Discuss the ethical issues of using human participants in psychology


  • Created by: Sophie
  • Created on: 22-09-14 18:26

Lack of informed consent

Point One major ethical issue is lack of informed consent

Explain Participants are not signing and agreeing to the full aims of the study- meaning there could be some or all aspects that they don't agree to, meaning they wouldn't, given the choice, agree.

Example For example in Migram's study of obedience, he did a study in which participants were asked to give electric shocks to a learner. This could have caused serious psychological issues.

Extra (A*) Milgram, along with other researchers justify this as the participants would have acted differently if they had known the true aims of the study at the start thus affecting the validity of the study.

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Point Misled them about the aims/procedures of the study

Explain It is an issue as it means that the participants have been mislead abouit the aims and procedures of the study.

Example For example Ache did an experiemnt that tested conformity, however he told the  participants that it was a visual test.

Extra (A*) Asche justified himself by claiming that it prevented demand characterists, as participants would behave natrually. Meaning the validity of the study would be high.

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Lack of protection from harm

Point Another ethical issues in lab experiments is lack of protection from harm.

Explain It is an issues as some experiements can cause participants psychological and even physical harm, when the stress experienced should be no greater than the average day.

Example E.g in Milgram's experiment testing obedience many of his participants suffered from extreme stress and in come cases seizures.

Extra (A*) Milgram justified this by saying the results were unexpected and that people are unpredictable; he did not know what was going to happen. It is also justified by the idea that the ends justify the means- Milgram's work was a shock to the world that people obey so blindly to an authoritive figure.

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