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Research Methods in Psychology

Ethical issues in Psychological research
Ethics are the moral codes laid down by professional bodies to ensure that their members or representatives adhere
to certain standards of behaviour. All scientific bodies have such codes but those in psychology are particularly
important because of the subject matter…

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2. Ensure that there are no negative or unforeseen consequences of the procedure
3. Ensure that the participant leaves in `a frame of mind that is at least as sound as when they entered.' (Aronson
4. Give the participant the right to withdraw their data and to see the…

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Piliavin conducted research on the
NY underground in which stooges
pretending to be blind or drunk
(not both!), fell over. The research
team observed the reactions of
bystanders. In situations like this
`participants' are not aware that
they are taking part in a study so
cannot give consent. In addition…

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Ethical guidelines and codes of conduct
Following the immoral experiments of the Nazis in WWII, each country set up its own set of guidelines for performing
scientific research. In Britain the British Psychological Society (BPS) and in the USA the American Psychological
Association (APA), produce codes of conduct for both…

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Confounding variables
These are variables that get in the way of our results or make our results difficult to interpret.
Think of Brady's executive monkeys. Brady assumed that being in control had caused the stress that lead to the
ulcers. Control being the IV and ulcers being the DV. In…

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will behave more naturally, variables may affect the
so field experiments should outcome. As a result we
have greater ecological cannot be certain that the IV
validity. has caused the change in DV.
Cause and effect relationships
are therefore difficult to
Demand Ethics: If patients are unaware
characteristics:these can…

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Problems with internal validity ­ many extraneous variables that cannot be controlled, meaning that
we cannot conclude cause and effect
No random allocation to conditions

Experimental research design
Here we decide how we are going to sort or group our participants. Do we use the same people in all conditions…

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Sex differences
Age differences
By definition the two conditions are different. You couldn't have someone in the male condition and the female
condition, or in the under 30 condition and the over 30 condition!
1. No order or practice effects
2. Can use the same stimulus material (such as…

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Examples include:
Seyfarth & Cheney's research on the warning calls of the vervet monkey
Sylva's study of play in young children.
Much of the work carried out by Konrad Lorenz
Ethologists specialise in studying animals in their natural environment.
The researcher observes behaviour in its natural environment as many of…

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Participants are unaware of the observation. This raises ethical issues (privacy and consent) but increases validity by
reducing demand characteristics. Sometimes one way mirrors might be used to discretely observe people, for
example shopping behaviour in a supermarket.

Here the researchers get involved with the group of participants they…


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