Human ethical issues


Confidentiality, privacy and the right to withdraw

  • Confidentiality and privacy is the participants right to have personal information protected.
  • This is an issue because peoples private life is protected by law. E.g. the data protection act ensures that peoples data, such as phone numbers and addresses are not shared with other organisations.
  • If participants infomration is shared they may be at risk to psychological harm, for example embarrassment.
  • One study that arises this issue is Rahe, Mahan and Arthur who assessed participants medical records without them giving consent to it - psychological harm - distressed
  • Right to withdraw is the right particuipants have to refuse to continue with the participation of a study because they are uncomfortable in any way, and to refuse permission for the researcher to use any data collected.
  • This is an issue because if the participants feels uncomfortable they can be at risk of psychological harm - upset and confused.
  • Zimbardo told participants to stay a little longer in the study and didnt let them walk out when they wanted to. 
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Deception, informed consent and harm

  • Deception - when particiapnts arent told the true aims of the study so cannot give informed consent. This is an issue and particiaptns can be at risk of psychological harm if the study does not involve what they though it did.
  • Rosenhan decieved nurses by telling them that the confederates had mental health issues when they didnt - psychological harm - upset, annoyed.
  • Informed consent is the decision that potential particiapnts make based on comprehensive information about the nature and purpose of the research and their role in it. It is an issue as it is not moral to lie to participants about the research that they are taking part in. 
  • Vulnerable to psychological harm if agree to take part not knowing true aims of study - upsetting.
  • Rahe, Mahan and Arthur - participants consented to take part in a study but wasnt told what the study involved so it was not informed.
  • Protection from harm - harm can include physical and psychological e.g. embarrassment. It is an issue as it is not moral to purposely hurt other humans.
  • Gibson and Walk - made children uncomfortable and upset causing them to no want to continue
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