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Psychological Studies of Dr. Stanley Milgram and Dr. Philip Zimbardo

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On August 26, 1976 Americans have experienced a real shock, witnessing two-hour movie "The Tenth Level", based on scientific research, conducted by Stanley Milgram.

The experiment was devoted to the study of the processes of learning in extreme situations. The testee had to perform different tasks of increscent difficulty and was to be punished in the case of failure of the test by an electric charge 15 to 450 volts.

There is an ethically question - who allowed psychologists to harm the heath of someone else? In fact, there were no tortures. The role of the testee was performed by a professional actor, who only pretended suffering. The real testee was a volunteer experimenter. Milgram wanted to find out how cruel can be people, if their actions are authorized.

On August 14, 1971 Stanford University has begun an experiment that brought worldwide fame to its supervisor - Philip Zimbardo. Volunteers were divided into three groups: two dozens of people were sent to improvised prison as those who had broken the law; others played the role of other criminals and the third group – security guards.

After only six days, scientists closed the "prison”. For most of the subjects there was no longer clear difference between themselves and the performance of their roles. Most of testees actually became "prisoners" and "guards". Dramatic changes were observed in almost all aspects of their behavior, thoughts and feelings (Feldman, 2010).

We can see an ethical issue of restrictions on the rights of ordinary citizens – despite the fact they have signed the relevant documents. In fact, newly prisoners have suffered from psychological and sometimes physical damage and even violence.

Despite the controversial statements on those two researches, its one-time experiment on people was important in expanding the boundaries and, especially, means of psychology. They gave impetuses to generations of scientists and ordinary people to explore their results and try to give answers on some fundamental issues of our human nature.

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