionable. Another factor that contributed to the limited external validity of the SPE was the significant amount of sample bias. According to John Mark, one of the subjects during the SPE, Zimbardo “wanted to be able to say that college students, people from middle-class
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Written Assignment 1 Durosham Siddiqui 2 backgrounds” will behave in the expected ways, however, the subjects selected were all from extremely similar backgrounds, resulting in a lack of variety which further contributes to the issue with external validity (Griggs, 2014). Furthermore, the small sample size of only 24 subjects, alongside the similar backgrounds would have biased results regardless of the presence of demand characteristics or other methodological or ethical issues. Although the Milgram obedience study appears in almost all introductory psychology texts, Grigg’s states that very few educational texts emphasize or draw attention to the ethical and methodological issues present in the study. The Milgram obedience study was intended to test the obedience of individuals in the face of authority, but the study has many methodological and ethical criticisms. Specifically, a criticism of the ethics of Milgram’s study can be that it is ethically wrong for Milgram to not debrief participants as soon as the deception necessary for the experiment is over, as researchers have a moral responsibility to protect participants from harm. The ethical violation in Milgram’s study was that he didn’t debrief participants until “about a year later” (Griggs, 2014). A simple way to revise this violation would be debrief participants as soon as the necessary deception is over. A methodological criticism can be made of Milgram's “selective reporting”, because the participants resistance to commands was not recorded; rather, the exclusion of results was tailored to prove Milgram’s previously determined conclusions (Griggs, 2014). A revision of Milgram’s published results so that they include all of the participants resistance as well as the experimenters insistence could resolve this issue.
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  • Fall '08
  • Schreier
  • Stanford prison experiment, Milgram experiment

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