Nazi human experimentation was medical experimentation on large numbers of people by the German Nazi regime in its concentration camps during World War II. These people were influence by the presence of these scientists and their medical experiments. Therefore social psychologists had an interest in studying how this environment shaped the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of the individuals. At Auschwitz, under the direction of Dr. Eduard Wirths (Frater), selected inmates were subjected to various experiments. The social influence of these scientists and their experimentation on the participants was supposedly intended to help German military personnel in combat situations to recover military personnel that had been injured and to advance the racial ideology backed by the Third Reich. However these experiments surpassed all of the ethical values and measurements. Ethics or the federal state professional guidelines exist to ensure the welfare of the research participants. Having an Institutional Review Board to approve the studies in advance, asking the participants to sign informed consent forms, and debriefing participants afterwards about the purpose of the study if there was any deception are all ethical issues that were ignored in the concentration camps.
The experimental method was the predominant research design in the concentration camps. Nazi regime scientist were asking causal questions. For example, Experiments on twin children in concentration camps were created to show if the human body can be unnaturally manipulated, how would this cause similarities and differences in the genetics and eugenics of twins . The central leader of the experiments was Dr. Josef Mengele, who performed experiments on over 1,500 sets of imprisoned twins, of which fewer than 200 individuals survived the studies (Frater), which is an ethical crisis. Dr. Mengele was derived by his basic human motives: the need to be accurate and the need to feel good. He wanted to prove his scientific explanations and prove to himself that he is accurate and right; this the social cognition approach. He wanted to have the honor that he was the one who recovered the German military personnel and found new medical discoveries to feel good about himself; this is the self-esteem approach. He didn’t care for the consequences of these experiments. He organized the testing of genetics in twins. The twins were arranged by age and sex and kept in barracks in between the test, which ranged from the injection of different chemicals into the eyes of the twins to see if it would change their colors to literally sewing the twins together in hopes of creating conjoined twins.
In 1942 the Luftwaffe conducted experiments to learn how to treat hypothermia. One study forced subjects to endure a tank of ice water for up to three hours. Another study placed prisoners naked in the open for several hours with temperatures below freezing. The experimenters assessed different ways of rewarming survivors. Biological experiments are necessary to discover new approaches. However they don’t have to be brutal, and they shouldn’t be enforced. Social Neuroscience approach, for example, in studying the connection between biological processes and social behavior include the study of hormones and behavior, the human immune system, and neurological processes in the human brain.
From about July 1942 to about September 1943, experiments to investigate the effectiveness of sulfonamide, a synthetic antimicrobial agent, were conducted at Ravensbrück. Wounds inflicted on the subjects were infected with bacteria such as Streptococcus, gas gangrene, and tetanus. Circulation of blood was interrupted by tying off blood vessels at both ends of the wound to create a condition similar to that of a battlefield wound. Infection was aggravated by forcing wood shavings and ground glass into the wounds. The infection was treated with sulfonamide and other drugs to determine their effectiveness. Away from that this is experiment again is definitely unethical, which might cause the subjects to many socially disturbed influences; When we design an experiment, we must state the dependent variable, sulfonamide effect, and the independent variable, the wounds. The internal validity must be ensured by treating all the subject identically except for the independent variable. The external validity was ensured also by the extent of generalizing the results and increasing the realism of the experiment,especially the psychological realism ( the psychological processes triggered in the experiment are similar to those triggered in everyday life).
Mengele earned the nickname Angel of Death for his cruelty among the visiting prisoners.
All of these pathetic experiments were done for the common good and the Utilitarian benefit of the Germans or at least that is what these scientists believed they were doing. In fact what they really achieve was a huge crime that is registered in all the documents as a brutal action against humanity and any human rights.
Frater, J. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://listverse.com/2008/03/14/top-10-evil-human-experiments/