The Tuskegee Syphilis Study and The Zimbardo Prison Guard Experiment

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1436 |

Pages: 3|

8 min read

Published: Jan 5, 2023

Words: 1436|Pages: 3|8 min read

Published: Jan 5, 2023

They’re numerous controversial opinions about human and animal subjects. Is it fundamental in psychological research? For us to understand why we are the way we are, we must use human subjects to comprehend how we behave a certain way, but it must have moral standards. Animal and human research, they’re numerous roles in learning and understanding certain human behaviors. As indicated by Gould, scientists assume that extra examinations in animals could obtain more knowledge and comprehension to their suicide study because they believe that basic studies from these animals will give them more understanding with fundamental mechanisms that would underlie biological phenomena. Scientists would consider using animals because they are a lot simpler than humans.

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They’re many problems on using animal and human subjects for research. Scientists were found to be very unethical. For example, the Zimbardo prison guard experiment which took place in at Stanford University in 1971 by a psychology professor, Philip Zimbardo. According to Haslam, this experiment is meant to study the destructive behavior in groups of men over a certain amount of time. The students were placed in a mock prison and then randomly assigned roles, they were assigned as guards or prisoners. The experiment was terminated after only 6 days. Why? I think being in uniform and having the title “guard” gave them power and made them brutal. They assume it was natural. Another example is the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, which is also known as the biggest notorious biomedical research study in US history. This study was carried out for over 40 years. This experiment had around 600 black men; 399 with syphilis and 201 were without. They were misled and were not receiving proper treatment. Various rumors had gone around about this study and people are more reluctant to participate in biomedical research, as stated by Katz, 60 percent of the black participants from Tuskegee, Hartford, Birmingham, and San Antonio, in their study had heard of the Tuskegee Syphilis study. With that information researchers who are looking for participants should create a welcoming environment when recruiting new participants for studies(V. Katz et al., 2008).

The Tuskegee Syphilis study and the Zimbardo prison guard experiment would not be accepted by our society today. From my understanding, the reason it was allowed at the time was because it was new, no one has done anything as big as these studies before. The Tuskegee Syphilis did not have informed consent and participants were not knowledgeable about known dangers. They were refused treatment and were not given a cure even though it was accessible. The Zimbardo prison guard experiment was more psychologically abusive. Zimbardo failed to be a psychologist but become his role as a prison superintendent. Now we are more regulated and have the technology to prevent these things from happening.

They’re three agencies that are involved in reviewing experimental research; the institutional review board (IRB), the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee(IACUC). According to Eissenberg, the APA regulations and federal laws require IRB to analyze every human participant in the research project. People in the field of psychology, have ethical codes that provide guidance for research and the IRB is there to help review experiment proposals. They all follow APA guidelines for animal and human subjects.

IRB provides protection for human research subjects from psychological or physical harm. It was established in 1974 by the National Research Act. As indicated by Enfield and Truwit, IRB was made to help ensure the protection of human subjects because there is a prolonged history of unethical research therefore the top priority of this committee is to protect it. They’re many requirements to consider before submitting your study. First, you have to attend a class for human subject training. Then you must have appropriate documents, a few necessary ones are consent forms and IRB review forms. When you submit your study, an IRB member will assign it to an applicable review type and check if all documents are submitted and completed. If a full board study is needed it will go through a pre-review process.

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee's (IACUC) purpose is to assure animal well-being by providing regulations and protocols that assure animal care. This team consists of a doctor of veterinary pharmaceuticals, a scientist that has experience in research with animal subjects, and one member of the community. IACUC is important because animals have been mistreated for an everlasting time. The steps to submit to the IACUC is to complete your proposal. Training is also required, in this case, it will be Collaborative Institutional training (CITI) it will provide you information on animal care. According to Silverman, IACUC will then review proposals and make a decision on whether they could use animal subjects or not. If a submission does not reach standards modifications, clarification is required to approve the study. During the approval process, IACUCS looks at regulations and guidelines to administrate animal use(Silverman et al.,). All animals should be protected under the IACUC but because we don’t know the definite number of animals that are being used.

The Office of research integrity (ORI) reviews research dereliction. It is located in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. ORI helps coordinate Public Health services and research trustworthiness. They help develop procedures to prevent research misconduct, have investigations on studies that have been reported, and provide programs that educated scientists about research fraud. This is an important program because they pursue to oppress claims of unethical conduct. During reviewing a report of misconduct, they will examine the important documentation. After the completed oversight review, they make a report to determine if the allegation was corroborated.

Naturalistic observation is when you observe subjects in a natural environment, it may help psychology but some human participants are needed as well. Our technology is also advancing and improving natural observations, according to Mel, there is an audio recorder called EAR that records snippets of your daily life. The EAR allows researchers to study mental health, and how loneliness and other social expressions could affect your health. It gives patients their privacy while collecting information on real-life social behaviors. When technology advances we will get more ways to observe people without causing them any harm. The EAR to me is just one of the many other technologies that are improving. Computer models being used for human participants sounds insane but a study shows that computer models are making personality judgments that are more accurate than humans. According to Youyou, computer-based models are greatly more accurate than humans in personality judgments. These models demonstrate above-average interjudge agreement and external validity than humans. Not only that, computer-based personality judgments were a lot better at predicting life outcomes. This goes for animal subjects as well. We can naturally observe them but could this help human psychology? Using animals that have less developed CNS in my opinion would not help. Scientists should consider other alternatives to eventually stop animal testing, according to Yi, there is a creation of an “Organ on a chip” it contains human cells and creates artificial organs that mimic actual organs. These chips could be used instead of animals for many research, for example, disease research. Power analysis is important to conduct before the onset of any study because it allows you to determine what type of sample size you need for accurate statistical judgment and if your statistical test will detect effects in the size.

In the future, human and animal subjects for research will possibly get even more stern. Animal research should be a method of the past. When technology gets better in the future, it could be possible to eliminate animals as subjects but until then, additional regulations should be considered for their well-being. Badyal states they’re still a lot of reports of animal neglect and animals undergoing painful procedures. They’re also good and bad scientists, some collaborate with the agencies and some don’t. If someone told me that some scientists were conducting research in other countries with less regulation, it would be convincing.

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Researchers who achieve power in their experiments should not be allowed to have unlimited access to human or animal subjects. They should only have access to a certain amount of people or animals if they pass guidelines. Scientists should be tested for their knowledge on experiments and non-experimental design every other year or so. The Hippocratic Oath is an oath new physicians swear to uphold ethical practices and to do no harm. It would be nice for scientists to do something similar to this although it won’t stop unethical practices it will give somewhat a moral standard.    

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The Tuskegee Syphilis Study And The Zimbardo Prison Guard Experiment. (2023, January 05). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 17, 2024, from
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