Psychological experiments



Psychologyis an applied discipline and academic that entails the scientificstudy of behaviors and mental functions. Psychology’s immediategoal is to help the understanding persons and groups through theestablishment of general principles as well as researching somespecific cases. By many accounts psychology aims at benefiting thesociety. Typically, social psychological study investigates how anindividual’s behavior influences the behavior of the groups or theinternal states like self concept or attitude. There are severalpsychological experiments that got carried which try to explain whysocial behaviors take place the way they do as the document explains(Myers &amp Hansen, 2012).


Harlow’sRhesus Monkey Experiment

TheHarlow’s Rhesus Monkey experiment is one of the psychologicalexperiments. It got carried out by Harlow after getting intrigued bylove. He questions the theories that were in existence that statedthat love began like feeding bond with the mother and then appliedthrough extension to other members of the family. Other theoriesstated that the human, as well as other social animals, tends to livein organized societies just to regularize sexual contacts. As from1957, Harlow began working with rhesus monkeys that tend to be moremature than human babies. However, like human babies they portray arange of emotions and require nursing. He took the infant monkeysfrom their genuine mothers and gave them to artificial mothers. Oneof the artificial mothers was wire made and the other of cloth made(Martin, 2008).

However,the babies hardly ever stayed with the wire model longer before ittook to acquire necessary food. The babies proffered cuddling withthe cloth model which was softer than the wire model especially whenthey got scared. Harlow also found through another experiment thatyoung monkeys tend to rear with live mothers, unlike young peers thatlearned playing and socializing with other young monkeys. The monkeyswith cloth mothers were however a bit slow, but tended to catch upsocially by about a year. The babies that got raised with realmothers and did not have playmates were often inappropriatelyaggressive or fearful. The baby monkeys which had no real mothers orplaymates became incompetent socially, and when they were older, theywere usually unsuccessful at mating (Myers &amp Hansen, 2012).

Theunsocial females that bore children were neglectful of theirchildren. Harlow came into a conclusion that sex did not solely drivesocieties. Harlow also concluded that mother`s love do not solelyenable individual`s social relations. He also argued that parentalbehavior and normal sex were dependent of a wide array ofaffectionate ties with family and peers in their early life. Thetheory indicated by Harlow raised ideas that other researchers cantackle. The study he did on research pertaining love emerged whenthere were high regards in science. However, many of the experimentshe did can get considered as unethical in the present time. Thetreatment towards animals used in the laboratory heightened theawareness of ethics and resulted to the present day regulations onethical issues (Campbell, 2010).

GeneSackett, who was among the students of Harlow, indicated that themovements concerning liberty of animal emerged due to the treatmentof animals in Harlow`s experiments. The experiment clearly violatedthe sensibility of animals. The experiment could be consideredoffensive by any person who had respect towards life. The animalsused in the experiment were ill treated, and the scientist leftbehind a big mess.

Themonster study

Themonster study made the use of twenty two orphans. It was anexperiment done in 1939 by Wendell Johnson. The scientist appointed agraduate student Mary Tudor to perform the experiment while hesupervised the research. The children got grouped to conduct anexperiment Tudor later gave a positive therapy to one group and anegative therapy to the other group. The children were be litteredtowards the speech imperfection and also told they were indeedstutterers. The children, who were orphans and spoke normally,suffered numerous negative psychological effects. Some children alsoretained problems in speech in later years (Martin, 2008).

Themonster study was considered unethical due to the manipulation of theorphaned children. He made the use of the children to prove ascientific hypothesis. However, the experiment was kept as a secretto protect the reputation of the scientist. The findings in hisexperiments never got published in any journal and a report done byTudor was the only evidence to the experiment. Lowa University tookthe courtesy of apologizing for the experiment. The data thatretrieved from the experiment from the stutter of children is themost detailed on the issue of stuttering children (Myers &ampHansen, 2012).

Scientistlater made a research on children who stutter and indicated thatstuttering children are doing different things on their speech fromthe children who do not stutter. Johnson was the initial scientistwho discovered the feelings, thoughts, beliefs and attitudes ofchildren who stutter. There are however unethical issues in theresearch done by Johnson. The study did not have regard to thepotential harm they were exposing to the children. They tookadvantage of the children because they were easily available and werealso orphans. There was also the case of deception as well as lack ofdebriefing that was not justifiable (Martin, 2008).

