Ethical issues in use of human Ps

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  • Created by: gracepxx
  • Created on: 18-04-16 14:39


British Psychological Society produces an ethical guideline for psychologists to follow when conducting research with intention of eliminating ethical issues 

Code based on 4 principles of respect, competence, responsibility and integrity

Despite guidelines, many ethical issues still exist

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P1 - Protection from harm

Protection from psychological and physical harm during and after study

During Milgram's study, Ps were thag distressed some had seizures

However, difficult to predict harm Ps will experience and if study still worthwhile

In Milgram's study, survey beforehand showed people felt that Ps would stop before reaching maximumlevel of shock and so levels of distress - higher than anticipated

Although it wasn't predicted, study had a negative impact on Ps, breaking ethical guidelines

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P2 - Consent

Instructed to obtain informed consent

Ps should know about all aspects of study to agree to take part

However, knowing all info may alter Ps behaviour, rendering results meaningless

If risk of study will cause harm, Ps making informed decision is crucial

In Asch's study, Ps believed they were taking part in vision test so couldn't consent to test of conformity

The fact that Ps consented to something else meant they weren't aware of potential embarrassment caused by study

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P3 - Deception

Common in psychological research

Lack of honesty when explaining aims of study prevents Ps from giving their informed consent

In Rosenhan's (1973) study, staff were decieved about pseudopatients which may have impacted their trust of future patients - not offer most effective treatment 

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P4 - Right to withdraw

Ps should be able to withdraw at any time - especially if feel they aren't being protected from harm

Issue if they feel like they can't withdraw for various reasons

In many studies, college students are used as Ps and recieve credits for taking part - leads to them feeling tjeu can't withdraw even if uncomfortable 

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P5 - Confidentiality and privacy

Should always be protected

Confidentiality concerns publishing of results and idea personal info should be protected

Privacy concerns persons right to control flow of info about themselves

If privacy invaded, confidentiality should be protected

However, in studies where collecting data is necessary, it is hard to establish what counts as "private"

E.g - Some find natural observations an invasion of privacy despite being in a publish place

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