Top 10 Unethical Psychological Experiments


Project MK-ULTRA

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This 10th in our top10 unethical psychological experiments was led by American CIA who run this experiment from 1953 to 1970. It was related to a mind-control research work whose code name was Project MK-ULTRA. It was conducted for Office of Scientific Intelligence. The experimenter intended to control mind, behavior modification and interrogation methods. They even use different drugs including psilocybin, morphine, heroin, mescaline, LSD, sodium pentothal, alcohol and marijuana for their study.


Carney Landis Facial Expression

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Facial expression experiment, associated to Carney Landis, was conducted in 1924. Landis, who completed his graduation from University of Minnesota, wanted to know whether facial expressions are associated with different emotions. He wanted to know if the facial expression of all people would be same when they feel joy, shock, disgust and so on. The students (participants) were exposed to many stimuli just to note their expressions including showing pornography, smelling ammonia etc.


The Stanford Prison Experiment

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The Stanford Prison Experiment is at No. 8 in our top 10 unethical psychological experiments which was conducted and led by Philip Zimbardo in 1971, a well-popular psychologist of his time. The theme of this experiment was achieve the result that how roles define behavior. The convicts and guards of the prison were allowed to demonstrate their behavior as they wanted to. Every participant was given 15 dollar to act in this experiment which lasted for around two weeks.


Learned Helplessness

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This notorious psychological experiment was conducted in 1965 by Steve Maier and Mark Seligman. Both of these psychologists used three groups of dogs for this experiment which were placed initially in harnesses. After a certain time, dogs from group one were released and they were not harmed anyway. Electrical shocks were given to one dog from each pair in group two up to the extent that their liver got pressed. Dogs in third group got shocks ever after pressing the liver.


Aversion Therapy for Homosexuality Treatment

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Aversion therapy for homosexuality treatment is yet another historically notorious unethical psychological experiment. A patient is exposed in the aversion therapy to a stimulus. But in 2006, the aversion therapy was recognized as an unethical and violation to the codes of conduct by American Psychiatric Association (APA) and American Psychological Association (APA).


Milgram Study

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Milgram Study is at No. 5 in our top 10 unethical psychological experiments of the human history which was conducted at Yale University by the notorious social psychologist Stanley Milgram. This psychiatrist wanted to test obedience in people to their authority. A learner and some teachers were included in this experiment. The learner was an actor. Milgram told both that he wanted to learn more about learning and memory with this experiment. The teacher was given electric shock with every wrong answer from the learner with increase voltages after every wrong attempt.


The Monster Study

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Wendell Johnson, a well-known speech expert of the history, conducted an experiment which was named as “The Monster Study”. Mary Tudor Jacobs, a graduate student, led this experiment in parts in 1939. Johnson believed that outside factors (including continuous criticism) actually lead to stuttering which is directly associated to behavior. He believed that even a slightest speech imperfection from the parents to child may result stuttering.


The Well of Despair

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Dr. Harry Harlow is yet another notorious psychiatrist of the history who was known as an unsympathetic person only because of using unethical terms of “iron maiden” and “rape rack” during experiments. Some infant rhesus monkeys were taken by Dr. Harlow who were placed in a chamber made with stainless steel. Many didn’t recover while bringing out of the chamber after one year but some of them were psychotic. Eventually he proved that even a normal, happy childhood can’t bring enough defenses in the body against depression.


Little Albert Psychological Experiments

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The history tells us that John Watson, the father of behaviorism, used a little orphan (a nine-month-old baby boy) to test his theory. The boy was named by Watson as the Little Albert. Watson placed this boy in a room and placed a white rate near him. The boy never scared and played with the rat. In a two-month experiment, the boy was exposed to several things including a monkey, a white rabbit, masks etc. Now again a white rat was placed in the room but this time, as soon as Albert touched the rat, a loud sound was made in the room that made him cry.


Experiment on David Reimer

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Experiment on David Reimer is truly the most selfish or unethical psychological experiment in the history of modern world. Reimer was brought to Dr. Money in 1965 when he was only eight-month-old. His parents intended to have circumcision procedure for his son, but unfortunately, doctor burnt off his penis during the process. He suggested Reimer’s parents to go for a gender change which was an intentional suggestion as he wanted to have someone for this experiment. For more Psychological Experiments please check the list here.

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  1. Martha Washington

    It is of grave concern that a person who cannot structure a sentence properly, use appropriate punctuation, or spell correctly is responsible for sharing this uneducated blather with the public. Please take a college-level English class before you further poison the minds of the people who are unfortunate enough to read this. What crap.

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