In phase two of this unethical experiment, the psychologists set up a shutter avoidance test where the dogs had to learn to avoid shock by jumping over a barrier. Before each shock, they were exposed to a ten second period of darkness. Those dogs who were in the initial no-shock group learned quickly to jump over the barrier during the time of darkness, so as to avoid the shock entirely, along with the escapable shock group. However, the dogs in the inescapable shock condition ran around in distress at the shock, but finally laid down and took the shock. There was no effort made to avoid it. If they had jumped over the barrier, the shock would have stopped; and those who DID do so failed to repeat the action and discontinue the shock again.
This study is listed on websites such as listverse as one of the top ten unethical psychological experiments ever performed, along with the Stanford prison experiment and the Milgram Study. The American Psychological Association, as we all know, has guidelines for the ethical treatment of people in psychological experiments. They also have created, in the past 20 years, guidelines for the ethical treatment of animals. I encourage you all to read these guidelines, as they prevent unethical studies like Seligman and Maier's from occuring again.
Top 10 Unethical Psychological Experiments:
APA's Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in the Care and Use of Animals: