Ethical Issues in Psychological Research

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  • Ethics
    • British Psychological Society (BPS)
    • Deception
      • Misleading or withholding information from participants
        • BPS: deception should be avoided wherever possible and only be used when it's scientifically justified (where the study would be meaningless otherwise).
        • BPS: It shouldn't be used if the participant is likely to be unhappy when they discover the study's true nature.
    • Informed Consent
      • Agreeing to participate in a study
        • BPS: Participants should be given all the info they need to decide whether to participate in research and should not be pressured.
        • BPS: For children, informed consent should be obtained from parents or guardians.
    • Psychological harm
      • Any negative emotion (eg. stress, distress, embarrassment)
        • BPS: Researchers have a responsibilty to protect participants from physical and psychological harm during the study. Any risk of harm should be no greater than what the participant might experience in their normal life.
    • Confidentiality
      • Participants should feel safe that any sensitive info, results or behaviour revealed through research won't be discussed with others.
      • Info obtained during a study should remain confidential unless participant agrees it can be shared with others
      • Study's report shouldn't reveal info or data identifiable to an individual - anonymous
    • Animal Rights
      • Ethically wrong to inflict harm and suffering on animals
      • Some animal research has provided valuable info
      • Animals have a similar intelligence to humans


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