Subject: Experimental Psychology
In 1979, following a series of high-profile controversies, the Belmont Report provided ethical guidance for the study of human subjects in the United States. View these key ethical principles through the 20th century medical and psychological experiments that tested and redefined their boundaries.
Five Minute History Lessons
James V. McConnell was an experimental psychologist who spent his career at the University of Michigan. He is best known for his work in comparative psychology and his memory transfer research flat worms. But did you know he was also a target of the Unabomber?
Edmund Delabarre was appointed as the first professor of psychology at Brown University in 1891 and shortly thereafter established Brown’s psychological laboratory. Delabarre painstakingly studied “substance-induced consciousness” using only himself as his subject. Delabarre ingested cannabis in liquid form and detailed his visual and sensory experiences and responses to early laboratory equipment in meticulous detail. His control? His own normal state.
Lectures and Panels
Discussion of the 2015 film The Stanford Prison Experiment, depicting the notorious prison life study conducted by Dr. Philip Zimbardo (Billy Crudup).
Length: 59 minutes
Originally recorded: October 29, 2020
Discussion of the 2015 Experimenter: The Stanley Milgram Story, depicting the life of Stanley Milgram (Peter Sarsgaard) and the events surrounding his famous obedience experiments.
Length: 61 minutes
Originally recorded: April 30, 2020
Historian of psychology, Dr. Ryan D. Tweney, discusses the rise of instruments and apparatus in the early history of American psychology, focusing on the importance of instruments during this period and the ways in which they changed the field.
Length: 6 minutes
Originally recorded: 2008
Archival Films & Recordings
Audio excerpt from a debriefing session conducted between researchers and participants of the Stanford Prison Experiment. A member of the research team talks the group through the ethical dilemma at the heart of this—and many other—social psychology experiments.
Length: 4 minutes
Originally recorded: ca. 1970s
Film footage of John B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner's classical conditioning experiment, in which a baby, dubbed “Little Albert,” was conditioned to fear particular animals and objects.
Length: 4 minutes
Originally recorded: ca. 1920s.