Theresearch has gotten mentioned as unethical and has clearly gonebeyond the boundaries of any acceptable research. On the other hand,many individuals have a belief that the set ethical standards of theyear 1939 were different from the ethical standards of the presentdate. The design towards the experiment was poorly done by Tudor andconsequently rendered no proof of the hypothesis made by Johnson. Thehypothesis stated that stuttering begins in the ears of the parentbut not in the mouth of the child. It should be advised to the parentto assist their children in overcoming what they have labeled asstuttering (Campbell, 2010).

LandisFacial Expressions Experiment

CarneyLandis in the year 1924 started an experiment to establish on whetheremotions experienced by a person make facial expressions that arespecific to that particular emotion. The main idea as to why theresearch got carried out was to identify whether the human specieshave similar expressions when they are exposed to the feelings ofdisgust, joy, shock and many other conditions. The participants ofthe experiment were students who were painted black lines on theirfaces in the lab. It was done to enable the study the movements ofthe muscles in the face.Stimuli were used to make the studentshave a strong reaction. Photographs got taken as each student reacted(Martin, 2008).

Thestudents were exposed to the smell of ammonia for the scientist toread their faces. They were also asked to watch pornography as wellas placing their hands in baskets containing frogs. There werecontroversies in the ethical issues in the research. The studentswere made to behead rats while all of them got repelled by the idea,but one third performed the act. The situation`s worst part was thatnot all students had the knowledge of performing the operation in amanner that is humane. The animals were experiencing great suffering.Landis also treated the animals in an inhumane manner by cuttingtheir head off when some of the students refused to perform theoperations. The research did not prove that human beings show acommon set of facial expressions but proved that human can doanything when under certain conditions (Campbell, 2010).

TheAPA principals, as well as the code of conduct, comprises of anintroduction, preamble, general principles and the ethical standards.The introduction of the research gives an overview of the intentions,organization and also the considerations towards the procedure used.It also indicates the application of the ethical issues. Thepreambles, as well as principles, are meant to inspire and guide thepsychologist towards achieving the highest ideals in psychology. Thegeneral principles, as well as the preamble, however, are notenforceable rules. The psychologist should use them to reach theethical course in the experiments. Ethical bodies consider them astools used in interpreting the ethical standards (Myers &amp Hansen,2012).

Inthe modern date research needs to be conducted in a manner that isethical. There is a need to consider professionalism and consensus.There are various elements that every researcher should incorporatein any study. The aspect of deception should get eliminated in theresearch. It involves concealing information from the participantstowards the real intention of the study. It also involves misleadingthe participants on the intentions of the research. The aspect oflying to the participants on the genuine reason towards the researchshould get eliminated in any study (Campbell, 2010).

Anotheraspect that should get eliminated in the study is the issue ofdebriefing. The researcher should have the courtesy of debriefing theparticipants when any procedure ends. The participants should getinformed the intentions of the research. It is crucial to debrief thestudents on a case that deception has gotten applied. Theparticipants should also get protected from psychological as well asphysical harm. On the case of physical harm, there are guidelinesthat ensure that an individual should not get placed in a risk thatis extraordinary to daily life. On the case that a psychologist needsto study the behavior of a person while driving a car, the personshould not get placed in a bigger risk than the car (Martin, 2008).

Onthe case of psychological harm, it may pose difficulty in measuringthe harm done to the individual. However, it involves issues such asembarrassing the person or making a person lose his or her selfesteem. It commonly occurs in the experiments where the participantsmay get harmed psychologically. Another issue that needs to getobserved during the research is an aspect of confidentiality. The acton data protection indicates that the information obtained from theparticipants should remain confidential. The participants cannotvolunteer for the experiment if they have knowledge that their datawill get divulged. There should also be the right of the participantsto withdraw themselves from the research if they so wish. It shouldget made clear to all the participants before the experimentinitializes (Myers &amp Hansen, 2012).


Campbell,L. (2010). APAethics code commentary and case illustrations.Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Martin,D. W. (2008). Doingpsychology experiments.Australia: Thomson/Wadsworth.

Myers,A., &amp Hansen, C. H. (2012). Experimentalpsychology.Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.